Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Railfanning The Brooks Subdivision

I was in the Calgary area again late last week. In the early evening I was southeast of Calgary, heading back in, and I saw a few trains on Canadian Pacific Railway's Brooks subdivision on my way.

The first train was a local switching an industry at Carseland. Three GP38s were shunting cars. They were a bit of an odd triplet, with modern block lettered CP 3078 leading, CP 3131 with the beaver emblem in the middle, and CP 3074 complete with multimark trailing.
CP 3078
CP 3131
CP 3074

I noticed a CP train stopped on the mainline, near the Viterra elevator in Carseland. I figured they were meeting another train, until I got closer and realized there was no crew in the train. CP 8715 and CP 8561 were just short of a rural crossing.
CP 8715 at Carseland, Alberta
Looking down the track, I could see the end of the train was still on the mainline while the head end was well into the siding. I guess they couldn't fit the train in the siding without blocking a crossing, so they fouled the main.

I headed toward Calgary, but it wasn't long before I decided to head off the road to Dalemead. This place appears in the CP timetable so I figured there must be a siding there. After about 4 km of gravel road, I arrived at the tiny community of Dalemead. There is indeed a siding there, as well as some stored freight cars. Looking toward Calgary, I saw the signals were lit red.

Now, CP generally uses approach lit signals, meaning they only show lights if there is a train near them. The red lights told me that A) there was nothing going toward Calgary (I knew that anyway because of the train fouling the main at Carseland), and B) there was a train approaching from Calgary. I waited and sure enough a general freight rolled slowly into view with CP 9826 and CP 9504.
CP 9826 at Dalemead, Alberta

After that, it was clear sailing into Calgary. But that was not the end of my railfanning that evening. Oh no, not at all...


Eric said...

Nice post Steve. I railfanned that Sub from on board the Canadian in the mid-80's, photographing elevators at most of the towns from the vestibule. Dalemead had an Alberta Wheat Pool and an old Federal(Alberta Pacific) elevator. I'll be posting these to Trackside Treasure. Kind of eerie to come up to a parked train and realize there's no crew on board, eh?

Canadian Train Geek said...

Hi Eric. No sign of any elevators at Dalemead now. There are concrete elevators a few miles each side of the town, though.

It was eerie. I wonder why there was no crew on a train that was only a few miles out of Calgary? I could understand a crew running out of time coming INTO Calgary but this one was headed out.