Saturday, February 26, 2011

Elevators at Domain and McTavish

Domain elevator. Photo by Roger Workman
Roger Workman was kind enough to send along these photos he took of the elevators at Domain and McTavish, both on the CP La Riviere subdivision.

The photos above and below are of the elevator in Domain.
Domain grain elevator. Photo by Roger Workman

This is the elevator at McTavish.
Domain grain elevator. Photo by Roger Workman

Thanks, Roger!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Winnipeg Slide Night

The next Winnipeg slide night is coming up fast - March 2 at 6:30 PM.

At present there are three presenters lined up:
  • Felix Lesiuk - VIA's HUDSON BAY in 1995 (slides)
  • Ross Harrison - Ottawa, Montreal, Ontario in the 1990s (slides)
  • Steve Boyko - NB Southern Railway (digital)

Hopefully a fourth presenter will be found soon.

Next Wednesday's show is in room B126 in the north campus of the Canadian Mennonite University at the corner of Grant Avenue and Shaftesbury Boulevard - here.  The H-shaped building housing the day-care is the building that B126 is in.

After that, the next slide nights are April 6 in room B126, May 4 in room B132, and June 1 in room B126.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Dang It

"Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity." - Seneca, Roman philosopher

I went out early this afternoon to my local Sobeys to buy a Coke Zero or two to sustain me through the afternoon. I brought my camera bag along, figuring I would take a glance up and down the CP La Riviere subdivision on McGillivray Boulevard here in Winnipeg and see if there were any trains about. I did that, and lo, there was a northbound train approaching.

Congratulating myself for thinking to bring the camera, I parked, grabbed the camera, and got into position to video them crossing the road. As they started to blow their horn for the crossing, I turned my T1i on and... something was wrong. Lens cap? Check. Camera ON? Check. What was this door doing open on the camera body?

My memory card was at home, stuck in my computer.

I had opportunity, but obviously not enough preparation. Oh sure, I had a spare card in my camera bag (don't you?) but there was no time to go and get it.

I let the camera hang around my neck and watched the train roll on by. CP 3028 and 1128 led 26 grain and tank cars.

Ah well. Next time. For now, imagine the train was like this one... shot a year and a day ago and a mile or so north of where I was today, with the same engines.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Wheels on the Hump

I mentioned back on February 11 that I shot a few pictures from the Fermor overpass at the south end of CN's Symington Yard. When I was there, a hump power set was pushing an interesting train up the hump.
train in Symington
The train had an assortment of train and track parts in it... loose wheels in gondolas, wheel sets on flatcars, and pieces of pre-fabricated track. It looked like a model railroader's scrap box, on a train.
Track switches
Note the snow around the tracks, except for the clear switch to the right. Aren't switch heaters great?

As I said, there were loose wheels in gondolas. These would be fun to model.
Loose wheels in cars
Also, wheels ON cars.
Wheels on train cars
Here's the tail end of the train going by, and another set of power coming forward. Note the flashing light on the top of CN 7522 indicating remote operation.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Herzog Multipurpose Machine

Following my visit to Carman Junction on February 17, I was heading back along Sterling Lyon Boulevard when I saw a really different sight.
Herzog MPM
This is a Herzog Multi-Purpose Machine. This is a self-propelled track unit designed for general maintenance of way (MOW) work like tie pickup and drop-off, ditching, grading and so forth. The Komatsu crane on the top of the cars rolls back and forth, and has changeable "grabbers" for various tasks.
Komatsu crane
The unit was on the former Winnipeg Intermodal Terminal spur near where IKEA is being built.
The front end of the machine is HZGX 185, the power unit.
HZGX 185
The unit is designed to be operated by one person. The operator in the crane cab can roll the entire train back and forth as required.


I took one shot of the rear of the unit before heading out.
Herzog MPM

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Action at Carman Junction

Last Thursday (February 17) I went up to Wilkes Avenue to shoot the Canadian at noon. I shuttled around for a bit, trying to decide where to shoot it, and settled on Carman Junction. I hadn't shot right at the junction before.

Carman Junction is one of the many junctions in Winnipeg. This one is the junction between the CN Rivers subdivision and the CEMR Carman Subdivision. The CEMR line used to be a CN subdivision but was acquired by CEMR. In actuality the first 0.2 miles (the actual junction and the track across Wilkes Avenue) are still a CN subdivision and the rest is CEMR.

