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.



Canadian Train Geek said...

Great post! You saw a lot of action around the yard.

Old friend 8217 was around... I saw that in New Brunswick leading the track evaluation train back in June 2006.

jddc.trains said...

Thanks Steve! Nice to see that you recognized 8217 from back then. It's amazing how much a locomotive gets around.

Usually there's quite a bit going on at Alyth during the week, I'm always stuck in the office to any of it. It sure was nice to be out there that day and see some of it. Got to snap off a few more from the "I saw that Loco" list. One of my fellow railfanners has a roster shot of every CP locomotive except for the four 6000HP SD90MAC-H locos, 9300 to 9303, as they are laid up and waiting to be scrapped. I believe he said that they are in Winnipeg. So if you haven't seen them yet you'd best do it quick and get some shots.

Eric said...

Jason, good to see you trackside and posting again. On Trackside Treasure, your most recent post kept aging...6 months, 7 months, 8 months, but I kept the icon on there regardless. I know, I know, sometimes there are more things to life than railfanning and blogging... Great post,