Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Cabooses Donated to Portage la Prairie Station

CP 434560 in Calgary
Two cabooses have been donated to the Portage la Prairie CPR station. CP 434560 and CP 434604 are now in Portage in the CP yard, awaiting installation of track. 434604 is burned out and will be used for parts for 434560.

I shot both those cabooses outside Calgary in June. At the time I said they seemed to be at the "end of their days"... I'm glad to see one of them will have a new life.

CP will also be donating a mail baggage car, currently in Brandon MB awaiting shipment.

Thanks to Jeff Keddy for the news.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Kenora's Railway Museum

CP 8120 at the Lake of the Woods Railway Museum
When we were camping near Kenora, Ontario I shot a few pictures outside the Lake of the Woods Railway Museum. The museum itself was closed but I took some outside photos and walked through the caboose.

The two major outside exhibits are engine CP 8120 and caboose CP 437473. There is also a velocipede and a baggage cart, and a very nice mural.
CP 8120 in Kenora, Ontario
CP 8120 is a SW1200 built by GMD in September 1958. It was retired in 1997 and donated to the museum.

Caboose CP 437473 is holding up well. It was built in 1954.
Caboose CP 437473

There are a number of displays inside the caboose. I noticed this banner from the Kenora CP Rail Retiree Club.

The sign in the window of the station says "TRAINS TRAINS MODEL TRAINS - See the largest model railroad display in NW Ontario." The museum is open Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 1-4 PM.

I plan to go back to Kenora next summer, and hopefully I can time it so I can go in the museum!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

One Night in Phoenix

Union Pacific yard in Phoenix Arizona
On my latest trip to Phoenix, Arizona I went out on Wednesday September 22 to find some trains. I found a couple of trains waiting at the western end of Union Pacific's yard near downtown Phoenix. UP 2449 was at the head of one and patched ex-Southern Pacific unit UP 1485 headed up the other one. 1485 looked ready to head out, so I took a few quick snaps.
UP 2449 and 1485 in Phoenix
Sure enough, UP 1485 throttled up and headed out right after I changed the long lens out for the wide angle one. Good timing! I shot this through the fence under 7th Street.

Satisfied with that, I headed north. I decided to parallel the BNSF line for a while. I didn't see anything moving, but I did spy an old red caboose conveniently parked next to Grand Avenue. I shot ATSF 999813.
ATSF caboose 999813
This caboose really fits the nickname "crummy". Look at the crushed cupola, for example!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Lake Louise Station

Lake Louise Station
On August 6 we stopped at Lake Louise Station, at my insistence. I did a quick run around the cars and station, madly blasting away with my camera, before we headed on to the hotel and lake itself.
Passenger cars at Lake Louise
The station has three passenger cars on display: Killarney, Delamere (dining car), and Laurentian. All three are looking a little shabby on the outside. However, Delamere looks very nice inside!
CP dining car Delamere at Lake Louise
The station is quite interesting looking. I like the log look to it.
Lake Louise Station
The restaurant's menu is full of tasty-sounding but expensive food, like Grilled Alberta Pork Chops ($24), Alberta Bison Burger ($19), or Station Spring Rolls ($12). I don't think I would go to the Rockies for Grilled Atlantic Salmon ($35), though.
Menu at Lake Louise Restaurant
Don't forget the station garden!
Lake Louise Station Garden
Here's a link to photos I took in 2002 of the Lake Louise station.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Metis Passenger Car in Saint John

Tuesday's CN 406 train to Saint John had a surprise at the end of it. Ex CN passenger car Metis was the second last car on the train. Matt shot it in Rothesay just before it arrived in Saint John.

There is much speculation about why it was on this train.

Metis was listed on Ozark Mountain's For Sale page but is now listed as sold. The Metis is now listed on American Rail Excursions' web site. There is lots of information on the car there, including a floor plan.

I found two videos of Amtrak trains with the Metis on the end of the train. It looks like they were both taken in January 2010.

The real gem, however, is THIS video featuring stills and video showing the outside and inside of the Metis, and another private car, the Virginia City. The video was taken in early 2009 when the Metis was owned by John Tyson, a reporter in Reno, Nevada.

There was a blog entry about Tyson and others renting private rail cars.

Thanks to Matt for the video and to Wendell Lemon for the "heads up" and information on the car.

EDIT: I understand that NB Southern Railway has purchased the Metis.

