Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Dog Catching

You know the old yarn that in the Prairies, you can watch your dog run away for three days? It might be an exaggeration, but you sure can see a long way out here.

In early August I was in Regina, Saskatchewan, one of the flattest areas I've seen in the Prairies. I negotiated some railfan time early in the morning of August 8 and headed out at sunrise to get some shots. I shot a few grain elevators and then moved to the west side of Regina. I had noticed one elevator there on the CP mainline and wanted to see it. It's at the intersection of Pinkie Road and 13th Avenue, here.

It was raining lightly as I approached the main line. I saw a couple of CP GP9s working outside the Brandt facility. CP 1541 and 1533 were switching some tank cars.
CP 1541 and CP 1533 in Regina

They had an honest-to-god caboose there too, CP 434412.
CP caboose 434412 in Regina

I watched them switch for a while in the rain and took some video.

Finally, they coupled up to their caboose and I figured they were headed back to Regina, so I took off east on 13th Avenue to wait for them. After about 10 minutes I realized they were going west. Oops. I came back and saw they were waiting to go north just west of where I was. I took this long-range shot of the completed train.
CP 1533 with train in Regina

I figured I would investigate where they were going, so I drove north to route 730 to have a look. I got snared in road construction and as I was waiting, I saw a westbound train approach. I tried to get to the crossing by 13th Avenue but the train was there just before me. CP 8866 and CP 8831 blew by.
CP 8866 and 8831 leaving Regina

I waited in the rain for the train to pass. CP 8521 was a mid-train DPU engine.
CP 8521 near Regina

Good thing this is the Prairies! After the train cleared the crossing, I returned to the Trans-Canada Highway and headed west. Since everything is wide open it was obvious where the train was... just a kilometre or two north of me! I overtook the train and was well ahead of it by Belle Plaine, so I pulled off to shoot it there.

I saw there was a westbound train stopped at Belle Plaine in the siding. CP 8604, CP 5908 and CP 9614 were patiently waiting.
CP 8604 5908 and 9614 in Belle Plaine

Those SD40-2 engines, once the primary power of Canadian Pacific, are getting more and more rare. The ES44AC engines and the AC4400CWs have taken over. I'm trying to get my shots when I can!
CP 5908 in Belle Plaine

Soon enough CP 8604 West blew through. I had the shutter speed a little lower than I wanted, but I kind of like the light blur on 8604, suggesting motion.
CP 8866 passes CP 8604 in Belle Plaine

I had my video camera set up too.

I was out of time by this point, so I headed back to Regina to rejoin my family.

EDIT: Added the videos.

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