Monday, November 05, 2012

Alyth Yard Revisited

I mentioned I went out railfanning again on October 28. I first went to the north end of Canadian Pacific's Alyth Yard and parked near the Blackfoot Trail overpass. I walked up the overpass, taking inventory of the engines I could see.

Alyth Yard is not very accessible to railfans. The south end is really not accessible at all, and the north end can only be viewed from the Blackfoot Trail overpass or on the ground a bit further north. The overpass gives you a height advantage but there is no walkway on the south side of the overpass and is definitely not pedestrian friendly. The walkway on the north side is wide and easy to stand on, although the vibration from the cars and trucks zooming by would preclude any decent video on a tripod.

You can see from the map that you have a (distant) view of the MacLeod, Laggan and Red Deer subdivisions from the north side of the overpass, and an obstructed view of Alyth Yard and the shops.

How obstructed? Well, here are two examples.
CP 8601 and CP 3071 in Calgary

Not magazine quality, that's for sure! Note the different number boards on CP 8601.

CP 1601 in Calgary

Hey, what is CP 1601 doing coupled up to that CP 4106 / 1900 / 4107 set we saw on Saturday?

There are some engines stored on the north side of the overpass too.
CP 5795 5838 1125 in Calgary

After I was done "taking inventory", I started walking back to my car. I glanced left and noticed a train rolling along the end of the CP Red Deer subdivision, so I sprinted back to the overpass to catch them entering the yard. Thankfully they had to stop to line some switches so I was able to get there ahead of them.
CP 8854 in Calgary
Note the big yellow apparatus in the background. I believe that is an icicle breaker car that is used in the Rockies to knock icicles down. The idea is to knock them down before they fall on their own and damage freight.

CP 8854 picked its way across the yard, crossing pretty much every track. The conductor was walking ahead of the train, relining every yard switch to line them for the diverging path. It looked like all he does is flip a switch and the switch points are moved by a motor. Note the yellow lights indicating that the switch is lined for the diverging path.
CP 8854 in Calgary Alberta

That was fun... so I started walking for my car again and another train came rolling out. CP 9616 West was heading for the Laggan subdivision but had to wait for the Red Deer train to get out of the way. I managed to grab this shot of the head end of the Rockies-bound train with the Calgary skyline.
CP 9616 in Calgary

I walked back to my car and this time no more trains came! I headed over to the remnants of Ogden Yard to see what was going on there...

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