Monday, June 20, 2016

Return to the Island

View of the Confederation Bridge
I was back on Prince Edward Island earlier this month for work. I decided to combine that with a quick visit to see my mom in New Brunswick. My plan was to land in Moncton (YQM), drive to Oromocto to stay overnight with her, then drive on Sunday to Charlottetown for my work.

I messaged my friends Taylor Main and Chris Mears to let them know I was coming back to the Island, and they invited me to a model railway operations session on Sunday evening in Summerside. Great!


Vroom, vroom!
After landing in Moncton, I obtained my rental car and hit the road. One of my other missions on the trip was to do a little model train car exchange with another friend, Caleb Wentzell (see his 10 Questions interview here). He had left some cars with a mutual friend in Salisbury so I drove down there to make the switch.

I pulled off the Trans-Canada Highway by the Irving Big Stop and drove into Salisbury. I wasn't quite sure where to go so I stopped by the tracks of the CN Sussex subdivision to plug the address into my phone. After doing that, I decided to check the RailsNB Facebook group to see if there was any news about CN movements on the line. Apparently there was a potash train into Saint John and five locos were running light out of Saint John that morning, but they were at least an hour away from me and I couldn't wait that long.

Suddenly the crossing bells started ringing.

CN 406!

I thought quickly. My camera was still in its bag, in the trunk - no time to get that. I grabbed my phone and jumped out of the car, frantically opening the Camera app and setting it to video. I started it just in time to catch the train blasting through the crossing.

A nice wave from the conductor and toot from the engineer!

After that excitement, I headed out of town to make the switch. Unfortunately our mutual friend was not home, so I left my cars in the mailbox and headed to Oromocto to see my mom.

Since I can remember, we almost always had cats and/or dogs in our house. My mom currently has two dogs and a cat, and she often fosters animals from the local SPCA until they are ready for adoption. When I visited, she was fostering a momma cat and six kittens. SO cute.

I fixed a few things around the house for my mom, and we went for supper.


In the morning, we visited the market in Oromocto and had a delicious waffle breakfast. Then it was time for me to hit the road for Prince Edward Island. It was nice to see my mom in person again.

I drove past Moncton with only a quick glance toward the CN rail lines - no traffic - and continued on toward the Confederation Bridge to the island.

Checking the time, I saw I had some free time before I was to meet Chris and Taylor for supper before going to Summerside. I decided to stop in Cape Tormentine, former terminus of the ferry to PEI prior to the construction of the Confederation Bridge. I had never been there as a railfan and I wanted to see the station, roundhouse and water tower there.

I did this and you may already have seen my post about it. If not, here's my post on Cape Tormentine.
Cape Tormentine train station
I crossed the Confederation Bridge. They must have a problem with people stopping to take photos from the bridge, as there are large signs warning of zero tolerance and big fines for mobile device use on the bridge.

Chris and I arrived at my hotel at the same time, and Taylor was there shortly afterward. We piled into Chris' car and headed for supper at The Old Triangle and then went to Summerside to operate on Scott Jay's Bayside and Tidewater layout. I wrote about that on Confessions of a Model Train Geek. Good times!

CN 1762, Kensington
Before we went to Scott's, we stopped in Kensington to pay our respects to the train station and to CN 1762, the only locomotive on PEI. She's looking well, although the red seems to be fading to orange... which I guess is what happened to many CN locomotives.

(psst... want to hear more about diesel locomotives that once roamed Prince Edward Island? I wrote an eBook about the diesels on PEI)

I didn't realize that another former Kensington train station still exists in the town. It is currently a private residence and is not very far away from the stone train station everyone sees.


Another day I stopped by the former Charlottetown train station, which was close to my hotel. The station is now being used for the island's Worker's Compensation Board and is in good condition.
The former Charlottetown train station
The station opened in 1907 and served the city for many years. After the cessation of passenger service, it held the main offices for CN on the island until the end of the railway in December 1989.


Tank car on PEI
I visited another remnant of the railway on Wednesday. There are two former CN tank cars that are located next to the Confederation Trail and Island Construction, a local construction firm. The two cars used to store waste oil from the ferries, and they were apparently acquired by a construction company to be cut up and reused. This never happened and they remain there on the rails beside the trail.

They appear to be quite old, judging by the riveted construction and where the handbrake is. The paint is still pretty good on one of them!
Tank cars on PEI


I flew out Thursday evening, for a quick turnaround to head to Calgary on Friday with my wife... but that's the subject for another set of blog posts.

Until then, I'll leave you with a photo of the Cape Jourimain lighthouse I visited on my way out of PEI.
Cape Jourimain lighthouse
Further reading:

No comments: