Friday, February 18, 2011

Haircut and Trains

If you wish to follow along in Google Earth, here is the kmz file for download.

February 5th, 2011

I usually try to book my bi-annual haircut on a Friday after work as it is only ten minutes from the office, but this time I had to settle for Saturday. This meant having to make an unplanned trip into Calgary, but I would also do some unplanned railfaning. I was already close to being late so that meant no time to stop and take of any train I came across on the way.

As luck would have it, I did see three trains on the way and did manage to take notes of what I saw on the way in. First, there was a mixed freight train leaving Aldersyde heading south. Once in Calgary, there was a grain train waiting on the tracks at Zoo waiting to get into Alyth and further up at Beddington there was a mixed freight train leaving Calgary. The Zoo and Beddington stations are on the Red Deer Subdivision at Mile 1.3 and Mile 8.3 respectively.

I did manage to arrive on time with 5 minutes to spare. After the ritual chopping was done, I decided at the “spur” of the moment to head to Country Hills Boulevard. I don’t know why I decided this because I was not familiar with the area at all; I only knew that it crossed over the tracks at some point. As I drove over and past the tracks, I looked south to see if there were any trains around and there was. I drove on and turned around a couple intersections further down.

The gamble had paid off!

On my way back, there was a mixed freight and intermodal train pulling up northbound at a slow pace on the north side of Country Hills. On the south there was a cut of tank cars. Just when it seemed like I missed the train, it stopped and went into reverse very slowly. I spied a street on the west side of the tracks that looked like there would be a good vantage point to setup my mobile observational headquarters and headed in the direction trying not to violate any forward momentum crippling obstacles, at least not by much.

I ended up on Covington Road which runs parallel to the tracks for a bit and is also fairly elevated. There is also sufficient place to park the car on the side of the road and also plenty of space for one to setup a train observation post. I chose my spot, turned on the scanner, and snapped a few shots of the train backing up under the overpass at about 12:20 and then waited. Locos on this train were 9528 and 8536 both AC4400’s.

In a previous post I mentioned that the trucks could be used as an identifier between the AC4400 and the ES44AC locomotives. I don’t know exactly why I said this, maybe because the photos that I referenced in my library showed it to be so. As you can see in the image below, these two AC4400’s use the two different truck types.

Finally at about 12:45 the voices on the scanner indicated that they were ready to head out. They received their instructions to advance to Harmatton at Mile 48.5 on the Red Deer Sub, wait for another train and restore switch positions when arriving and leaving. I was able to count 120 cars on this train plus 2 locomotives. It is unfortunate that weather conditions were not so good, there was blowing snow and it made the photos a tad blurry and hazy. In the last photo you can barely see the locomotives passing under Stoney Trail which is part of the new ring road.

After that I scouted out a few of the other side roads then figured I should head down to Alyth and see what was happening there.

When I pulled in to my usual look out spot at about 14:20, there was a grain train pulling in but in reverse. They backed in to track P3 and the crew disembarked. This could have been the train I saw earlier in the day, come in off the wye from the Red Deer Sub, back in and be ready to head out either west or south. The Locomotives on this train were CP 8855 and CEFX 1035, an ES44AC and an AC4400.

Here are a few shots of some of the more interesting hoppers on this train, in no particular order.

A few minutes after the crew drove away a trio pulled up on P2 and slowed down beside 8855. The three were CP 8709, CEFX 1023 and SOO 6057, an ES44AC, AC4400 and a SD60. They pulled up and headed around the wye to come back in on one of the far tracks and headed out of sight behind the grain train lead by 8855.

Sitting on the far siding were a few locomotives. The first three coupled together were 3035, 1125 and 8205, a GP38-2, GP35 and a GP9 respectively. 8205 is a former StL&H locomotive.

Here is a bit of interesting information about 3035 and 1125, they are is referred to as mother and daughter mated. 1125 is a control cab slug with its engine removed and replaced with ballast. Power for its traction motors come from 3035. The cab is also fully functional for control purposes.

Also back there coupled together were 1641, 1154, and 401034, a GP9, SW1200RS and a snowplow. 1154 is a control cab similar to 1125 but it is not permanently mated to another locomotive. This trio has been hanging around for at least two weeks now.

Behind them were 3069, GP38-2, and another locomotive which I could not get the number of but it was a GP9. You can see the top of its cab behind 1154 in the picture above.

A few minutes went by and the snow started blowing in and then at 15:05 a pair of CP locomotives types that I have not seen run in a while came out from somewhere near the diesel shops. They were a couple SD90MAC’s.

They disappeared just as quickly as they appeared.

As they were retreating, the hump was pulling out with 6611 and 6614 both form SOO SD40-2’s.

I took a couple shots of some hoppers and of a really weathered tank car in the hump.

After that I headed straight for home as the weather was turning bad with cold and blowing snow.

Here is a listing of the trains I saw that day.

10:45mixed freightN/Asouthboundleaving Aldersyde
11:10grainN/AsouthboundZoo into Alyth
11:20mixed freightN/AnorthboundBeddington
12:50mixed freight/intermodal120 carsnorthboundBeddington
15:00humpN/Apull outAlyth

Goggle Earth kmz file.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Snowplow and Spreader Info update

February 15th, 2011

After a comment left on my Snowplow, Spreader, SOO post by Steve Boyko from the blog Confessions of a Train Geek, I figured I should take a peek in my 2007 Trackside Guide and see what info there is in there about these two pieces of equipment. This is something I should have done in the first place. Oh well, better late than never I guess!

According to the guide, CP snowplow 401034 is a single track plow with wings and was built in November 1950 at CP Angus Shops in Montreal. Apparently all CP snowplows were built there. It was assigned to duty in Revelstoke.

The CP spreader 402853 was built in February 1928 by O.F. Jordan Company with Serial Number 698. It was built as a standard air-operated spreader type B for Ballast Spreader. The guide also says that it is assigned to Alyth(stored). It was numbered 406253 until 1930.

the CP snowplow 401022 that was to be sold for scrap/surplus on CP's website, it was built in October 1930 as a single track plow with wings. It was assigned to duty in Red Deer.Here is a link to the auction page. I can not guarantee how much longer it will be active.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Snowplow, Spreader, SOO

January 28th, 2011

That Friday after work on my way to my watering hole, I spotted something of interest in the yard at Alyth so I decided to stop to check it out. It was a CP snowplow and spreader.

The light was not good, so the pictures are a bit blurred and I tried to compensate as much as possible without increasing my ISO too high to prevent any graininess.

When I arrived at my observational headquarters, the hump was just pushing past my objective. On the hump were 6611 and 6614, both were SD40-2’s and both former SOO locomotives having retained their numbers when repainted with CP colours.

On the far siding were a few items of interest, some more than others.

For beginners, idling on the siding were SOO 6617 and CP 6609 which is a former SOO loco. Both are SD40-2’s and both were coupled together.

Next in line was bulkhead flat car number CP 421202 that was coupled to the nose of 1641 which is a GP9. Coupled on the back of 1641 was a GMD SW1200RS numbered 1154.

After that were the most interesting items there that evening, a snowplow and a spreader. The snowplow is numbered CP 401034. After seeing an identical snowplow, CP 401022, on CP’s website that was dated 1930 and being sold as scrap, I’m assuming that this one is also 1930’ish. The spreader was number 402853 and the interesting part about it was that there was no cab on it.

After that the light was quite insufficient for anymore pictures, so I headed towards my favourite watering hole for some prime rib, a cold beer, some pool and random chit chat with friends.