January 15th, 2011
On the afternoon of the 15th, I was heading out to visit some family in Turner Valley. As I was driving down highway 2A, I was scanning the horizon to the east as I usually do when I drive that stretch. The MacLeod Sub parallels the highway down into and past High River to almost Azure, but CP only runs regularly up to the Cargill plant to do some switching. When I got near Aldersyde, something caught my eye immediately and it suddenly occurred to me that I had left my camera at home.
What I saw was 13 flat decks with some heavy equipment on them. There really was no point in stopping as I had nothing to view them with from a distance. So I figured I would grab a few shot on the following day and on my way home that night I made sure that they were still there. I was happy to see the silhouettes barely visible in the moonlight indicating that they had not moved.
January 16th, 2011
A bit after lunch time, I headed out to Aldersyde to see if I could get a few snap shots of the CAT equipment. So I went straight to the grade crossing at Aldersyde took a picture of 5954, an SD40-2, sitting on the storage track idling. The bad thing about it being winter with lots of snow around this area, you can’t just walk out into the field to get a half decent shot. Oh well, just have to wait until summer for the "half decent shot" season.
I then headed back to the highway and take some shots of the CAT equipment from there. Thank heavens for a 300mm zoom lens. I was able to get some decent shot and was also able to read some of the reporting marks and equipment model numbers. I would have to come back another day to try and get the reporting marks that I could not see. There were a total of 13 flat cars with various pieces of equipment.
I also took a few overall shots, but didn’t hang around too long as it was cold with a good wind chill. I was out there for about 3 minutes and my hands and face were frozen.
January 18th, 2011
The evening of the 18th, while on my way home from work, I was driving down Highway 2 and noticed the headlights of a train at Aldersyde. I had to drive all the way down to the Mazeppa turn off to turn around. When I finally got to the grade crossing CP 5954 and CP 9547, an AC4400, were shunting some of the hopper and tankers. As they were doing so, some of the flat decks went by and I quickly wrote down reporting marks, but still was not able to get all of the ones I was missing.
One flat deck with an interesting reporting mark did catch my eye. It was TZPR 300004.
After they pushed the flat decks back into the storage siding, they headed to the Cargill plant with several cars to do some shunting there. I headed home as it was dark and I was hungry.
January 20th, 2011
On the way home from work the evening of the 20th, I stopped by Aldersyde to see what was happening. This time I remembered to bring my scanner with me. It was dark and 5954 and her crew were nowhere in sight. I could hear a bit of crackle on the scanner which meant that they were already down by the Cargill plant. As for the CAT equipment, all I could see were some silhouettes on a siding on the east side of the mainline. It seemed as though they were on a downhill siding that I did not realize was still there. I wondered if that was where the equipment was to be unloaded.
January 22nd, 2011
Late that afternoon, I headed out to see if the flat decks were still around which they were but without their loads. I pulled out my note book and looked at my notes to see which flat decks I was missing numbers for. Two were missing numbers and two were missing a single digit. So I pulled out my camera, zoomed in and with the process of elimination was able to complete the inventory chart listed below.
|TTX||HTTX 93504||336D EXCAVATOR|
|TTX||HTTX 93862||345D EXCAVATOR|
|TTX||HTTX 93156||336D EXCAVATOR & 938H LOADER|
|TTX||HTTX 93035||938H LOADER & 336D EXCAVATOR|
|TAZEWELL & PEORIA||TZPR 300004||336D EXCAVATOR & 336D EXCAVATOR|
|TAZEWELL & PEORIA||TZPR 300030||336D EXCAVATOR & 336D EXCAVATOR|
|TTX||HTTX 97440||627G SCRAPER|
|TTX||HTTX 97461||627G SCRAPER|
|TTX||TTHX 97159||D9T DOZER|
|TTX||TTHX 92698||D9T DOZER|
|TTX||TTHX 97190||D9T DOZER|
|TTX||TTHX 98223||D6T DOZER|
|TTX||TTHX 92584||D9T DOZER|
Here are some pictures of the flat decks I was missing the reporting marks for and another shot of 5954.
All but two of the flat decks were TTX owned. The reporting marks for six of them started with HTTX and the other five started with TTHX. With a little bit of research, I found the differences between the two flat deck types although they generally serve the same purpose.
The HTTX flat decks are “equipped with 38 heavy duty chains, with snubbers and turnbuckles, each secured to movable and retractable tie-down winches in 4 longitudinal channels, for transporting large earth moving equipment” and the TTHX flat decks are “equipped with heavy duty chains anchored to removable stake pocket castings. When tie-downs are removed, car becomes same as 60' car stencilled MTTX".
I quoted these explanations from a website that I recently found called Canadian Freight Cars and it has pretty extensive listings for CNR, CPR, Canadian, Private and Other. I found the definitions for the HTTX and TTHX flat decks in the "Other" category. There is a ton of information to be found on this site.
Another website that I refer to quite frequently to identify freight cars is called Canadian Freight Car Gallery. I like this database because there is a Reporting Marks Index which is very useful if you do not know who owns the freight car. After you find the reporting mark you are looking for, it brings you to another listing of freight cars for that reporting mark. Each listing here brings you to a page with a photo and other relevant info about that particular freight car such as manufacturer, year built and also the photographer, location spotted and date spotted.
The other two lat decks that are identified with the TZPR marks are from the Tazewell and Peoria Railroad which is a shortline that runs about 24 miles of track in Peoria County and Tazewell County in Illinois. It was acquired by Genesee & Wyoming Inc. in 2004. There is some information that can be found on their website and there is also a short blurb on Wikipedia.