Monday, December 28, 2009

Lengthy Absence From The Blog

December 28th, 2009

2009 has not been a good year for me in the way of railfaning and blogging. I had 29 posts in 2008 and only 6 in 2009 including the “Happy New Years” and this one. I’m not going to get into details about my personal life on here, but I will say that I was a little down in the dumps for a while, reduced my extra driving a bit to save some money, and also bought and moved into a condo in High River about a month ago.

Although I did not get around to railfaning very much this year, I did get out to do some photography closer to home on several occasions. I do feel like I’ve let those who have been reading this blog down this year with the lack of posts. To you the readers I apologize. I do have about a dozen or so posts that I need to finish up in the back log including my expedition of the Mayland Height Spur. In 2010 I do hope to get back on track (pun absolutely intended) and get things going again. Hopefully by then I’ll have been settled in my new place and have everything sorted.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Hang Out At Alyth

October 2nd, 2009

On Friday I did something that I haven’t done in several months. Railfanning! Man did it feel good to do it too. I wasn’t flying around the county side chasing down some train, I was just casually hanging out at Alyth yard checking what was going on.

I got there around noon, parked my car, grabbed my camera and walked along a grassy area on the backside of a warehouse parallel to the tracks. I got near the end and there was a guy sitting in a CP pickup truck, I think he was a yard foreman. When I came near he asked me if I was out take train pictures and I said yes. He went on to explain that he was waiting for container train to come in so he could take readings on the fuel tanks to determine how much fuel the train had consumed from its previous stop in Fields.

He explained that CP had been experimenting with longer trains lately. I know not the reason why except to move more freight. Earlier this summer, they experimented with 10,000 foot long grain trains. Now they are experimenting with 10,000 foot and longer container trains.

The day before, Thursday October 1st, train 110 came through and was a 12,000 foot container train on it’s way to St Paul, Minnesota via Winnipeg from Vancouver. It had five locomotives total, two at the front, one about a third in, the other about a third from the end, and one pushing at the rear. On Friday the 2nd, I got to see train 110 roll by, a 10,500 foot container train, which was the one that the yard foreman was waiting for, with four locomotives total. There were two at the front, one about half way and the fourth pushing in the rear. This train had the same destination as the train 110 from the previous day.

The locomotive roster was 8702 in the lead, an es44ac, followed closely by 9824, an ac4400, then lagging further back were 9750 midway and 8514 pushing, both being ac4400’s. In the first photo, the building you see in the distance to the left is 12th Street Tower. I wish I would of thought of getting a car count on this train. I’ll have to keep my open for the next 10,000 foot 110.

Shortly after that, the hump made its appearance at about 12:30. At the lead end was 6603 and 5795, both SD40-2’s, then there was 75 cars in the string and 6612 at the end another SD40-2.

When it stopped half way on its return in and didn’t move for a while, I decided to get and oil change and tire rotation done on my car.

When I returned shortly before 16:00, the hump was already pulled out. I didn’t get a car count but it was well over 70 cars judging by were the two lead locos were and the fact that I couldn’t see the other locomotive at the end.

I walked down to the end of the grassy area again, and on my way back I saw some headlights coming down. It was a loco trio with a sandwiched SOO unit. Locomotive 3124 was the first, then SOO 4420 and then 3115 at the end. All three were GP38-2’s. They went several times doing some switching. From what I could tell it seemed like they were making a train or two.

There was a crunched up Government of Canada grain car in the hump.

As the hump made another stop as it was pulling in, 8217 pulled up from around the wye. It stopped and waited for the switch to be thrown so it could make its way up and around the hump to end up on the eastern side of the yard and head towards the diesel shop.

At 16:10 the hump that was already out was finally on its way in. Pushing the cars into the hump were 6611 and 6065, both are SD40-2’s.

At 16:20, a local switcher was coming in from the north line with 7 tankers. The locomotives were two GP-9’s numbered 8232 and 1568. The north line comes in on the far side of the hump track. Most of the switches in the yard are controlled from the tower, so they waited a minute and were on their way to the yard that is near the downtown core to which the name eludes me at the moment.

About ten minutes later, a couple locos came out from the classification yard. They rolled back and switched around the hump to end up in one of the diesel shop tracks to be prepped for the next shift. The two locomotives were a GP38-2 numbered 3066, and 3013 being a GP38AC.

There was no action for about twenty minutes, then another hump being pulled out by a familiar looking 6603 and 5795 came rolling by. I can only assume that 6612 was probably on the other end. I could only count 71 cars visible to me. This trio pulled out a hump in my presence earlier that afternoon.

When they didn’t move for a good length of time, I decided to call it quits and said my good byes to a fellow railfanner and his wife who showed up about an hour prior. I then finished my day with a visit to my watering hole for some friendly chit-chat, a game of stick, a hot bite to eat, and a cold one down the gullet.


