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.



Eric said...

Hi Jason,

Enjoyed your post and the yard photos. Many of these cars can be seen here heading east/west on CN's Kingston Sub, including the covered gons and peat moss hi-cubes, but not the ore cars or woodchip gons.

Bathurst's station looks to be quite large for the few trains it sees...

We were down that way on a summer vacation a few years ago, and until I get back to do a Railfan trip, it's great to see the NBEC Alco activity online.

Also looking forward to that Calgary industrial trip when you get around to it. A much-overlooked aspect of's not all mainline, those cars have to originate and terminate somewhere!


jddc.trains said...

Hi Eric,

Thanks for commenting. I'm happy that you enjoyed this one. I do try to make my posts somewhat interesting when they are long.

As for the length of the yard, the farthest mile post east that I could decipher in some of my other photos was 109.3 and the farthest west was 110.7, so that makes it about a mile and a half give or take. I think the yard probably starts just before 109.3 as I have found a sign in another photo that showed 109.4 and 300 directly bellow that. I'm assuming that it means 300 feet into the yard. Bathurst is identified as being at 110.2.

If you plan on seeing those Alco's, you'd better do it soon. From what I've gathered from Steve Boyko's site, they will probably only be there until CN can find some suitable replacements since the GP40's they wanted to use were not equipped with dynamic brakes.

I'm quite excited about my Mayland Heights Spur expedition. I'm hoping that the weather this weekend will be cooperative. That's the thing here, you never know what the weather will do. One day they say +10, the next they say -10. It's very unpredictable living near the Rockies.


Steve Boyko said...

Hi Jason, been meaning to comment on this for some time now.

The shop building is no longer there.

Regarding the second group of three photos (just east of the VIA station), if there was a third track on the other side of the platform from the main line, it predates the October 1983 car control diagram for Bathurst.

In the June 1980 CN employee timetable, the yard limits for Bathurst are shown from 104.4 to 111.7 but that is no longer the case. I believe the 111.7 could be still in force on the west end. The eastward yard limit is around mile 108, which is near the West Drive crossing off Riverside Drive. The NBEC crews have to get a clearance for the mile and a half between there and the switch to the Nepisiguit Subdivision.