Friday, April 27, 2012

Yet Another Engine Arriving

The New Brunswick Southern Railway is getting yet another engine. Luc Doiron reported that GMTX 203 was in CN's Gordon Yard in Moncton yesterday, coupled up to CN 5748. Here's his photo.
GMTX 203 in Moncton, NB. Photo by Luc Doiron
Thanks for permission to use the photo, Luc.

GMTX 203 is an MP15DC, built in August 1976. The unit was recently rebuilt at the Progress Rail shops in Tacoma, Washington. Before that it worked on the Alaska Railroad for about two decades as ARR 1551.

These units are fairly similar to NB Southern's existing SW1200RS switchers NBSR 3702 and NBSR 3703. The MP15 does have an EMD 645-series engine, like NB Southern's Geep fleet, whereas the SW1200RS has the 567-series engine.

Word has it that another MP15 is coming from GMTX at some point.

NB Southern is really going to have some colourful consists!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

"New" NB Southern Units Imminent

Three GATX GP38s are about to arrive at New Brunswick Southern Railway's doorstep. The three were spotted in Portland, Maine on the Pan Am Railway property on Monday morning, and on the move through Waterville, Maine Tuesday afternoon.

The three units are GMTX 2639, 2645 and 2666, all in bright blue paint with white lettering. GMTX 2639 in particular spent some time on the Quebec and Gatineau Railway a few years ago.

Hat tip to Chuck and SteveO for the information.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Receiver Appointed for IRSI

The CBC is reporting that a receiver has been appointed to look into Industrial Rail Services affairs and try to salvage some work and/or value for the province. There's not a lot of detail in the article but the Moncton Times and Transcript reports that Ernst and Young is the receiver represented by Cox and Palmer lawyer Josh McElman.

I've heard strong rumours that the LRC work has already been given to National Steel Car in Hamilton. I understand there are a half-dozen LRC cars on site at IRSI that will either be moved to NSC or finished up by IRSI employees directed by the receiver. Hopefully they will get at least that work. There are 5 VIA RDCs on site too and no word on what is to be done with them.

Just as an aside, I've mentioned that the Moncton T and T (and indeed all the J.D. Irving newspaper web sites) have gone behind a paywall and are no longer viewable by non-subscribers. I disagree with this decision and I will not link to any portion of their web sites any more. Thank goodness for the CBC.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Rail Train!

BCOL 1873 and CN 77014 cabooses in Winnipeg
On Tuesday afternoon I was driving west along Wilkes Avenue when I spotted a train heading west as well. I could only see the rear but it seemed a little odd. As I caught up to it I saw that it was a rail train and it had two cabooses on the rear!

I passed it at about mile 10 and kept going. I passed Hall Road and got far enough ahead of it to shoot it just before route 334.
CN 6014 and the rail train

CN 6014 was the sole power on the train. CN 6014 is an SD40u (an SD40 remanufactured in early 1995 to SD40-2 specifications) and apparently has been doing ethanol train duty recently, given this video from Michigan and this one from Illinois.
CN 6014 in Winnipeg

I shot a few detail photos of the cabeese as they rolled by. First, BCOL 1873, an "engineering use only" "crew transporter". This caboose was built by BC Rail's Squamish shops in 1973.
BCOL BC Rail 1873 caboose in Winnipeg

On the tail end was CN 77014, all decorated in Operation Lifesaver colours. It is a Pointe St. Charles caboose built in the 1970s. Modelers, you can buy this caboose as an Athearn ready-to-run model (and was an Overland brass model).

I'm not sure when this was repainted but in March 2002 it was still in red yet in April 2008 it was in OL paint. There are a couple of pictures of it on RailPictures, one from May 2007 in OL colours too.
CN 77014 Operation Lifesaver caboose in Winnipeg

They had a "Limited to Clear" signal at Diamond so they slowed for the track change, and I got ahead of them again to shoot this video.

That was a very exciting catch that I was fortunate to see.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

IRSI in Receivership

The CBC is reporting that the New Brunswick government is aiming to put Industrial Rail Services Inc. into receivership for failure to pay its loans. IRSI received $22.5 million in loans and guarantees from the province and has fallen behind on payments. Since VIA Rail apparently terminated its LRC refurbishment contract with IRSI on April 11, there is little chance that IRSI will be able to repay those loans.