I set up just west of the CEMR track and waited for the Canadian to roll in. Here it is on the north track just passing through the signals at the junction.
VIA 6419 at Carman Junction
VIA 6419 and refurb unit 6442 were pulling the usual winter consist of nine cars.
VIA's Canadian in Winnipeg
I had my old Canon S3 on the tripod for video.

I heard that CN 111 was going to be following VIA, so I waited around a bit for them to show up. They rolled by 10 minutes later at 12:31.
CN 2253 in Winnipeg
111 had CN 2253 leading and 8861 trailing, with 8803 as a DPU unit.
CN 8803 as DPU unit
Sadly the batteries on the S3 didn't like the cold and were not cooperating for this train.

I like that spot!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Well Met at Lorette

On February 11 I was running errands in Winnipeg. Afterward, I went over to CN's Symington Yard to see what was going on. The yard slugs were working the humpyard, and a CN freight was rolling out onto the Sprague subdivision. I shot a few photos and a bit of video from the Fermor overpass, then headed out to try to get the CN freight.

I pursued it for a bit and was able to overtake it shortly before the Lorette siding at mile 138.2. There was a train in the siding, waiting for the eastbound freight to pass. The waiting freight was CN 343, with engines 2572, 2539, 5677 and 2225.

First, the oncoming freight: CN 438 with engines 2244, 5775, and ex-UP unit 2111.
CN 2244 near Winnipeg
CN 343's crew was on the ground, waiting to give 438 an inspection. Here one of 343's crew gives a wave.
CN 2244 and 2572 meet
It's still a bit unusual to see those ex-UP Dash-8s... but I'm getting used to it.
CN 2111 near Winnipeg
The crew diligently watched the train, looking for stuck brakes, dragging equipment, and the like.
Inspecting the train
There were a group of potash cars near the end of the train.
Inspecting the train
With their job done, the crew of 343 went back to their train and headed into Symington.
Done the inspection
"CN 343, diverging to clear signal at Lorette".

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Grab Shot

We've all done them. You see a train, you don't have any time to set up, so you grab the camera, point it at the engines and shoot, hoping for something half decent. Much of the time, the shot is "meh", maybe a quarter of the time it is awful, but occasionally you get a great one. You can be the judge of this one.

I was driving around with the kids on January 2, 2011 looking for trains. I drove by the CN Symington yard, not seeing much of interest. At the CN Transcona yard, there was a train parked with a pair of engines being backed onto the west end. CN 5747 was the lead engine, and the conductor was riding BCOL 4604 as it was shoved onto the consist.
BC Rail 4604 in Winnipeg
That wasn't the grab shot. I took a bunch of photos from Dugald Road and then moved on.

Next I went up to North Transcona to see what was up around CEMR and CP. There was nothing happening on the CP Keewatin subdivision. Multimark GP9 CP 8251 was parked in CP's North Transcona yard but it was not in a very photogenic location. The usual dog's breakfast of old units were parked behind CEMR.

I drove back down to the CN Reddit sub in Transcona, and for whatever reason decided to head east to Dugald to see if I could catch a train there. I can't remember if I heard something on the scanner or did it on a whim. Anyway, I went to Dugald and didn't see anything, so I took a photo of the elevator and then, just as I was walking back to the car, I saw a headlight to the east. TRAIN!

I didn't have much time, so I raced the car to the crossing and parked in front of the gates. As they came down and the lights were flashing, I ran over to try to get a head on shot of the train. This was my grab shot.
CN 8927 at Dugald, MB
What do you think?

CP in Manitoba

I've put a lot of data on Canadian Pacific in Manitoba up on my web site. I believe the subdivision data is up to date but I would appreciate corrections. The map is a bit out of date (2008) but it is pretty close to reality. Let me know if you find it useful!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Viewer Video: GEVO Central

Matt aka saintjohnrailfan posted a video of CN 406 featuring two shiny new GEVO units, and our mutual friend Luc D at the controls!

The video was shot near mile 61, which is near Moosehorn a little south of Norton.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


The CBC is reporting that a man was struck and killed by a train at the CN Waverley street crossing early this morning around 4 AM. The article reported that the CN main line (Rivers subdivision) was shut down for almost 8 hours afterward.

