Monday, September 19, 2011

Rowatt, Saskatchewan and the Lewvan Subdivision

Elevators at Rowatt
Back on August 8, I spent the morning driving around south and west of Regina looking for trains and grain elevators. I had noticed a few elevators on Google Maps that I wanted to investigate, so I drove south of Regina on highway 6. A place known as Rowatt is located a few kilometres south of the Ring Road.

If you look at Google Maps, you can see that the elevators are served by a spur off the CN Lewvan sub.
Map of Rowatt Saskatchewan

The spur ends just short of highway 6 as you can see here.

Closest to the highway is the Cargill elevator complex:
Cargill elevator in Rowatt

Next is the Viterra elevator.
The Viterra elevator in Rowatt

Finally there is a small "elevator" complex that doesn't look like an elevator but clearly has a similar function. Maybe it just has no storage in it.
Grain hoppers at Rowatt

Rowatt is served by CN on the remnant of the Lewvan subdivision. Rowatt is mile 106.8. It was announced in October 2005 that the remainder of the subdivision was to be "discontinued". CN's 2009 Network Plan listed only 7.8 miles of the Lewvan sub, ending at Rowatt. The 2011 plan is the same.

My guess from doing some online reading is that some of the rails are still in place for the rest of the Lewvan, but they have not been used in years. I came across this photo of Estlin Saskatchewan just a bit farther down the Lewvan, taken in February 2009. The rails were in place but cut at crossings.

I did some Google Maps browsing and a little south of Rowatt you can see what appears to be rail removal in progress, and in fact the rails are missing from highway crossings south of Rowatt. I guess removal is in progress or maybe has already been finished.

Eric Gagnon posted a great article on the Lewvan as he saw it in 1985... worth seeing how it used to be!


Eric said...

Great photos Steve, and thanks for the link to my Lewvan Sub post. As shown in that post, I stopped at Rowatt (for lunch, mistakenly or perhaps optimistically thinking I'd see a passing grain train!?) and my photo of the SWP (now Viterra) doesn't show the Cargill plant, which then had only 2 silos, but in your photos show five.

I'll be posting a photo in an upcoming post about Railfan Rides. I parked my rented platinum-mist Fifth Avenue in front of the similarly-coloured Cargill for photos. At that time, 40-foot grain boxcars were being loaded, not the (yikes) Illinois Central P-S covered hoppers of today.

Thanks for sharing,

Jason Sailer said...

Hi Steve:

Neat to read! I and a group of photographers followed the former Lewvan route from Rowatt down past Estlin, Gray, Riceton, Lewvan, Colfax, and Cedoux. Unfortunately, there was no railway cars at Rowatt the day we were there. And to think Eric Gagnon did a similar route back in the 1980s when their was still elevators! I will be posting photos on Facebook in the next couple weeks of the trip. Thanks!

Canadian Train Geek said...

Hi Jason, thanks for your comment and I look forward to seeing your photos. When are you going to start your own blog? ;)