Monday, September 14, 2015

A Little Bird Told Me

Back in July I mentioned a trio of Twitter accounts set up to tweet about blocked crossings in Winnipeg. I speculated that a railfan might be able use these tweets to find out when trains were approaching. Well, I put that to practice on Friday the 4th of September.

I was sitting at home with the kids, idly checking my Twitter account @stevetraingeek when I saw these tweets from @TRAINFOWPG3:

The Bison-Pembina crossing is south of the McGillivray-Pembina crossing, so if the Bison crossing is tweeted afterward, that means a southbound train (CN 532) is on its way to Emerson. If the order is reversed, it's CN 533 coming back from Emerson.

I saw those tweets and decided to go chase 532 for a bit. I bundled the kids in the car and headed over to Pembina, fully expecting to have to overtake the train south of St. Norbert. I should mention that a big storm had come through shortly before this.

I didn't see any train through St. Norbert, nor did I see one south of St. Norbert all the way to St. Adolphe. I knew I should have caught up to the train by then so I guessed it was going slow and I just had to wait. I decided to shoot the new St. Adolphe grain elevator being built by the CWB, soon to be known as G3 Canada Ltd.

Do you like that giant cloud? Welcome to prairie storms!

The wind was up and the clouds were moving quickly. It wasn't long before some blue started showing up in the evening sky.

I turned to look back at the car, and... oooh!

I love rainbows. In fact, I blogged about them before.

The sun finally lit the elevator so I could get a decent long-range shot. It looks almost complete from the outside.

The sun was setting, so I grabbed a few silhouette shots, still wondering where the train was.

Finally I gave up, figuring the Twitter account was on crack or something. We headed back into St. Norbert, and just as I approached the river crossing, I saw headlights heading south on the CN Letellier subdivision. There it was.

I turned around and headed back to grab it against the sunset sky. I shot it at one location and got this..

OK but not quite what I wanted. The train wasn't going very fast at all so it was easy to jump ahead to try again.

That's more like it.

With a wave from the friendly conductor, CN 2675 and BCOL 4611 ground their way south while I headed home with the kids.

I still can't explain what happened with the Twitter feed. Maybe a hi-rail truck went through first?

Here's the whole timeline:

  • 6:41 PM - crossing at McGillivray blocked
  • 7:01 PM - crossing at Bison blocked
  • 7:30 PM - crossing at McGillivray blocked (again?)
  • 7:33 PM - I arrived in St. Adolphe
  • 7:51 PM - crossing at Bison blocked
  • 7:59 PM - I left St. Adophe
  • 8:12 PM - I shot the train in St. Norbert the first time
  • 8:16 PM - I shot the train in St. Norbert the second time

PS if you're on Twitter, please feel free to follow me at @stevetraingeek, and if your feed has trains in it, I'll probably follow you back!


Brad said...

interesting that elevator looks almost exactly like the one they built in Bloom

Canadian Train Geek said...

Yes, it's pretty much a carbon copy of Bloom.. saves on engineering drawings, I guess!