Since IRSI laid off most of its workers in mid-March, things have gone from bad to worse for IRSI. It appears that the contract they won in the spring of 2009 was too much for them to take on. It is a real shame.

One wonders what the fate of IRSI, and for railfans its fleet of RDCs, will be under a court-appointed receiver will be. I sure hope they can pull out of this.

PS - apparently the Moncton Times and Transcript has an article on this, but since that paper and others have gone to a "paywall" I cannot and will not link to it.


I went out on Thursday (March 29) to shoot the Canadian, as I often do. I decided I had better hustle west on Wilkes because I was cutting it a bit close for time. As I turned west on Sterling Lyon at route 90, I saw a CEMR train heading west. Great!

I got ahead of them and grabbed this shot of CEMR 4000 and CCGX 5232 leading a short train.
CEMR 4000 in Winnipeg

I quickly zoomed west again to get them at Carman Junction. It was a cloudy day so I figured I could pick my side of the crossing and it wouldn't matter much for lighting. I parked just west of the crossing on the shoulder and waited for them to arrive. CEMR slowed.. and slowed.. and slowed. Behind them, I saw lights!

Then it was a race. Would CEMR turn first or would the Canadian get there first? The conductor lined the switch for the CEMR Carman subdivision just before the Canadian came along. I took several shots of VIA passing and this was the best of them.
CEMR 4000 and VIA 6426 meet at Carman Junction

After that I concentrated on shooting VIA 1 as the CEMR train slowly rolled onto the Carman subdivision. The VIA crew gave me a wave as they passed - thanks!
VIA 6426 and CEMR 4000 pass

Here's the last of the meet.
CEMR 4000 crosses Wilkes Avenue

After the CEMR train cleared the switch, the conductor relined it and walked after his train.

I hopped into my car and took off in pursuit of the Canadian. They didn't seem to be going very fast and I caught up with them by mile 10. I went to Hall Road and crossed the tracks well ahead of them to get this shot. As I said in a previous post, normally you can't shoot westbounds at Half Road but since the sun was blocked, a shot from the north worked fine.
VIA 6426 leads the Canadian out of Winnipeg

And that was that.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

NB Southern Maintenance of Way Video

J.D. Irving produced this video demonstrating the type of remediation work that will be done in Northern Maine using the TIGER II funding. If you've ever been curious about what the various pieces of MOW equipment do... watch this video. It's quite good.

Some have suggested that this was filmed in Welsford. I'm not certain but it sure looks like it.

The Flying Train!

This is a great video that Craig Pifer took of a steam engine being installed on tracks at the Keizer Station mall in Oregon. The engine itself is a 1904 Baldwin.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Back on February 23 (I told you I have a backlog) I found CN 8847 heading west out of Winnipeg late in the afternoon. This was after seeing CN 106 and the Canadian at noon on the same day. The train approached Diamond and slowed to a halt. Clearly they were meeting another train.
CN 8847 in Winnipeg

I headed west past Diamond and spotted this train. Here they are approaching the bend west of Diamond.
Anticipation - CN 5508 near Winnipeg
I love this moment... the train is in sight, not quite "in range" for photography... fire off a test shot to make sure all the settings are right... and wait for "the moment".

Here they came around the bend.
CN 5508 near Winnipeg

Note how CN 5508 does not have the white-painted numbers above the cab windows like most CN SD60s do, or like trailing engine CN 5538 has.
CN 5538 in Winnipeg

I hit the road to shoot the meet. I saw that 8847 had started creeping forward in anticipation of 5508's passing. I stopped at the Route 334 crossing just east of Diamond, jumped out, and here is the meet.
CN 5508 near Winnipeg

I was out of time, so I headed for home. The funny thing is... there was another train behind 8847 West, led by two more SD60s, CN 5536 and CN 5549. Unfortunately I did not have time to get a shot of them!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Dash-9s by the Dozen

Well, OK, maybe that's an exaggeration. But here's five I've seen in the past couple of months.

