Sunday, August 15, 2010

Waiting For The Rocky Mountaineer

After my Morant's Curve adventure, I decided to get up early in the morning of August 8 to shoot the Rocky Mountaineer as it made a stop in Banff.

The Rocky Mountaineer was due to pick up passengers at 8:20 AM. I didn't think I had enough time to run out to Morant's Curve afterward and still be back at my campsite by 10, so I elected to stay near Banff to get the shots.

I got up at 5 AM, showered, then hit the road to Banff East to wait for the westbound Rocky Mountaineer. I knew that was too early but better early than miss the shot!

At 6:05 AM a westbound potash train came rolling past with an abundance of power. CP "toasters" (AC4400 engines) 9764 and 9720 were on the head end, with CP 9767 in the middle and CP 8602 bringing up the rear.
CP 9764 West in Banff
I brightened this shot quite a bit. Those unit trains of Canpotex cars were getting familiar by now. I heard they were to proceed to the siding at Massive to wait for an eastbound.

Since I wasn't going to get the Rocky Mountaineer at Morant's Curve, I needed to look for a spot to shoot them west of Banff. I did a little driving on highway 1A and found a spot I liked. I then decided to find Massive and sure enough, I did find it. It's a little ways off the highway but accessible via a trail.

As I parked my car and prepared to walk down the trail, I heard the eastbound train they were meeting. I sprinted down the trail only to find that the waiting train was blocking the shot! :P I did a quick grab shot of CP 9767 then ran back uphill to my car.
CP 9767 in Massive siding

I beat them to the 1A / Trans-Canada Highway ramp and pulled over to shoot the train there. I pointed my camera and... the flash popped up. Much cursing ensued. My camera decided the light was too low and, even in Sports mode, decided to try a flash. The train flashed by and I jumped back into the car and gave pursuit.

I finally caught up with them at Banff East and shot them at 07:20. The train was an intermodal eastbound with CP 9559 and CP 9500 leading, and CP 9575 mid-train.
CP 9559 in Banff
This was shot from the shoulder of the highway.

I checked in at the Banff station and there was no sign of the Rocky Mountaineer yet. I hadn't heard them clear Canmore so I knew they were nowhere near Banff.

In the meantime, I caught CP 8858 East at Banff East at 08:20. This was a big intermodal with 8858 and CP 9722 on the head end, CP 8844 and CP 9827 spread singly in the train, and finally CP 8749 pushing on the rear.
CP 8858 at Banff East

Still no Rocky Mountaineer! What was going on?

Read on!

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