Monday, December 04, 2017

The 2017 CP Holiday Train

Canadian Pacific Railway has run the Holiday Train since 1999, crossing Canada from east to west. The train collects funds and food for local food banks, and puts on a good show too!

In the past I've photographed it in Winnipeg - at night - but this year I decided to see it on Sunday as it traveled from Winnipeg to Portage la Prairie for the show there.

According to the schedule, it was due to arrive in Portage la Prairie at 12:15 and the show would go from 12:30 to 1:00 PM.

My intention was to leave my house around 10 AM, railfan CN toward Portage, then cut over to CP around Poplar Point and catch the train coming in, then go see the train in Portage. I had to be back in Winnipeg shortly after 2 PM so I couldn't linger past 1 PM in Portage.

Why railfan CN instead of CP? Easy.. more trains. I wasn't expecting CP to run any trains around the time the Holiday Train was running, so I thought CN would be the better choice.

I did railfan along the CN Rivers subdivision and it was quite productive, but I'll leave that for another post. I arrived at High Bluff and drove around, looking for a decent spot to photograph the train.

I wanted a spot where I could see the whole train, but I didn't want just open prairie.

I found this barn and decided it needed to be in the photo.

Now.. the waiting game.

This year, CP posted a Holiday Train tracker web site where you can see its position in real time. SO. HANDY.

I was able to determine where the train was, so I didn't have to stand outside my car the whole time waiting for the train.

It was about 11:25 when I took the above photo of the barn. According to the tracker, the train was in Rosser, having just left Winnipeg. I was a little concerned because I couldn't see how the train could make the 50-odd miles remaining between Winnipeg and Portage la Prairie in 50 minutes to be on time.

While I was waiting, and checking the app, two CP freight trains came by. Again, I'll write about them with the other trains I saw that day.

Finally, the Holiday Train passed at 12:10.

That's the shot I wanted.

I took a little video here with my iPhone:

I hopped in the car and carried on toward Portage la Prairie. The train wasn't going terribly fast so I was able to jump out a kilometre or two later to get this photo.

I wanted to get them at Tucker passing the Viterra grain elevator there. I was easily able to beat them there, and one of the two CP freights I had seen was crawling along on the south track.

There was someone already there with a video camera waiting for the train, and somebody else pulled up in a truck to capture the event. I waited for CP 2249 to pass the freight and took a few photos. I liked this one the best:

Here's a bit of a wider view showing the grain elevator as well.

The Holiday Train stopped at the yard entrance to line a switch - I think - and I drove down between the CN and CP lines to capture the train arriving. Here it is with the large crowd waving to the train.

It came to a stop at 12:46 - 36 minutes late - so I didn't have a lot of time to photograph it before I had to leave. I saw Trainboy Productions there and chatted with him for a few minutes - I'll add his video to this post when he posts it.

Here's a whole-train view in Portage la Prairie. As Eric Gagnon said on Facebook, the view is unobstructed by grain elevators (that used to be here). I would have been fine finding shots around grain elevators. ;)

They were on a stub track - maybe the yard lead?

It was 1 PM so I had to go. I didn't see the show but I understand Colin James and Emma-Lee were great.

That was the 2017 CP Holiday Train for me.

See Also


Jenn said...

Excellent! Funny I was just wondering to myself the other day when it would be coming by my area. I am going to catch it in Blackfalds in 2 nights, I would love to see it at night.

Steve Boyko said...

It looks great at night, Jenn! I look forward to your pictures :)

Doug C said...

Thanks Steve for the posting, pics and additional vids'!

Glad to hear they had a decent crowd to greet the train !

Always too early (date-wise) for me to catch it back home in PlaP, maybe out here in YYC.

Canadian Train Geek said...

Thanks, Doug! The train will be in Calgary on December 9th at the Anderson C-Train station at 6:45 PM... or you could chase it down to Lethbridge on the 10th! :)

Andrew M said...

Hi Steve,

That "someone already there with a video camera" was me! Beautiful shot of the holiday train overtaking the freight. I wish I could say my video was even half as good. But alas...

Either way, nice to know I was among local experts such as yourself! Love the blog!

Canadian Train Geek said...

Hi Andrew, thanks for identifying yourself! I was pleased with my overtaking shot. :)

Are you planning on posting your video?

Andrew M said...

Absolutely. I'm sure there must be something I can salvage. At this point what do I really have to lose. :)

I took video of the departure out of Portage as well, thankfully I think that one went a little better.

Jason Paul Sailer said...

Awesome Steve! I'll be photographing the Holiday Train Sunday evening in Lethbridge and chasing it west on Monday!

BWBandy said...

You are right. The barn needed to be in this post.