Friday, February 17, 2017

That's My Fun Day

Head on into Sunday morning
I wish it was Sunday
That's my fun day
My I don't have to run day
- Manic Monday, Bangles

You may have noticed that I sometimes go out railfanning on Sunday mornings. Sunday is indeed my "I don't have to run day" as the Bangles so aptly sang. Saturday morning is usually spent at my son's curling rink and weekend afternoons are family time. Sunday mornings... often they are my time.

This past Sunday (February 12th) was one of those fun days. I woke up at a reasonable hour, had breakfast, then hit the road. I had a notion to visit the CN Rivers subdivision for a bit, then head up to the CP Carberry sub and hopefully catch a train there.

Track 1 - Manic Monday

First catch was an early train on the Rivers, a westbound heading out of the early morning sun. Not the best light, but you do what you can. I parked near Carman Junction and got the photos above and below at that location. The train was led by CN 5708 (SD75I) and CN 2153 (C40-8W) and featured a lot of autoracks.

CN 5708 rounding the bend at Carman Junction
I hopped in my car and headed west to try to catch them around Diamond. It was not hard to get ahead of them, as the road conditions were good. I shot them splitting the west-facing signals.

CN 5708 splitting the signals at Diamond
I didn't chase them any further. I wasn't really sure whether I should head up north to CP yet.

I had a feeling there was going to be an eastbound freight coming along. I'm not sure why I felt that way.

Track 2 - In A Different Light

I went westward a bit along the CN Rivers sub, and at the route 424 crossing I saw a headlight to the west. I looked around a bit for a suitable location and found a snow ridge to stand on to get a bit of elevation.

As the train hurtled closer I saw that it was a potash train, led by another SD75I, CN 5672, and a Dash-9, CN 2536. They were really moving!

CN 5672 and a lot of potash cars in the snow
Fortunately a westbound train in the morning put the train in a different light than the earlier eastbound.

Those PotashCorp hoppers kicked up a lot of snow.

Mmmm, potash
I decided to give chase and maybe get ahead of them for another shot. Since they were an eastbound, the light would be a lot better.

Track 3 - Walking Down Your Street

As I pursued them, it became clear that there was going to be a meet, as the headlights of another westbound were visible in the distance. I had one thing on my mind - to catch the westbound train quickly, then resume the chase.

Dash-9 (C44-9W) CN 2644 was leading the third SD75I of the day, CN 5716, and a solid grain train.
A different light - side light, in fact
The lighting wasn't great and the location wasn't so good either, but hey, I took a few quick shots and I was back on the chase again...

Track 4 - Walk Like An Egyptian

(man, I loved that song)

I passed Diamond, finally catching up to the end of the potash train. As I slowly gained on the train, car by car, I saw another westbound train rolling by on the south track - a container train. I made a quick decision and gave up on the potash train.

A quick U-turn brought me back toward Diamond to get the container train. No cops - maybe they were hanging out at the donut shop. I pulled over down the road and ran out to grab CN 2968 (ES44AC) at the head end of what I assume was Q101, a hot intermodal train.
CN 2968 leading a container train outside Winnipeg
The train rolled along pretty swiftly, and after a few minutes the mid-train DPU came into view, an ET44AC, CN 3069.

CN 3069 mid-train outside Winnipeg
It was turning into quite a nice morning!

Remember these chairs? Still here, apparently.
Another ES44AC was on the tail end, CN 2961. This one was pretty snow covered, which made me wonder if maybe this was the leader on an eastbound train earlier, and was now heading back west.

Ummm, you have a little something on your face.

After that, I figured if I was going to go see CP, I'd better get on with it.

Track 5 - Standing in the Hallway

I headed up the Perimeter Highway to the CP Carberry sub. There were two CP trains there, passing each other on the two tracks!

I was amazed, because it's good luck to see even one CP train these days. One was heading east into Winnipeg and one was heading west. I had no chance of getting the eastbound before it reached the yard, so I went west, young man.

It took a while to catch up to it, as you have to slow to 50 km/hr through Rosser and the road isn't parallel to the track all the way along. I got ahead of it before Meadows and elected to shoot it with the elevator. Here's the "coming" shot as they approached the Paterson grain elevator, which was off to the left of the photo.

CP 9371 West through Meadows, Manitoba
Since it was morning and the sun was in the east, I couldn't shoot a conventional "passing the elevator" photo without some severe backlighting. I decided to try this shot instead. I'm fairly happy with it.

CP 9371 and the Meadows elevator
Note the birds deserting the elevator as CP 9371 and CP 8702 rumbled by.

I moved around a bit to try different angles as the seemingly endless container train rolled by. I shot the DPU locomotive, CP 8828, from more of the sun side.

CP 8828 passing the Meadows grain elevator
I tromped through the snow to get the last shot of the tail end of the train passing the elevator. Good thing I had my winter boots on!
Container train and grain elevator
I see that CP is carrying Canadian Tire containers again. For a while they were on CN... maybe they are on both now. Anyone know?

So that was fun, but it was time to start heading home.

Track 6 - Return Post

I passed through Rosser again - 50 km/hr grumble grumble - and as I approached the Viterra elevator by the Perimeter Highway, I saw headlights on the rails. Another train!

