Wednesday, February 22, 2017

BNSF Detours, Day and Night

BNSF is detouring trains through Canada on CP and CN due to an avalanche in the US - in Marias Pass, I believe. Many great photos have been shared on Facebook (RailsAB, RailsMBSK) and elsewhere, and I'm glad it is being well covered. Here's my small contribution to the documentation of this interesting event.

The First F306

CN and BNSF, together again
I heard that the first of the eastbound BNSF detours over CN was coming to Winnipeg on Friday, so I ventured out to try to catch it coming into the city. I thought I'd head up to the CN Rivers sub then head west until mile 20 (where the road diverges from the track) or until I saw it.

I saw a headlight from the west immediately, which turned out to be CN 8919 leading an intermodal train. One quick "3/4 wedgie" then off to find BNSF.
CN 8919 passing the former site of the Manitoba Pool grain elevator, mile 10.6
It was not long before I spotted another train coming from the west. I had a feeling it was the BNSF detour train, and the long string of brown I saw behind it confirmed it. CN F306 approaching the famous Diamond west of Winnipeg.

I hopped onto a snowbank to capture the train with CN 2841, BNSF 6127 and BNSF 6138 leading a long brown snake of BNSF grain hoppers.
BNSF 6127 approaching Winnipeg
CN put their own locomotive on the head end of all of the detour trains, due to union requirements (microwaves!) CP is doing the same on their railway.

BNSF 6138 approaching Winnipeg

I sped ahead of it and captured it again at Carman Junction as it passed a signal worker doing some servicing.
CN 2841 leading two BNSF engines through Carman Junction
The train stopped at Waverley, and that's where I met up with Jack, Mark and Christopher who were doing their own chasing.
The detour train at Waverley Street
I wasn't able to stay to chase it down to Emerson, but Jack and Mark did a fantastic job documenting that so I wouldn't have had anything more to contribute anyway!

The CN engine was taken off and a new crew took it down to Emerson. Jack took some great video of the train en route to Emerson.

The Second F306

I heard that the second CN F306 was arriving in Winnipeg late Friday night, and heading south on the Letellier sub early Saturday morning. I headed out around 11 PM to Waverley and I saw a train there but I wasn't convinced that it was the BNSF detour.

I drove around a bit in the Parker area hoping to find a shot but I'm not really familiar with the area, several roads are closed at the moment, and there are many water-filled potholes that really alarmed me. I decided to head south out of the city, and I was concerned that I had already missed the train and it was heading south ahead of me.

I drove all the way to Morris (about 70 km), finding nothing there. I knew that CN 533 was coming up from Emerson and would have to meet up with 306, probably in Morris. I went down to Saint Jean Baptiste and found nothing there either, except for 7 or 8 grain hoppers at the ex Manitoba Pool grain elevator and a few curious deer.

I drove back up past Morris to Ste. Agathe where I picked up the BNSF detour train heading south. I found a crossing right next to the highway and shot (and videoed) BNSF 4782 and BNSF 4390 leading 115 cars. I used my car's high beam lights to provide a bit of illumination.

After the train passed, I packed everything back in my Civic and continued on to Morris. I decided to catch them passing the older Paterson grain elevator in Morris. Camera back on the tripod... a little night focusing and I was ready to go.

I quite like how this turned out.
Star light, star bright, first train I see tonight
(camera settings: 20 second exposure, f/8, ISO 200, 17mm focal length)

They passed by me stopped just short of the north leg of the wye.

One of the crew threw the switch and the train rolled onto the wye to pull onto the former CN Miami subdivision to clear the main for CN 533.

I went up to 5th Street to record them coming up the Miami spur. They stopped short of the diamond with the CP La Riviere subdivision, and another crew member got off to do whatever magic was required to get the light to cross the diamond. He then took the derail off and hopped back on the train as it rolled west on the Miami "sub".

I took a few stills but they did not work out very well. There's a bit of video at the end of this post.

I went back to the main line and found the third crew member lining the switch back to the main. I asked him when CN 533 would be coming through, and he said they were just south of Morris.

It was not long before CN 533 came through with CN 2142 and 2003 leading a long train.
Streaky lights of CN 533
I popped off a few photos here and there, and I liked this one of the train sliding through the crossing the best. (30s, f/8, ISO 400)
Red train at night, railfan's delight
Once CN 533 passed, I hit the road for home, since it was 2:35 AM! I went straight home and went straight to bed. Image processing could wait!

Here's my compilation video.

See Also


Unknown said...

I also caught the train with BNSF 6127 and BNSF 6138.

Jenn said...

Great photos Steve!
LOL I was at a hotel in Grande Prairie and a train crossing was a block away. I got to listen to the sound of train horns for a few days, not that I mind...I kind of like the sound and looked whenever I heard one...not sure if they were interesting trains but there was a lot of them.

Canadian Train Geek said...

Glad you caught it, Taylor!

Canadian Train Geek said...

Jenn, I hope they didn't keep you up at night! Not everyone likes hearing train horns...

Unknown said...

I got a video just west of Portage Junction, its last few minutes on the CN Rivers Subdivision.