Monday, February 2, 2009

Yard Shots, NBEC 587 And VIA Ocean 15

I was going to go into Calgary on Saturday and photograph the switch derail and industries along the Mayland Heights spur that runs across the street from my place of work, but as I was checking my gear and getting ready, I noticed that one of my batteries was at 0% and the other was at 4%. It takes about two and a half hours to charge each battery. So I'm postponing my expedition until next Saturday. As a substitute, I bring you another installment from my holidays in New Brunswick this past summer. I hope you enjoy.

August 20th, 2008

It was Wednesday afternoon at around 15:30 and overcast. I wasn't really trying to catch a train that day, I was just wandering around taking pictures of the Bathurst Yard area which is on the Newcastle Subdivision. So I started off at the Golf Street crossing and the first couple I took were of the line heading towards Nepisiguit Junction.

The left track is the main line and the two right tracks are mostly used as storage sidings. Eventhough the middle track does continue on up to the other end of the yard, there is a switch on the station side of Golf Street to bypass this portion of the track back onto the main line. The crossing shown in the first photo is at Squire Green Drive. From what I have observed, the portion of the middle track west of Golf Street is mostly used for storage and temporary staging. The portion east of Golf Street is used to make up trains departing Bathurst heading east, as well as dropping off trains or blocks of cars that may be destined to go to Brunswick Mines, Belledune, Beresford or Chaleur Sawmills.

My next two shots are directed into the main yard area. From my observations, the switch in the foreground is used mostly as the entrance point into the main yard sidings and also divides the middle track in two. The switch is located just east of Golf Street. The siding in the first photo going off to the left, use to be the shop track back in the CN days. I have no idea if that shop building is still there today. The track also leads to a couple other sidings that seem to be used for storage as well. There use to be a scale on the siding between the switch and NBEC 1851, but that is no longer there apparently. In the second photo you can see two other sidings that are also used for storage.

The next photos are taken near the VIA station and show the main area of the yard. You can see in the background of the first photo, some cars on the back sidings. You can clearly see in the third photo that the main yard is four sidings deep plus the main line. The AOK hoppers are bound for Brunswick mines full of cement to back fill the stopes with a mixture of taillings. The covered gondolas are also bound for the mines and will be filled with extracted ore and sent to the smelter for final processing.

From this point on I'd like to mention that the remainder of my photos are out of chronological order when shot and may appear that I've jumped back and forth from one spot to another.

My next three shots are just east of the VIA station. The first photo shows the retaining wall where I was standing for my next few pictures. The second photo is looking west towards Golf Street. There is a NBEC office in the VIA station and it is beyond the wall where the big white Bathurst sign is. The third photo is a close up of the second. This is just speculation, but it seems that at some point in the past that there may have been a siding beside the retaining wall which was possibly used to off load some local freight.

For these next three shots I'm still on the top area of the retaining wall. In the first photo it shows the main yard extending up to the bridge over College Street where it narrows down to two tracks. You can also see a couple of sidings which only the one on the right is still in use and is used to store locomotives. The second photo shows a close up of the two of three remaining sidings. The third photo shows the now dismantled third siding. I remember this siding being used in the CN days to fill gondolas with scrap metal which was loaded from the platform you see in the foreground.

For this next series, I had walked further down towards the College Street bridge to photograph the switches leading to these sidings. The first photo shows where the bridge is and the switch on top of it. In the second photo, you can see that the frog has been removed and replaced with solid rail, but the points leading to the nearest siding have been left behind. In the third photo you can now see the remnants of the third siding. The frog and points are still in place but the rail has been removed. The last two photos are of the sidings and the yard heading back toward the station.

These next two photos are from one of my previous New Brunswick postings. and the third photo was taken 11 days after this outing. The photos were taken from the St. Anne Street bridge towards the College Street bridge. I'm using them here since they show the west end of Bathurst Yard. This part of the yard has three sidings. The one to the far right is used for storage/staging and the middle track is used for staging for outbound trains heading west. If you look closely in the second shot, you can see a switch at the far end. Shortly after that is the College Street bridge. The third shot is another angle of the sidings before the bridge. Without the view interrupted by freight cars, you can see the beginning of the third siding in the western part of the yard. You can also see part of the St. Anne Street bridge in the background.

That afternoon at around 16:45, NBEC 587 returned from it's trip to the Irvco Spur. with a load of cars. Locomotives 1868 and 1813, both RS18's in case you did not know, were the power for this train. The car you see immediately behind 1813, is one of the ore hopper destined to head to brunswick mines for a load.

After that I went home for supper, but I did end up going to Nipisiguit Junction to catch the the VIA Ocean 15. Unfortunately the light was diming due to the overcast sky and my pictures ended up blurry.

Well that's it for this one. Hopefully you enjoyed this one. I think I have one or two more posts of my New Brunswick holidays, so stay tuned.