The funny thing was that the headlights were high on the hood, not in the nose like Canadian locomotives have. At first I thought it was an American locomotive like a Norfolk Southern engine, but it turned out to be CP 2304 running long hood forward.

CP 2304, running long hood forward
CP 2304 is a GP20C-ECO locomotive, one of the rebuilt Geeps featuring a standard cab and an 8 cylinder 710 prime mover. I'm not sure why it was running long hood forward; I'm sure the crew wasn't big fans of the reduced visibility.

I'm quite sure this locomotive and train were headed to Portage la Prairie. The train had the following cars:
  • CRYX 5362, 5349, 5359, 5353, 5590, 4037, 4033, 5374 - Cryo-Trans refrigerated cars, likely for McCain Foods in Portage;
  • TGRX 854834 (lettered for Richardson) and GACX 10003 (lettered for GATX) - for the Richardson plant on the west side of Portage;
  • TILX 793096 (Trinity Industries Leading) - refrigerated car for Simplot just west of Portage; and
  • CRYX 5381, CRYX 5377, CRYX 5364, and CRYX 5296 - probably also for McCain

CRYX 5296 and other refrigerated cars
Often there is a CP locomotive stationed in Portage la Prairie, but I understand that recently the crew either takes the locomotive from Winnipeg to Portage or taxis from Winnipeg to Portage.

I didn't chase the train, but instead headed south. I had some time left so I thought I'd touch base with a few grain elevators and maybe get lucky and catch one more train.

Track 7 - If She Knew What She Wants

There was nothing moving on the CN Rivers sub, nor the CEMR Carman sub, so I headed down the CP La Riviere sub toward La Salle and Domain.
The La Salle grain elevator
The La Salle grain elevator looked much the same as the last time I saw it. The elevator has a bit of a lean toward the track, but it's had that for several years at least. Hopefully it doesn't get worse.

I went to the south end to shoot and a few snowmobilers were zooming by, so I caught one of them in the photo.
Snowmobiling in La Salle, Manitoba
I'd say this looks like fun, but I haven't been on a snowmobile since I was a child. My dad was involved in two snowmobile incidents and let's just say that they didn't exactly endear me to snowmobiles.

1. While we were living in the Soviet Union, we were staying at a dacha [cottage] outside Moscow for a few days. My dad borrowed or rented a snowmobile, which happened to have a broken windshield so it had a jagged edge on it. While driving it, he managed to get into an accident and cut his chin on the windshield, requiring stitches... without anesthetic, of course, because this was the Soviet Union.
2. Back in Canada - either before or after our trip to the USSR, I'm not sure - we were visiting my mom's parents at their farm outside Fredericton. My dad had a snowmobile and I was on the back, and we headed out to run over the farm land. My grandparents had a few hundred acres so there was plenty of room to ski or snowmobile. I did a lot of cross-country skiing there.

Anyway, at one point I fell off the back and my dad didn't notice for a while, so I was left alone in the "wilderness" for a while until my dad noticed and came back for me. I wasn't interested in snowmobiling after that.

Track 8 - Let It Go

After La Salle, it's a short drive over to Domain to see the ex Manitoba Pool grain elevator there.
I love these Prairie town signs
I'm pretty sure the elevator is privately owned now. I've seen single grain cars spotted at the elevator so it is still in use.
The Domain, Manitoba grain elevator

That was the end of my "fun day" morning. I hope you liked it, and I'll leave you with a question:

What is your favourite Bangles song?

Leave a comment and tell me why!


Jenn said...

A good day! I like that shiny Meadows Elevator in those couple shots.

Canadian Train Geek said...

Thanks, Jenn! It was a bit of a challenge to expose it properly so the elevator wasn't "blown out" / too bright. Glad you liked it.

Karl A. said...

Awesome shots! I love how clean your shot of the mid-train DPU came out.

Eric said...

Walk like an Egyptian. My mummy liked it too, until she got wrapped up in that pyramid scheme.
What decade were the Bangles, again?

Michael said...

The very first shot in the post is made all the more special by the asymmetrical posts trackside. The longer I shoot trains, the more I notice those little details. I also chuckled at the site of a reefer car crossing the frozen prairie. Great post. As for the Bangles, I remember a "girlfriend" in grade school telling me that our song should be "Eternal Flame" by the Bangles. Ah, the simple life of a grader schooler...

Eric said...

Interestingly, there were the Bangles, on my TV last night. CNN series The Eighties. Oh, and the Go-go's. And I don't mean GO train. They had the beat!

Canadian Train Geek said...

Thanks, Karl! I had lots of time to prepare for the mid train DPU :)

Canadian Train Geek said...

I did love "Eternal Flame" but it was never a song for me and a special someone. "In Your Room" was always a little more naughty.

You'd think the reefer cars were saving energy that day!

Canadian Train Geek said...

Eric, your puns are always groaners but they're welcome here. I'm always telling Dad Jokes and puns to my kids. Gotta raise 'em right!

Can you imagine the Go-Go's on the GO train in the 80s? It would've been quite a scene with the clickety-clack of jointed rail providing a backbeat.

GP9Rm4108 said...

Canadian Tire is indeed on both railways now, Steve.

GP9Rm4108 said...

Canadian Tire is indeed on both railways now, Steve.

Canadian Train Geek said...

Thanks, GP9 :)