The Winnipeg Free Press reports that it was 3:41 AM, and the police were investigating behind the car wash just a few hundred feet east of St. James Junction. This is right where the BNSF line joins the CN main line - here.

There are a lot of people who cross the tracks at or near St. James Junction. I feel bad for the person who was killed, his family and friends, and for the crew of the train that hit him.

EDIT: It appears the victim was Ian Larson. Rest in peace.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Video: The Pas - Churchill by train

I stumbled across this video featuring the Hudson Bay (VIA 693) from The Pas to Churchill. It features F units on the front end, and was filmed in October 1997. Most of the video is onboard, from a Park car. Great shots.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

More Rocky Mountaineer Cars

A little birdie told me that today's Canadian would have Rocky Mountaineer cars on it, so I made time at lunch to go see them. The last time I saw Rocky Mountaineer cars on the Canadian was November 2010. I thought about where to shoot them, and ended up going to my default location just east of Diamond and west of the Perimeter Highway. I parked on the side of the dirt road and waited for their arrival. It was -20C outside, so I wasn't going to stand outside to wait!

The hotbox at mile 10 warned of their impending arrival. I hopped out of the car and crossed the frozen snow to wait for the sound of the horn blasts and the first sign of the headlights. Soon enough, VIA 1 rolled into view.
VIA 6458 and Rocky Mountaineer cars
VIA 6458 led two RMX cars, followed by VIA 6428 and the usual 9 car winter Canadian consist.

Those repainted Rocky Mountaineer cars sure look pretty!
VIA 6458 and Rocky Mountaineer cars
I like how the white "swoops" on the sides of the cars match up. Imagine a whole train of these!

Very quickly, VIA 1 was gone and on to Diamond and beyond.
VIA's Canadian near Winnipeg

See Also

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Three Trains on the La Riviere

I stumbled across this neat video when searching for "CP La Riviere" on Google. It features three trains almost "back to back" on the CP La Riviere subdivision. It was shot around mile 2 or 3, well within Winnipeg by Robert, aka itchycam.

The three trains are two locals with the way freight in the middle.

Most of the La Riviere subdivision is OCS (Occupancy Control System) territory, meaning that each train can only occupy a certain portion of track and need to get permission from the RTC to occupy that track. However, the first 4 miles are "rule 105" territory, meaning that trains must proceed at "reduced" speed and not exceed 15 MPH. The definition of "reduced" speed is "A speed that will permit stopping within one-half the range of vision of equipment". In rule 105 territory trains can operate closely together at low speeds, provided they can come to a stop in time.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Derailment Near Winnipeg

The CBC is reporting that a CN freight derailed near Woodridge, MB. It sounds like there were 9 cars involved and it was a general freight train. Noone was injured.

This is about 100 km southeast of Winnipeg, around mile 88.7 of the CN Sprague subdivision. This is 60 MPH country, but if only 9 cars derailed I would think the train was not going at track speed. Hopefully more details will emerge as time goes on.

Remembering the Hinton Disaster

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the collision at Hinton, Alberta on February 8, 1986, in which twenty-three people were killed in the worst train accident in Canada since the 1947 Dugald accident.

CN westbound freight train 413 ran a red light at the end of the double-track and ran into the eastbound VIA Super Continental / Skeena. All four head end crew members were killed, as were 18 of the 36 occupants of the coach behind the two VIA engines and the baggage car. One of the two occupants of the dome car behind the coach was also killed. 82 people were injured.

The reason why the freight ran the red light will likely never be known. The freight was going over the speed limit of 50 MPH when it passed the clear-to-stop signal (yellow over red) and did not slow down as it approached the red signal at the end of double track. The lead locomotive, CN 5586, a GP38-2W, was equipped with a dead-man's pedal but not a Reset Safety Control (RSC) switch. A dead-man's pedal can be fooled by jamming something on it. An RSC switch requires an action to be performed periodically, or the train will be brought to a stop.

This disaster led directly to the requirement that the lead locomotive of all trains in Canada be equipped with an RSC. This was phased in, probably because there were insufficient locomotives available to implement the order on all trains. CN committed to all passenger and "through" freight trains would lead with an RSC-equipped locomotive by January 1, 1988, and all trains would lead with an RSC-equipped locomotive by January 1, 1989. Yard service was excluded.

