Friday, June 3, 2011

2816 Shakedown Trip To Carseland - Part 1

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

May 13th, 2011

Sleep was restless!

May 14th, 2011

I arrived at the Canadian Pacific Railway Pavilion at 09:55 on the corner of 9th Ave and 1st Street SW. When I entered, I was greeted by two CP employees who directed me to walk up the main corridor. I have viewed this building only from the outside on numerous occasions in the past, but this day I would excitedly view the pavilion from the inside.

The interior of the pavilion’s main hall section was more spacious than I had expected. There is also a long portion of the building that is not viewable from the street but can be seen from the parkade where I parked my car. Yes, I parked on the top most level to view it from above, but was in a rush and did not take a picture.

The interior is all exposed structural steel construction with an aluminum curtain wall façade and dome in the main area. All the design specific structural steel and curtain wall mullions are painted black with a few gold accented decorative elements. Most of all other building elements are painted with flat off white which blends nicely in the background as to not detract your eye from the main elements of focus being the structural steel.

The design of the steel work in the pavilion is reminiscent of early train stations and gives you a feeling of being there back in time. This is especially noticeable when looking down the pavilion platform with the early CP coaches and business cars to each side of the central walk giving you a feeling of being on the platform boarding a train to a destination left to the imagination.

Here is the roster of all the coaches and business cars that were in the pavilion.

74Mount StephenBusinessCP12/1926other notes can be found in the Canadian Trackside Guide
85CraigellachieDining CarCC&F/CP08/1931
78Royal WentworthBusinessCP08/1926
77Van HorneBusinessCP05/1927
79N.R. CrumpStateroomCC&F/CP10/1930other notes can be found in the Canadian Trackside Guide
73Mount RoyalBusinessCP10/1927

We boarded the train at 10:55 and after backing up and switching over to the main line, we were heading east.

The unfortunate part of the trip is that I never took one shot of the interiors of the coaches and others cars. My head really was not on straight that day and I really kick myself in the butt for that. Hopefully another opportunity will present itself in the future.

On our way out of the downtown core, I took a few pictures of the shoo-fly over 4th Steet SE. CP has relocated the yard that was here to just off the Manchester lead on the southbound line from the wye at 12th Street Tower. I will post more on this in a future post. Two of the lines have now been re-routed back to their original location which we were on one of them.

I attempted to catch 2816 on the curve coming out of the Depot from the downtown core, crossing the Elbow River and also crossing 8th Street SE. As you can see I have an issue with holding my camera straight when hanging out of the baggage car doors. My timing was also a bit late shooting the photo. We were now heading into Alyth Yard.

There were quite a few things to see once we were in Alyth Yard and viewing from the train gave an interesting perspective that one does not get to see very often if at all.

First up was one of the wye leads coming from the Manchester Lead on the south line heading to the Depot and west to BC. The building to the left in the first photo is called LocalMotive. It is an office building with several tenants and it was one of the design projects done by the firm I work with. The second photo is of the other wye lead coming from the Manchester Lead on the south line heading into and through Alyth eventually heading east. In the second photo, you can just see the 12th Street Tower on the far right. In the distance you can see the Calgary Tower in the left center and the new Bow Tower still under construction in the right center.

Next we came up to a trackside industry called Canada Malting. They produce, well simply put, malt for alcoholic beverages. You can see in the second photo that the facility is fairly large with several silos on one side and several large malt producing buildings on the other side. If anyone reading is a model railroader, this could be a good industry to model on a home layout if you have the room. I again show off my superior camera horizontalness holding abilities in the first photo. I guess the fact that I’m rocking back and forth in the baggage/observation car doesn’t help either.

The next industry we rolled past was ADM Milling which is not as large a facility as Canada Malting but still large enough. ADM produces wide variety of products from baking goods to confectionery ingredients to nutritional ingredients for snack foods. Again this could be a good industry to model on a home model railroad layout.

After the ADM facility rolled by I moved over to the other side of the baggage/observation car to see how the view was looking into Alyth Yard. Thankfully it was pretty open near the Pulldown Tower after we cleared a mixed freight train. It was interesting to see the innards of the yard or at least in part.

In the first photo below, you can see the mixed freight train that we cleared and what appears to be some kind of runaway train prevention system in yellow on the rails which I noticed on several tracks. The second photo shows the Pulldown Tower, the end of P yard, the end V yard and the end of the classification yard in the distance. Further back is N yard but it is not visible from this far back. In the last two photos you can see three SD40-2’s which consist of a former SOO locomotive 6609 to the left, 5731 and 5795 and to the right of them, CEFX 1039 which is an AC4400. You can barely make out the tracks of the Class Yard in the third photo beyond the old baggage car. I was not able to get any reporting marks for it. Between the baggage car and the white CP truck is V Yard and P Yard in the foreground which we were coming out of on P1 track I believe.

