Monday, July 01, 2013

The Dufresne Grain Elevator, and CEMR

I was browsing through Flickr a few days ago and stumbled across this photo of CN train 342 at Dufresne, Manitoba. It's a very sharp photo, but what really attracted me was the grain elevator. I had no idea there were any grain elevators on the CN Sprague subdivision. I decided that I had to go check it out, and on Sunday June 30, I did.

Dufresne is located about 30 km southeast of Winnipeg, just off the Trans-Canada Highway. The kids and I drove down there and found it easily enough. It's hard to miss a grain elevator on the Prairies once you get within 10 km or so of it.
Dufresne grain elevator

There were some beat-up gondolas and side-dump cars parked beside the elevator, and the smell of creosote was strong in the air. Clearly the elevator is not being used, but a little research shows the elevator wore the Agricore logo as recently as 2006, although the elevator tracks were pretty overgrown by that point.

I went around to the sun side and took a shot there, to illustrate the trackage there.
Dufresne grain elevator

Sadly no trains were evident and the signals were all dark.

The most recent data I have for the Sprague subdivision shows the following for the area around Dufresne:
120.7Hotbox detector-
133.1Hotbox detector-

The siding is evident as the middle track in the above photo, and it does appear to get some use, although by modern standards 6,690 feet is a bit short.

Looking back in time, the CN Assiniboine Division Employee Timetable #72 from April 24, 1977 shows a bit more information.

The siding was just a bit shorter (6,390 feet) and the hotbox detector at mile 133.1 was not there in 1977. The more interesting information is that there was a siding at Ste. Anne at mile 126.2 (not present now) and two spurs in Ste. Anne to service the Co-Op and also Cominco.

Also notice the Railliner trains, #687 and #686, which ran three times a week up to May 21. I assume they were cancelled after that. They were relatively speedy, scheduled to take 3 hours and 10 minutes to cover the 145.7 miles between Navin and Rainy River.

Anyway, after taking all the photos I wanted, we proceeded back to Winnipeg. There were three hump sets of GP38-slug-slug-GP38 visible in Symington yard, two of which were active. I carried on up to Transcona but the yard was devoid of any power. Off to see what was going on at CP and CEMR...

CP was dark but I spotted headlights on the CEMR Pine Falls subdivision just outside their yard. There is a chemical plant there that takes tank cars and I could see an engine with some tank cars. I took a guess that they were going to push the train into the CEMR yard, so I carried on down Day Street. I was surprised to see there was an engine on the other end of the train too. CEMR 4001 had two crew and was pulling the train into the CEMR yard.
CEMR 4001 in Winnipeg

After about a dozen tank cars, there was CEMR 4002 on the other end! It had a crewman riding the end of the engine.
CEMR 4002 in Winnipeg

I had a quick look at what was inside the yard, as much as I could see from Day Street. New acquisition CCGX 4119 was there with CEMR 5396, and ex-CN GP9 JLCX 7059 was there too. I saw that engine several times in its former life as CN 7059.

Not a bad afternoon of railfanning, all things considered.


GP9Rm4108 said...

Williams still has a standing elevator I believe.

A list of sidings that are no longer there or have been demoted to back tracks:

Rainy River (now a back tack),
Pitt (Graceton was built a few miles west to replace it, Roosevelt,
Longworth (short back track),
Hickey (replaced by Middlebro, South Jct.,
Woodridge (short back track), Bedford (4000' back track), Marchand,
St. Anne

GP9Rm4108 said...

I forgot to add that Blueberry was build a coupe miles east of Roosevelt to replace it.