The VIA train had the following consist: FP7A 6566, F9B 6633, Baggage 617, Coach (Snack Bar) 3229, Skyline 513, Sleeper Ennishore, Sleeper Elcott, FP9Au 6300, Steam Generator 15445, Baggage 9653, Dayniter 5703, Cafe-Lounge 757, Sleeper Estcourt, Steam Generator 15404. The entire first half of the VIA train was retired (up to and including the Elcott).

The CN freight had CN 5586 leading and two SD40s trailing, 5062 and 5104. All units were destroyed in the crash. Unfortunately the SD40s were equipped with RSC devices but were not leading, presumably for reasons of crew comfort.

Hopefully this will remain the worst train accident in recent Canadian history.

A news article remembering the disaster: Edmonton Journal.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Grain Elevator at Carey

Grain elevator at Carey MB
Last September I was on highway 59 a little south of Niverville, and decided to carry on southward in search of elevators. I found one at Carey, Manitoba. This former Pioneer elevator is on the CP Emerson subdivision but clearly has no rail access any more.
CP Emerson subdivision and Carey grain elevator
The elevator is basically in the middle of nowhere with nothing much around it, in sharp contrast to others like the Niverville, La Salle, and so forth that are in the heart of their towns.

It is one of the very few bright red Pioneer elevators in Manitoba. I haven't seen any others, but I understand there is/was one in Kenville West and near Swan River. There may have been others.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Viewer Video: CN 507 at Windsor Junction

Here's a video from Caleb Wentzell aka CNCRW94.

CN 507 is bringing some loads from the Kinsac siding on the CN Bedford subdivision, presumably into Dartmouth to go out on CN 308 the next day. I could be wrong.

Interesting power, a GP9 and a GP40 (CN 4121 and 9584).

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Boundary Trail Railway Web Site

I mentioned back in June 2009 that the Boundary Trails Railway Company was starting up. I noticed their web site today.

They own auger loading sites at Binney, Manitou, and Darlingford and also service three private storage & handling facilities in the same towns. Service is provided by a rail-mounted truck (presumably a Brandt) and they interchange with CP in Morden. They shipped 500 cars between June 2009 and July 2010.

Check them out!

Grain Elevators of the La Riviere Subdivision

Back in September 2010 my family and I drove down to Morden, MB. On the way I photographed the grain elevators on the CEMR Carman subdivision. After visiting Morden, we went back to Winnipeg via highway 14 and highway 75, which meant we were traveling near the CP La Riviere subdivision. I took that opportunity to take more photos.

You can follow along with my handy-dandy CP La Riviere subdivision mileage chart.

First up was the former UGG elevator in Morden itself.
Grain elevator in Morden MB
It says "MCCABE - VICTORIA BRAND" on it in faded letters.

Not far from Morden is Winkler, hosting its own elevator.
Elevator in Winkler Manitoba
I believe there is a concrete elevator in Winkler, but I didn't get close enough to take a decent photo of it.

Next up was the heritage elevator in Plum Coulee, Manitoba. What a great name for a town!
Elevator in Plum Coulee, MB
This is a former Agricore United elevator that was taken over by the town.

Plum Coulee has a plan for a heritage square in the centre of town, described here. They appear to have acquired a CP caboose, boxcar and hopper car for their display. I saw them parked on a stub track. Poor CP 434508 has no windows any more.
CP 434508 caboose in Plum Coulee

I shot the elevator at La Salle, MB back in April 2010.
La Salle elevator
Of course in April there were no grain cars there.
Back of the elevator in La Salle, MB

At this point we left the La Riviere subdivision. I have not been to Domain or McTavish, so I don't know if they still have elevators or not. There is at least one elevator in Morris that I need to get to, soon.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

BNSF 2756 In Motion

I was running errands in Winnipeg this past Friday, and I drove by BNSF's yard since I was in the area. As it happens, the BNSF train was ready to head out to Fort Rouge to do their exchange. I circled around and got to the crossing at the right time to video the train going over Taylor.

BNSF 2756 pushed two tank cars and their caboose, BN 12580, decked out in the full Operation Lifesaver colours.

Oh, here's a video of BNSF 2756 in Minot, ND back in August 2010. It is leading with BNSF 2978 trailing. Interestingly, 2978 was also a Winnipeg resident back in January 2010!