Something to note that is not seen in the above photos, there is a small yard with four or five tracks behind the Pulldown Tower which is mainly used to interchange with CN. The intermodal train that was behind the tanker train, on the far track in front of the Pulldown Tower, was coming in off of the wye from the north on the Red Deer Sub and running through Alyth and heading east. Those particular tracks are often used for this purpose.

If I remember correctly, the tank car train in front of the intermodal train had just pulled out of the Class Yard with two SD40-2’s pulling, 6002 and newly painted 6610 which is a former SOO unit. I think both trains were waiting for us to pull out of the yard.

In the first photo below, the bridge that is barely visible in the background from between the containers is on the interchange line connecting CN’s Sarcee Yard to CP’s Alyth Yard. CP also uses the line to service clients up in the Foothills Industrial area. The two lead units on the intermodal train were two SD90MACs numbered 9145 and 9104 at the front.

At that point we were just around the bend from Ogden Shops Yard, but you will have to read about it in part two!

Goggle Earth kmz file.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

New Book To Buy: Trackside With VIA

There is a new VIA Rail book available for purchase to one and all! The book is titled Trackside With VIA: The First 35 Years and it is self-published by Eric Gagnon. If you wish to purchase a copy of the book, the price of this White & Yellow gem is $25 CDN and ships free within Canada. Just print a copy of this Order Form, fill it out and drop it in the mail.

Mine is happily on its way to me! Get yours Today!

Eric is also the author an outstanding blog called Trackside Treasure where you can find a plethora of information and pictures from last few decades up to today.


Friday, May 13, 2011

2816 Shakedown Ride

Unfortunately, it appears that I will not be chasing 2816 on her shakedown run to Carseland and back to Calgary. I will however be going along for the ride! A friend of mine asked if I wanted to join him as he is allowed to bring along a guest...

...I did not refuse.

In the words of Balki Bartokomous:
"Now we are so happy, we do the Dance of Joy! HEY! Dia, dia, dia, dia, da-dia, da-da-da-dia! Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!"


Friday, May 6, 2011

2816 Shakedown Run

Two little birdies told me that CPR's 2816 steam train will be coming out for a shakedown run on May the 14th. She will leave the CPR Pavilion in downtown Calgary at about 11:00 and will most likely make her way to Carseland and back to Calgary after turning around on the wye. I'm not 100% on the trip destination but it is the most logical.

That is the word so far!


Friday, March 4, 2011

C46, The Only Train On The Brooks Sub

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

June 25th, 2010

Back in June, the model railroad group I’m with was thinking of making an appearance at an event in Carseland. I figured I would head out there early to do a bit of railfaning there. Unfortunately we were not able to attend the event due to various reasons. Unfortunately I had not read my emails for a bit as I was busy with other things so I unfortunately did not get the memo saying that we were not attending. I was out there…alone…quite literally as matter of fact.

After I found out via a reply to my questioning email to another group member on my Blackberry, I figured I might as well continue railfaning while I was there. Unfortunately I did not have my scanner so I could not get advanced notice of arriving trains. So I sat there in the heat waiting and waiting for the trains that would not come.

I also unfortunately failed to remember that there was no traffic on the Brooks Sub due to washouts and floods near Medicine Hat. So unfortunately there would be no through traffic on the Brooks Sub. At that point I decided to leave.

Unfortunateness is unfortunately unfortunate. Holy Shitballs Batman, say that three times fast!

Instead of following Highway 24 North, I continued West onto Township Road 221. A bit of fortune was with me this time. I could see the local switcher, train C46 which runs out of Alyth, on the West Carseland Spur switching cars for the Orica and Agrium plants which I posted about these two industries previously. The locomotive used this time to do the switching was 8886, an ES44AC.

After a few minutes of switching it headed into the Agrium plant. It was coupled to five covered hoppers with a bulkhead flat car on the tail end.

The first three covered hoppers marked JTSX are apparently owned by David J. Joseph Company (DJJ). They are in the metal, alloys and scrap metal recycling brokering business. Among their various services, they happen to own and manage a private fleet of open gondola railcars and operate a rail equipment leasing group with bulkhead flat cars, covered hoppers, aggregate hoppers, flat bottom gondolas and mill gondolas. Almost forgot to mention that they do railcar scraping and railcar parts reclamation as well.

DJJJTSX 55373Covered Hopper
DJJJTSX 46152Covered Hopper
DJJJTSX 130753Covered Hopper
ACF LeasingACFX 59197Covered Hopper
PLM InternationalPLMX 129090Covered Hopper
CNCN 22341Bulkhead Flat

After they pulled into Agrium they sat there for about 15 minutes, so I decided to resume my travels into Calgary to Alyth to see the new yard that CP built. That is another story.

Goggle Earth kmz file.


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.