Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Railfanning Prince George, Part 4

I feel like I should have some clever Star Wars-like title reference, like Railfanning Prince George - The Skeena Comes Back or RPG - Now With No Ewoks. Anyway. Part 1, part 2, part 3 have trickled out and here is part 4, the grand finale.

After visiting the Prince George Railway and Forestry Museum (photo gallery here), I had some supper then walked over to the CN yard to await the two Skeena trains, VIA 5 and VIA 6. Of course VIA doesn't call them the Skeena any more. In their infinite wisdom VIA dropped the names from most trains several years ago, and now it's the "Jasper-Prince Rupert" train. I'll still call it the Skeena because passenger trains should have names. I guess I could call it the Rupert Rocket as some call it.

Anyway, I walked into the very nondescript VIA station to see if either Skeena was expected soon. The agent told me that they were both late but the one coming from Jasper was not very late. I asked it I could photograph it from the platform and she said, "as long as I don't see you," with no humour. So, no platform then. OK.

I walked to the western end of the yard and saw GP9 CN 7276, slug CN 262 and GMD1 CN 1440 doing some work a few tracks beyond a snoozing coal train. The coal train had CN 2812 and CN 2831 for power, two of CN's new ES44AC engines.
Two ES44AC engines in Prince George
I started walking back to the VIA station but the Skeena had already arrived and was passing me!
Hey, wait for me!
Not my best railfanning moment.

They pulled to the end of the yard, then backed into the pocket track and parked the train. A taxi quickly pulled up to take the crew off.
The engine was left idling away. Just FYI the consist was VIA 6459, baggage VIA 8613, coach VIA 8116, Panorama Dome Car VIA 1722, and VIA 8717 Waterton Park.

I ended up going to the overpass over the north / west end of the yard and photographing the yard from there in the sunset light.
I called it Roscoe P. Coal Train
You can see the VIA pocket track

The other Skeena was super late and I did not see it arrive. I did see one more train before retiring, a pair of engines on a grain train that pulled in from the west. CN 2205 and CN 2181 were the power.

Next morning (June 25), the two Skeena trains were nose to nose in the pocket track, as they were a few days earlier. The Prince Rupert Skeena had VIA 6420, baggage VIA 8606, coach VIA 8135 and VIA 8703 Banff Park. I didn't have time to fiddle around with getting a nice shot from the overpass so all I could do was take inventory and get to work.

That evening, I decided to go visit the former BC Rail yard. Now, I have no experience with BC Rail so I don't know what it used to be like, but it seemed very.. quiet. There were a lot of cars in the yard but no power other than an arriving CN train with CN 2164, CN 5463 and CN 2235.
CN 2164 in Prince George
After driving around for a bit, I returned to the main CN yard and found CN 8952 and CN 5511 at the head of an eastbound container train.
Crew change?
I decided to shoot them on the bridge and captured a few views of the train crossing the Fraser River.
Crossing the Fraser
View of the lift section and mill
That was the end of my railfanning in Prince George, as my flight on Friday was early in the morning. I did see a pair of L-188 Electra fire fighting planes at the airport.

These are beasts! Check out this YouTube video of an Electra in action.

That was it for Prince George. I hope you've liked the series... now I'll get on with reporting a few grain elevator trips that included some trains. If you like grain elevators, please visit my new site www.manitobagrainelevators.ca where I am posting elevator photos on a pretty regular basis.

Oh, and hey! If you're on Facebook, why not follow TraingeekImages and get a photo or two every day?


Karl A. said...

Passenger trains can be very sneaky. I've had the Empire Builder catch me off guard. I think it because you can't hear them coming from as far off as the road diesels.

Unknown said...

I had no idea Electra's were ever outfitted as spray planes.

Also, nice Roscoe reference. The Duke boys would be proud!