Thursday, January 08, 2015

Southwest Manitoba Elevator Trip, Part 10 - The Grand Finale

Back in August 2014 I took two days (Aug 8-9) to photograph every grain elevator in southwest Manitoba. Here's part 1 and part 2 and part 3 and part 4 and part 5 and part 6 and part 7 and part 8 and part 9.

At the end of the last post, I was at Kemnay at the Pioneer grain elevator, ready to see one more elevator on my way home after two long days of photographing Manitoba grain elevators. I just had to get the Brandon elevator and head home.

A confession (since that's part of the blog's name): in five years of living in Manitoba, I had never actually been in Brandon. I've driven past it many times, stopped at the Trans-Canada Highway restaurants, gas stations and Tim Hortons a number of times, but never had I gone south of the TCH and actually entered the city.

I decided I wanted to have a glimpse of CN and CP in Brandon so I poked both of the yards on my GPS and let it take me there. On my way to the CN yard I passed the Cando headquarters.

There was an eastbound train sitting in the CN yard.

Time to switch to the telephoto lens to get a better look at that bad ol' cowl unit.

Oh, and hey, see what I found at the other end of the yard!
I'm not sure if this caboose is used any more, but it's pretty rare to see a caboose, especially one without a cupola. I was pleased to see that.

My GPS took me over to the CP yard but I drove right over it on the overpass and had to come around again. I spotted a display "train" nearby in Dinsdale Park so I decided to photograph that before coming back to the yard. The park was half underwater!

I have to say that these are not in great shape. All the glass is missing from CP 6513 and the caboose could use some paint - and glass. Darn vandals.

Anyway, I parked nearby and walked to the highway 1A overpass to shoot the yard. Here it is.

A little telephoto work identified two of the three engines in the yard, CP 8835 by the fuel tank and CP 3018 was one of the two locos past the buildings on the left. There's a snow plow behind the red tech building.

Any idea what the far set of cars with the blue thing on the end are? These are basically in the middle of the photo, way in the distance. Also notice the solar panels on the CP multimark ballast cars... I wonder what they are for?

It was time to go see the grain elevator in Brandon. My GPS took me right to it, and it wasn't far from the CP yard.

This elevator is owned by Cargill but is obviously a former McCabe grain elevator. McCabe was an American company that owned a string of elevators in Manitoba in the early part of the 20th century.

Clearly at some point there was a spur from CP to this elevator but there is no trace of it now that I can see.

Sadly Cargill has announced they are closing this facility so the elevator, Brandon's last grain elevator, may be in jeopardy.

After photographing this elevator, I drove north on the 1A to rejoin the Trans-Canada Highway and headed east to Winnipeg. End of story... not quite.

The clouds were pretty dark ahead and I was thinking it might rain. As I approached Austin I saw the sun lighting up the grain elevator there so I decided to stop and photograph it. This was 6:34 PM.

The darndest thing happened, though. As I walked back to my car, a rainbow appeared over the elevator! (6:37 PM)

Funny how it appeared in only three minutes. I watched and waited and took some photos as the rainbow developed. This was about the peak of its intensity, at 6:46 PM.

I was hoping for a train to come along, but nothing did. At 6:55 PM I took my last photo of the fading rainbow and headed out.

About 3 minutes later I spotted a headlight from a westbound freight train. Darn it! I turned around and beat it back to Austin to photograph it with the elevator.

It sure would have been nice to have the rainbow too!

And that was the end of my southwest Manitoba grain elevator trip.

By the numbers...

  • 37.5 hours away from home
  • 27 hours of driving and photographing
  • ~1200 km driven
  • 48 new-to-me grain elevators at 34 locations
  • 830 photos kept
  • 1 tired train geek :)

Thanks for following along! I've really appreciated your comments on this series.

Further reading:


Robert in Port Townsend said...

Steve: This is a Transfer Caboose. Cupola's useless after excess height cars became common. Milw and B&O credited with bay window concept.
Cab No: 76665
Builder: CN Pt.St.Charles
Type: Transfer Caboose
Built Date: 1980

Unknown said...

Steve, an excellent set of blogs on the elevator tour.
Some real good"keeper" photos as well.
I think I mentioned this have an eye for pictures, framing, composition etc.
Well done.

Now...we can't let you rest on your laurels, as it were.
What's next.??

Canadian Train Geek said...

Makes sense, Robert, you can't see over the tops of the big cars so why put a cupola in?

Canadian Train Geek said...

Thank you Glen, there'll be some more trips in the spring but until then I'll have to get out in the bad weather and shoot shoot shoot! :)

Eric said...

This has been a valuable, though exhaustive (and exhausting for you?) series, Steve. It reminds me of a series called To the Lands of the Geniuses or something similar in the UCRS Newsletter. I think it reached 20 Parts over many issues. At least you were able to be selective enough for 10 parts. Great stuff.
Thanks for sharing,

Karl A. said...

Steve, great shots!
The blue thing with the cut of cars is a ballast car. There is one conveyor belt that runs from the blue end through the other cars. The solar panels on the other cars are there to power the drop doors. You've got a few different cars that all serve similar purposes in that shot, very cool.

Canadian Train Geek said...

Thanks for the explanations, Karl! I was glad to be able to capture those cars.

downeastrailfan said...

I stayed in Brandon last summer. My friend said the CPR railway bridge to the west of town is referred to as the "can opener" bridge locally, as more than one tractor trailer has had its load clipped due to the low clearance.

Nice catch on the transfer van.

Canadian Train Geek said...

Every town has a "can opener" it seems! Some lost trucker always seemed to get stuck under the Fredericton train bridge approach. Usually they just have to let the air out of the tires but occasionally the trucker would jam it in tight enough that the trailer had to be cut up.

Mike Lowe said...

Thank you for this great series. I grew up in Brandon in the 60's and 70's, moving out to the Calgary area in the early 80's. I always remember when I was a kid, we'd be driving across the prairies or to my grandparents's house west of Dauphin and my dad would always tell us that we could approximate a town's population by the number of grain elevators. Strangely enough, Brandon had very few.

Canadian Train Geek said...

Hi Mike, thanks for your kind comment. I'm sure Brandon has changed a lot since the time you were there.

I agree that it was odd for Brandon to have so few grain elevators.