I saw CN 532 rolling south along Pembina Highway on February 29. I chased it south until I got ahead of it south of St. Norbert. CN 2684 was the sole power on the train. This is not uncommon - many times 532 has only one engine, as the Letellier sub is pretty straight and flat.
CN 2684 in St. Norbert Manitoba

Next up is CN 2659, lead engine on an eastbound train in Winnipeg ahead of powder blue IC 2458 on March 21. IC 2458 is a Dash-8 so it doesn't get included in the count.
CN 2659 in Winnipeg

It's amazing how the snow disappeared in three short weeks.

Six days later, I shot CN 2671 on another eastbound through Winnipeg. I was waiting in my car because it was pouring rain, and I jumped out to shoot the lead engines (CN 2290 and CN 2332) and then waited for the DPU engine (2671). As it happened, during all this jumping out and into the car, I dropped a set of keys. I was fortunate enough to find them again when I returned a few hours later!
CN 2671 in Winnipeg

The last two engines were on yet another CN container train coming into Winnipeg, on April 7. CN 2533 was the lead engine and I shot it as they passed Diamond heading east.
CN 2533 in Winnipeg

I decided to head east and get another shot of the train. I was ahead of it by Carman Junction so I stopped there and shot it passing the switch to CEMR's tracks at the Junction.
CN 2533 at Carman Junction in Winnipeg

Sister Dash-9 CN 2536 was the DPU power on the train, pushing on the rear. Note the red light above the ditch light, indicating the rear of the train.
CN 2536 in Winnipeg

I hope you have enjoyed this view of a few of the Dash-9s that pass through Winnipeg.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Inside the Dever Road Shops

NB Southern Railway passenger car
I was in New Brunswick last week and I had the opportunity for a quick tour of NB Southern's Dever Road shops.

Outside the shops, HLCX 6315 was parked with NBSR 3703 parked on an adjacent track giving it a boost.
HLCX 6315 outside Saint John

The battery cables were a bit larger than what you would use for your car! I was in 6315's cab for a few minutes and I have never seen such a bare-bones cab. It had the control stand and two chairs and that was it. No desk, no hot plate, no fridge, and no electronics of any sort other than a speedometer. Amazingly, 6315 led the westbound freight the next evening after some frantic equipment installation!

There was only one engine inside the shops, Maine Northern 9801.
MNR 9801 in Saint John

This was the first time I've seen it in its Maine Northern lettering.
Maine Northern logo

The shop has two tracks for working on the engines, and the rest is devoted to repairing MOW equipment and car repair.

Once NBSR is finished leasing engines, they should have 28 engines. With only two tracks for servicing they are going to be tight for space! Maybe it's time to look at expanding the building?

Here's a view of the rest of the shops with a Kershaw brush cutter in the building.
The interior of the Dever Road shops

Here are some locomotive trucks being rebuilt.
Trucks in the Dever Road shops

Behind the shop there are a variety of old boxcars being used for storage. The CP Rail is starting to show through on this old car.
Faded CP Rail

NB Southern's sole Jordan spreader #402896 is parked back there, as well as caboose 79624.
CN 79624 in Saint John

Back at the shops, ex-UP engine HLCX 911 was beside the shop with NBSR 3702. NB Southern refuels its engines there, right beside the shop. This was my first view of 911.
HLCX 911 in Saint John

I appreciated the opportunity to go inside the shop and hopefully I'll get a chance to do so again.

Friday, April 06, 2012

This Day, 32 Years Ago

CN 3104 in Toronto, Ontario. Slide by unknown photographer.

CN 3104 (and I think CN 3112) were shot in Toronto on April 6, 1980. Presumably this is at the Spadina shops downtown, as a VIA "B" unit is clearly visible as well. The photographer is unknown.

CN 3104 was an MLW RS-18.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Double Vision

In my very limited spare time I am going through the (virtual) mounds of photos I have waiting to be catalogued and processed. I found this shot of CN 8856 leading a train into Winnipeg on March 24 and wanted to share it.
CN 8856 in Winnipeg

Imagine my surprise when I continued to process photos and found this photo of CN... 8856 leading a westbound train out of Winnipeg 4 days later on March 28!
CN 8856 leaving Winnipeg

I wonder what she did in those 4 days... did it go out on another train? Or just wait for the chance to head west again? The secret life of locomotives...