Saturday, April 29, 2017

One Day, Six Trains

On April 25th, I spent some time trackside around Winnipeg and saw a total of six trains.

VIA 693

I decided to head up to the CN Rivers subdivision to try to catch the Winnipeg-Churchill train departing. This is VIA 693, formerly known as the "Hudson Bay". At times it has had a Park car on the rear but I think they haven't had one for a while.

I got to the track and headed east along Wilkes Avenue. As I passed Carman Junction I saw headlights to the east, which I assumed was VIA. I noticed a CN crew working on the signals at the junction so I parked just west of them on the shoulder. Sure enough, it was VIA 693 approaching at a slow speed.
VIA 6434 leading train 693 out of Winnipeg
The train had VIA 6434 / 6418 for power with baggage car VIA 8606, coaches VIA 8113 and 8122, diner ANNAPOLIS (VIA 8404) and sleeper CHATEAU MONTCALM (VIA 8219).
CHATEAU MONTCALM on VIA 693 leaving Winnipeg
Incidentally, I saw almost exactly the same trainset on April 11th, except on the 11th it had a second baggage car, VIA 8600, for some reason.

CN 8015 East

After that, I headed to just east of Diamond and parked. I got my laptop out and banged away on the keyboard, while glancing up occasionally to look for trains. After about half an hour, I spotted a train in the distance, rounding the corner at mile 16. As they passed Diamond, I got out the "big gun" (my 70-200mm lens) and took some shots of the approaching train.
CN 8015 across the prairie
The approaching train disturbed a group of birds, who briefly swarmed in front of the train.
CN 8015 and a cloud of birds
I dropped my camera and took video with my iPhone, so I didn't take any more stills of the train. It was a general freight with a lot of covered hoppers on the head end, a mid train DPU (CN 2308), and mixed freight on the rear.

The video is at the end of this post.

CN 5641 West

About half an hour later, the next train came rolling along.
CN 5641 near Diamond outside Winnipeg
 It was another general freight, with CN 5641 and CN 2145 for power.

The poor birds were disturbed again...
CN 5641 and the birds
There was nothing particularly interesting on the train... the usual graffiti that I won't share.

I decided that was enough, and headed toward home. However...

CP 2240 East

As I rounded the Perimeter Highway, I thought I spotted a headlight on the CP La Riviere subdivision to the south. I exited and drove toward it a bit, and sure enough, it was a train.

CP 2240 and 3016 were heading north / railway east, coming back from working the entire subdivision. They had a set of CP flatcars on the tail end, empty after depositing their loads of pipe near Morden.
CP 2240 leading the La Riviere wayfreight
Enbridge is replacing the majority of its existing Line 3 pipeline, which runs from Hardisty, AB to Superior, WI. In Manitoba it runs through Cromer, Morden and Gretna. The line was originally built in the 1960s and was running at reduced pressure after a rupture and spill near Pilot Butte outside Regina in 1999. The new pipeline is being build adjacent to the existing line and the existing segments will be taken out of service.

Again I recorded video with my iPhone.

I managed to get some of that sticky Manitoba mud on my shoes. That stuff is a mix of mud and clay and is really hard to get off. Often you end up with an inch or two of it layered to the bottom of your shoes.
Manitoba mud

That was it for train watching for a few hours... until...

CN 8949 East

I took my son to his choir practice in the late afternoon, then headed out toward Transcona. I saw a train leaving Symington Yard through Beach Junction, heading east, so I carried on out toward Dugald to get ahead of them. I knew they would have to slow down through the yard so I was confident I could beat them.

In fact I got to a rural crossing on the way to Dugald and had enough time to set up my Canon S3 as a video camera. I then shot the approaching train with my camera, then dropped that and took video with my iPhone and with the S3 as well. This was my first time recording video with two devices at once, and I've spliced them together in the video at the end of the post.

Here's CN 8949 approaching with 8925 assisting. It's starting to get green here in Manitoba!
CN 8949 with a dark nose
After that train passed, I collected my video camera and headed to Dugald. I sat there for a bit near the elevator until it was time to head back into Winnipeg to pick my son up.

CN 730

However, CN wasn't done with me yet. I saw another eastbound train so I pulled off to the shoulder to photograph it. The long string of Canpotex cars with the 2+1+1 DPU arrangement made it pretty obvious it was CN 730, destined for Saint John, New Brunswick and the potash dock there.

CN 3018 and CN 2959 were the head end power.

A little side pan shot of CN 3018...
CN 3018 from the side
I drove on for a bit and found the mid-train DPU... CN 3112.
CN 3112 in the middle of a potash train
Bringing up the rear was CN 2942. This train had some newer power!
CN 2942 on the rear of a Canpotex potash train
No video for this one!

The same train was through Drummondville, Quebec at 09:09 Eastern on Friday, and out of Joffre, Quebec at 17:30. It arrived in Saint John, NB Saturday morning around 10:30 AM.

The Video

So I've been talking up this video all through the post. Here it is, with CN 8015 East, CP 2240 East and CN 8949 East.

I did some editing to cut out a lot of the "watching train cars go by" monotony. I understand some people like to see the whole train, but I don't.. and the CP one in particular was going so slowly that it would really draaaaag the video out. I hope you like the editing - please let me know what you think!

See Also


Jenn said...

A good day! Someday I'd like to take a passenger train across the country.

Chris BIGDoer Doering said...

Ha, wait till you get Alberta mud stuck to your shoes! This stuff is heavy as cement and will not let go! It's quite a workout. Walking though the stuff will find you several inches taller at the end. Awesome post, always enjoy stopping by here over lunch.

Unknown said...

Hey Steve, just thought I would share that I really liked how you edited the video just like you I would rather just see the beginning and maybe the end considering that usually the cars are just bland and they can take forever to pass.

Canadian Train Geek said...

Thanks Jenn, me too! Unfortunately VIA costs a lot of $$$$ to cross the country. :(

Canadian Train Geek said...

Hey Chris, thanks for stopping by! That Alberta mud sounds like our Manitoba mud... wonder if Saskatchewan mud is similar...

Canadian Train Geek said...

Thanks for the feedback, Dash 8! I'm glad we are on the same wavelength.

Jenn said...

When I win the lottery then! Lol any day now!

Unknown said...

I noticed last weekend that they've been replacing the signal control boxes ("bungalows" I've heard them called) along that stretch of the CN main. Makes me wonder if the searchlight signals aren't long for this world.

Canadian Train Geek said...

Hi Rick, yes, a lot of LED signals are popping up, so the searchlights are on their way out. See them while you can!