Monday, September 20, 2010

NB Southern UNICEF Train

2006 NB Southern UNICEF train
Continuing my "All things NB Southern" streak, Danny McCracken reports that the annual NB Southern UNICEF train will run on Friday September 24 between McAdam and St. Stephen. The train will depart McAdam at 11 AM, arrive at the Ganong's siding in St. Stephen at 2 PM, and return to McAdam by 5 PM. St. Croix Courier Article

Tickets are $50 each (return) and you can (should) bring your own food and beverages. For tickets call 466-6854 or 466-4557. "Watch out for the Waweig River Gang as they may be planning to hold up the train." There is a dinner afterward at the station for an additional $15.

The photo above is Brian Barchard's, showing the 2006 UNICEF train.

Speaking of McAdam, the McAdam Historical Restoration Commission is holding a fundraiser every Sunday afternoon in September at the station's lunch counter. They are serving railroad pie and coffee from 1 PM to 4 PM, at a cost of $5.50/person for a slab of homemade pie and a refreshment. All proceeds go towards the station restoration - no reservations required. For more information call 784-1400.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

NB Southern Ballast Train

On Friday August 17 I was making my way across Saint John, heading to Fredericton to visit my family. I heard "NBSR 2612 East" getting an OCS clearance from mile 22 to the Saint John yard limits.

Now, mile 22 is just railway east of Welsford. How do I know that? Read the timetable and you will see that Welsford's station sign is at mile 23.4.

This told me that the train had not cleared Welsford, which gave me plenty of time to intercept them. As it happens, I was approaching the ferry landing at Westfield Beach when I saw the crossing lights come on there. I made a quick U-turn and shot them just across from a nearby school.
NB Southern Railway 2612
The train consisted of GP38 NBSR 2612, caboose CN 79624, and ten NBSR ballast cars.

As I gave chase, I considered where I would shoot it next. One thing I have always struggled with is whether to go for quantity or quality. I knew I wanted to get the overhead shot by the Grand Bay Co-Op, and I was considering whether I could squeeze another shot in between. In the end I decided not to take the risk of getting stuck behind a slow vehicle, and proceeded directly to the overpass. I think it was the right decision.

After a few minutes of waiting, the train rolled by with a few toots for my benefit.

I gave up the chase at that point, as I had an appointment to keep in Fredericton. It was nice to see an NB Southern train on the road again... just like old times.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

NB Southern in Saint John

I was in Saint John for a business trip this week. On Tuesday (Sept 15) I decided to drive by the NB Southern Railway yard at Dever Road after work. I drove down the Galt Road toward the Westfield Road. As I approached the railway crossing I saw the lights were flashing. I stopped short of the crossing and jumped out, just in time to see NBSR 9801 and 9802 and caboose CN 79624 roll by, pulling ten NBSR ballast cars and six boxcars. I had enough time to get my camera and shoot them going away, just at the west end of the wye.
CN 79624 caboose
I raced down the Westfield Road hoping to beat them to the overpass at the west end of the yard. When I arrived, I saw NBSR 3703 and 9803 shoving back into the yard to make room for the road freight to arrive.

Soon enough NBSR 9801 East rolled in, after lining a switch. I think they stopped here to line another switch to pass into the yard.

I zipped over to the other end of the yard, thinking that the ballast train might come over and then back in. It didn't, but I found NBSR 2612 and NBSR 2319 doing some shunting there. Bonus!

It was nice to see the old green and yellow again.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Film About Winnipeg's Streetcars

A new documentary called "Backtracks: The Story of Winnipeg's Streetcars" will be shown Sunday at Cinematheque on Arthur Street in Winnipeg.

The cost of admission is 10 cents, the cost to ride a streetcar back when they were operating. Donations will also be accepted toward restoring Streetcar 356.

There's a trailer on YouTube:

Winnipeg Free Press story

Thursday, September 16, 2010


On August 8, when I was waiting for the Rocky Mountaineer, I took the time to shoot some photos around the Banff train station.

Here are the Rocky Mountaineer passengers milling about, waiting for their train.
Banff passengers
Farther down are the two resident snowplows, CP 400762 and CP 400840.
CP 400762 and 400840, Banff, AB
CP 400840 is a grand old plow, built in February 1926 and "RCD" (reconditioned?) in August 1978. Its friction bearing trucks were repacked in October 1997 according to the stenciling on the side. With those bearings it cannot be interchanged, but that's no big deal. Why would you ever interchange a snowplow with another railway?
CP 400840 in Banff, AB
I like the stenciling on the crew door: "NO ADMITTANCE EXCEPT ON BUSINESS". What, this isn't the party plow?

