Sunday, January 25, 2009

Super Saturday Surprise

If you wish to follow along in Google Earth to see my stops and travels, here is the kmz file for download.

May 3rd, 2008

I had wanted to get up bright and early to try and maybe catch a couple of trains in the early morning sun. Unfortunately, I only woke up at around 7:30. By the time I got my coffee and bagel at Tim Horton’s in Okotoks, it was 8:30. I still had not made up my mind as to where I wanted to go at this point. I was about to turn south to head towards Vulcan and suddenly changed my mind and head towards Shepard. CPR has an intermodal yard in Shepard, so I figured I would try to catch some eastbound trains.

I drove north on Highway 2, east on 22x and then north on Shepard Road. As I arrived in Shepard at about 9:20, an Eastbound was already on it’s way out. I decided not to chase this one down and head for the intermodal yard. I turned west on 114th Ave, parked my car at the corner of 68th and 112th Ave and walked the rest of the way up the dirt lane. I took a couple of minutes to take a picture of some ducks in a pond. Notice some of the Canadian Tire containers in the background. There was probably close to two hundred of them there at the depot.

I took a few pictures looking down into the yard and also looking towards Shepard. There were 5 trains waiting to be unloaded and an auto carrier train in the distance.

As I was taking my pictures, when one of the yard workers drove by on a quad and stopped. At that point I thought I was in trouble, cause I was a little further up on the access road to get a good view for my photographs. We exchanged greetings and then to my absolute surprise he asked me if I was looking for the “steam train”. I was unaware that 2816 was going to be out and about that day. He told me that 2816 was going to leave Alyth yard at approximately 13:00.

This was absolutely great news!

Since I had a few hours to spare, I decided to go roaming around the Shepard Industrial Park area for a bit. The track coming from Ogden Shops follows the irrigation canal and into Shepard Yard. I ended up at a grade crossing on Shepard Road just off of Barlow Trail. I took some pictures of the double tracks heading to Shepard Yard and also heading towards Ogden Shops and Alyth Yard. I was also snapping some pictures of a switch on a spur leading past a chain link fence gate to an unknown industry. I was trying to be creative with the shots of the switch, you know, practicing a bit.

Has I was snapping my pictures, I heard the distinct sound of a train horn. I managed to catch a container train lead by 8893 followed by 9122 heading East at 10:25 with 8758 on the push. The pictures are a bit blurry.

CN was also at work on the other side of the irrigation canal. Unfortunately I was not able to get the engine numbers.

I made my way to a spot along Alyth Yard just off of Blackfoot Trail. A freight train led by 8534 and 9525, rolled by at 10:50 heading southbound towards Lethbridge. A couple GP9’s came by at 11:20 heading downtown. At 11:35, a container train left heading west probably towards Vancouver. This was lead by 9615 and 9546. I didn’t get any pictures of these trains unfortunately as I was looking in my map books trying to figure out the best location to catch the steam train.

At around 12:00, I figured that I should start heading out and get into position. On my way out of town, I made a quick stop at Ogden Shop for a few minutes to see if there was anything interesting around the yard. I managed to see some rather old coaches on a siding, and I also caught a glimpse of a couple of F units in the yard. Both locomotives were in the tuscan & grey paint theme. The first was CP 1400 a FP7A and the second CP 1900 a F9B.

I knew there was an overpass on 22x over the tracks, and I knew that this was where I wanted to be. I arrived there at about quarter to one and shortly after my arrival as I started to pick the perfect spot on the hillside, a stack container train came rolling by. The power was 9117 in the front and 9107 close behind. Both locomotives are SD90MAC’s, and pretty grimy looking as well.

Then I waited, and waited, and I was getting hot, and also started getting thirsty.

Finally at 14:22, I could hear the whistle of 2816 in the distance near Shepard. Behind her tender was another FP7A locomotive CP 1401.

Here is the photograph I took of 2816 that day on RailPicture.Net.

The consist was:
  1. CP 2816 "Empress" 4-6-4 Hudson
  2. First Tender, 12,000 gals Water, 4,600 gals Diesel
  3. Second Tender 23,000 gals Water
  4. CP 1401 FP9A Diesel Locomotive
  5. CP 29114 , A box car used as a tool car (CP cars all solid maroon color)
  6. CP 96 Power Car
  7. 2 CP Coach car of which I missed the identification marks
  8. CP NSR9107 Baggage Express
  9. 2 CP Coach car of which I missed the identification marks
  10. 1 Business car of which I missed the identification marks

After they had gone by, I headed back to Alyth Yard to see if there was any action going on. There wasn’t very much happening except for an empty potash train coming in. The empties were led by locomotives CP 8886 and CP 8782 both being ES44AC’s. These trains are usually pretty long. If I can remember, next time I’ll have to take a car count.

One of CP’s tampers was on the same siding as the Sperry unit that usually hangs around there. There was also a ballast regulator behind the tamper but I didn't get its number. The number on the tamper was TP2760.

Three GP38-2’s numbered CP 3033, CP 3023 and CP 3034 had returned from turning around on the wye and were in the process of switching onto the idling track.

Other than that, there was a slew of idle units hanging around. The closest to me were CP 9679 and CP 8503, both of which are AC4400CW’s which they later turned them around on the wye and moved them toward the diesel shop at Alyth.

Three SD40-2’s numbered as CP 5910, CP 5981 and CP 5965 were sitting on the usual idling track, as were three GP38-2’s numbered CP 3062, CP 3093 and CP 3046.

Shortly after the hump came out I left cause it was pretty long and slow. The power was CP 5495 an SD40m-2 and CP 6603 an SD40-2.

Although I never did catch as many container trains as I had initially wanted to, the day was a great success. I finally found my way to my oasis for a cold brown brew.

Goggle Earth kmz file.


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