You would think CP 400762 is a newer plow, given that it has roller bearing trucks. But no, it was built in March 1911. It does look freshly repainted.
CP snow plow 400762 in Banff, Alberta
The train station itself is pretty impressive on the outside. I wish the light was better when I was there.
Banff train station
Finally, here are two of CP's vacuum trucks, dedicated to sucking up all the spilled grain from leaking grain cars. I read recently that CP has been refurbishing their grain cars to fix the bottom hatches. Hopefully this will reduce the amount of leakage and prevent feeding animals from being killed on the tracks.
CP vacuum trucks, Banff

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

This Day, 23 Years Ago

CP 4219 in Newport, VT. Slide by W.A. Gleason
This is a lovely shot of CP 4219 leading a train near Newport, Vermont. This slide was shot by W.A. Gleason on September 15, 1987.

After CP 4219's career with CP was over, it had a second life of sorts with the New Brunswick East Coast Railway as NBEC 4219. It served as a parts source, eventually ending up in Miramichi where it spent its last days before being scrapped.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Moose Jaw in August

CP 1611 in Moose Jaw, SK
I had a few minutes to kill on August 14, so I drove around the CP Moose Jaw yard to record the locomotives there. I didn't have time to walk across the overpass, so the photos weren't great, but here are a few of the photos I took.
CP 5875 in Moose Jaw SK
It's getting rare to see these SD40-2 units now!
CITX 3064 in Moose Jaw
I like the colours on this unit... too bad about the shrub in front.

Here is the complete list of units I saw.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Grain Elevator History

There's a nice article in the Canadian Encyclopedia about grain elevators. It seems to be written from an Alberta perspective but is applicable to all the Prairie provinces.

Read the article.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

River Hills Railroad Update

I mentioned a new Manitoba shortline, the River Hills Railroad, back in October 2009. At the time they were investigating the feasibility of acquiring the 100 km of track between Rathwell and Nesbitt that the Canadian Pacific Railway is abandoning. This piece of track is part of the CP Glenboro subdivision.

The Carman Valley Leader is reporting that a tentative deal has been reached to acquire the track. The River Hills Railroad has until February 28 2011 to make a $700,000 non-refundable deposit on the line. That is 10% of the total cost of the line. The railroad intends to issue shares after the harvest this fall.

There are currently two Paterson elevators on the line, at Cypress River and at Holland. The intention is to build several producer loading stations on the line so farmers can load their own cars.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Rocky Mountaineer Turns 20

Congratulations to the Rocky Mountaineer on its 20th birthday!

Stories: Edmonton Journal, Rocky Mountaineer.

You can view Global's coverage of the event, from Monday September 6. Go to Global's video page, click on News Hour on the left, then select "News Hour Full Newscast Mon, Sep 6". The Rocky Mountaineer coverage is at 18:00 in the clip. This link will only last for a week or so, I think.

Book Review: Canadian Pacific Diesel Locomotives

I came across the book Canadian Pacific Diesel Locomotives at the library while looking for something to read on my August vacation. This hardcover book was written by Murray W. Dean and David B. Hanna and was published by Railfare in 1981.

This is an extraordinary book. It covers the history of Canadian Pacific Railway's diesel locomotives from their first diesel, CP 7000, through to the most modern locomotives at the time of writing, including MLW M-630s and M-636s and GM's GP38ACs. At the time of writing the SD40-2 was the king of the fleet.

The book goes into tremendous detail on the units, their strengths and weaknesses, where they were assigned, among many other interesting details. I think where this book really shines is the insight into CP's purchasing decisions. Murray Dean was uniquely placed in CP's Mechanical and Research departments to witness these debates and decisions, and his knowledge is shared in this book.

Illustrations are sprinkled throughout the book and are all in black and white. The photo quality is average, but this is not a picture book and the image quality does not detract from the book.

This book is available from Amazon and other used book sellers, but the price is quite high.

My only criticism of this book is that there isn't an update available!

Monday, September 06, 2010

Labour Day Trains

It had been quite a while since I had seen a Canadian, so I decided to head out on this sunny Labour Day to see one. I loaded the kids up and headed out the Perimeter Highway toward Wilkes Avenue.

As I approached Wilkes I saw a two unit train head west on the CN mainline. CN 803 had two engines and that was it - no cars. I tried to catch up to them but as I approached Diamond, I saw an eastbound coming and no sign of the westbound. The eastbound turned out to be CN 2555 and 5759 at the head of train 314 at 12:21.
CN 2555 in Winnipeg

Shortly after that, they met VIA 1 coming the other way. I set up and shot it as it approached Diamond at 12:29.
VIA 6441 and the Canadian
I needed to wait another second or two for the Canon S3 to focus before hitting record, it seems:

At least it found the focus before the train got too close!

We headed into town after that. I swung around by Fort Rouge and saw CN 2661 waiting at the east end of the yard, by the Co-Op gas station at CN Subway at 13:05. I think this might have been CN 532 but I'm not sure.
CN 2661 at Fort Rouge
The cranes in the background are working on the Transitway Tunnel. This is part of the planned Southwest Rapid Transit Corridor. Originally this was going to be Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) but Mayor Katz has been pushing for Light Rail Transit (LRT). I don't know all the politics of it but LRT is said to be more attractive and only a "bit" more expensive.

After seeing CN 2661, I took the kids over to Robin's, and when I returned CN 114 rolled on by with Dash-9s CN 2565 and CN 2551. I didn't get any great pictures of those units because the train surprised me. There was a lot of head end "junk" before the containers.

Not a bad way to spend an hour or two! :)

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Trevor Sokolan Saskatchewan Photos

Here are some great Saskatchewan shortline photos by Trevor Sokolan... check them out!

On The Bridge

CN 346 on the Floodway, Winnipeg
I was out near Symington looking at a new office Thursday around noon when I spotted a train about to leave the yard. CN 346 was backing onto her DPU engine in preparation to head down the Sprague subdivision. When I was done my inspection, I got ahead of it at Tinker Town and shot the lead unit, Dash-9 CN 2656. The engines were running flat out pulling the train up to speed.
CN 2656 in Winnipeg
I sped on ahead, wanting to shoot the train crossing the bridge over the Floodway. It took a few minutes for the train to get there.
CN 2656 on the Floodway bridge, Winnipeg
After a few minutes, the DPU unit (CN 8822) rolled on by.
CN 8822 on the Floodway bridge, Winnipeg
Even though the weather was cloudy, it was nice to see the train.

You might remember I shot train 346 on the Floodway before, albeit from a different angle and in a different season.

Friday, September 03, 2010

More Grain Elevators

Pioneer grain elevators in Morse, SK
You can never have enough grain elevators, right? Am I right?

As I mentioned, there are two grain elevators in Morse, Saskatchewan, both Pioneer elevators (see photo above). I like this red one the best.
Pioneer grain elevator in Morse SK

I also mentioned the grain elevators in Indian Head, Saskatchewan. Here's a different perspective on them.
Indian Head grain elevators and tractor
Indian Head must have been quite a sight "back in the day" when they had more grain elevators.
Indian Head grain elevator
Check out the "Craft-Tea Elevator", Indian Head's fourth elevator. Now on Facebook!
Craft-Tea Elevator
Finally, here's the concrete Paterson monstrosity at Dunmore, AB just outside Medicine Hat.
Paterson grain facility at Dunmore AB

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Saskatchewan's 11th Shortline

The Stewart Southern Railway began operation last Friday, August 27. They are operating on 82 miles of track between Richardson and Stoughton, on a portion of the former CP Tyvan subdivision.

The railway is partly owned by Fill-More Seeds Inc., which operates three facilities along the line.

They are operating with the two GE units formerly owned by Last Mountain Railway.

Articles: Progressive Railroading, Regina Leader-Post

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

SVGX 4203 Finally Moved

SVGX 8625
Ex-SOO unit SVGX 8625 was stored in Fort Garry for many months. It was SOO 4203, set to be scrapped in the big scrap-a-thon held there in the summer of 2009, but it was saved and relettered to SVGX 8625. I mentioned it back in December 2009. I just noticed that it disappeared sometime between August 26 and August 30. It may be in CN's Symington Yard or it may already have left Winnipeg.

EX-CP SW1200 8131 is still there on the spur next to Manitoba Hydro on Chevrier Street.