Sunday, November 30, 2008

CP 2816, Lethbridge To Calgary - The Chase Part 2

This is Part 2 of 3 of my chase of 2816 from Lethbridge to Calgary. If you wish to follow my adventure along in Google Earth to see my stops and travels, here is the part 2 kmz file for download.

October 09, 2008

Shortly after the crew had finished with their maintenance in Champion at around 11:48, 2816 started chugging steam and was on her way once again headed for Calgary. So of course I couldn’t resist the urge to get back in my car and happily continue the chase.

About 8 km out of Champion, I saw a few people standing on top of a hill on the East side of the tracks. I figured this would be a good spot to get a higher vantage point but not so high as to be on it’s way to being an overhead shot. I was able to catch a few shots of Cedar Rapids after they went by. I also wanted to know if it was worth coming back to this spot for possible future railfanning trips.

When I got back on the highway, I saw the dark smoke and figured she must have had a speed restriction going through Kirkcaldy, which gave time to catch up quickly. I snapped some shots of 2816 will I was driving down Highway 23. I wasn’t actually looking through the camera. I leaned it on my arm and aim blindly then snapped a few consecutive shots. Some turned out not too bad, but a few are not so great. Some were of only half the train one way or the other as I would aim to far ahead or to far back.

Not long after having passed Kirkcaldy she was starting to speed up again. I then stopped on the side of the highway where the tracks were coming back to parallel the highway and caught a couple shots. She went by at about 12:09. This was just before arriving in Vulcan.

I quickly jumped back in my car and booted it to Vulcan snapping a few more free aimed shots from the car. These would be the last ones until I would arrive in Blackie as I didn’t make into position in time at Vulcan. So I turned my car around, got back on Highway 23 and headed for Blackie.

I could barely see 2816 going cross country when I was on Highway 23 which turns east about 18 kilometers north of Vulcan. If you continue north it turns into Highway 24. I arrived in Blackie about 10 minutes before 2816 did and was greeted by a freight train waiting on the west side of the crossing for 2816 to arrive and take a siding in the yard at Blackie. The power was CP 9570, 9700 and 5946, two AC4400CW and a SD40-2.

Once 2816 arrived at 13:02, they started on their way through and 2816 soon followed.

Only one more stop before heading for Calgary and that was the steel truss bridge in Okotoks.

A I was leaving Blackie another railfan, by the name of George, asked if he could follow me into Okotoks as he wanted to photograph 2816 crossing the bridge as well. I had met him back in Champion, and at one of my stops along Highway 23 before Kirkcaldy. We also bumped into each other in Vulcan. He was a very nice guy and works for a Historic State Park as a Railroad Restoration Worker for Railtown 1897 in Jamestown, California. I’ll have go there someday.

We arrived in Okotoks about 15 to 20 minutes before 2816 did. I had never walked to the bridge before so we parked our vehicles in a car wash parking lot on the corner of North Railway Street and 370 Ave. We walked along the tracks for 5 minutes and were there. I took my shot from near the north end of the bridge and he went on the sand spit in the Sheep River. I think that I should have gone with him as I probably would have had a better shot. I’ll have to remember that next time when they supposedly take her back out in 2010, but I will blog about this another time. After they went by I ran up the bank to catch a rear view of Cedar Rapids.

As we were leaving town, I noticed from between the buildings that they had stopped in town along Daggatt Street. I stopped for a quick snap, George continued on, and then I headed to Calgary.

This is the end of part 2. I hope you are enjoying the adventure so far. I will be pretty busy next weekend, but I will do my best to have the conclusion of this adventure posted.

Goggle Earth kmz file.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

CP 2816, Lethbridge To Calgary - The Chase Part 1

This is Part 1 of 3 of my chase of 2816 from Lethbridge to Calgary. If you wish to follow my adventure along in Google Earth to see my stops and travels, here is the kmz file for download.

October 09, 2008

I woke up at about 05:30 that morning, washed up, got my gear ready, and was out the door and at Tim Horton's getting a coffee by 06:00. I wanted to catch 2816 coming across the high level bridge and wondered what kind of a shot I could get from down below. After driving around down in the coulees for a half hour and almost running over a couple of deer, I dismissed the idea as I could not get a good enough view and angle, so I decided on a shot from the west side of the coulees would be good.

I went and filled my car up, took a look at my map book and headed west on Whoop-Up Drive, north on University Drive. I ended up in a community where all the streets ended in “wood”. I finally found an access between a couple houses leading to the coulees. After walking around a bit, the view was great but I was way too far away from the bridge. There happen to be a couple people walking and I asked if there was easy access to the next ridge over. There was. I then ended up in the next community over where all the streets began with “Heritage”.

I found the access path to the coulees and at about 07:45 I setup my camera on a ridge a bit southeast of the path. At this point it was cool out and I quickly realized that my batteries did not like the cold to much. It also didn’t help that I forgot to charge them up the night before. I had one battery at 0% and the other at 38% when warm. In the cold it would drop to about 21-18%. Not a good scenario. So I kept the good one in my pocket to keep it warm.

At about 08:10, 2816 had not come by yet and I was getting cold. So I packed up and headed towards Lethbridge Yard to see what was going on. I got to about a kilometer away from Coalhurst and I saw 2816’s steam in the distance. I turned into Coalhurst at about 08:30 to catch a couple snap shots of her backing into Lethbridge.

I jumped into my car and headed back to Lethbridge to get into position for when she came across the high level bridge back towards Calgary, but not without stopping quickly at a nearby Tim Horton’s in the community where all the streets began with “Heritage”. When I arrived back at the location of the ridge, I saw that in my absence about 20 others had all picked positions to take photographs including the exact spot where I had initially setup. So I picked a spot that looked pretty out of the way from the others and others out of my way. At about 09:12, steam was puffing out the sides and 2816 started to move.

I then ran back to my car and headed to Lethbridge Yard to get an overhead shot. I got there about 10 minutes before 2816 arrived at 09:56. It’s unfortunate that in one of my shots I managed to catch one of the railing supports in the bottom right corner. I did manage to catch the Cedar Rapids car as they were pulling into the yard on the thru track.

I proceeded to drive down the highway a bit and catch a few more shots of 2816 leaving the Montana Subdivision at Lethbridge Yard heading north on the Aldersyde Subdivision. I just wished I would have stopped a bit sooner, but it was a last minute decision.

Since 2816 was now going cross country for a bit, I booted it to my next location of interest. My next stop was at Nobleford off of Highway 23 about 2 kilometers east on Highway 519. Just before arriving at Nobleford, there was a dirt road heading south, I turned down it and came to an old approach at one time crossing the tracks. At 10:20 I took a couple pictures here just before she went under the overpass. Now that I think of it, next time I should try from the north side of the overpass for when she come out from under it.

Next stop Barons.

On my way to Barons, I noticed on the map that the tracks were about to parallel Highway 23 and came up to an approach that was inline with the second curve in the ‘S’ curve. Wasn’t the only that had the same idea. Three other vehicles stopped as well. I knew I had about 5 minutes before 2816 came along and if I stopped here I would have to boot it fast to Barons to catch another picture there, so I positioned my car for a quick getaway. I didn’t really have to do this in the end as it appeared they had slowed down until they would clear the curve and Barons.

After snapping my shots, I headed for Barons.

As I was arriving at Barons I took the first exit and was glad that I did, because there were a few people at the second one. There was also a dirt road paralleling the tracks which I did not want in the picture. I drove in carefully as not to kick up too much dust. As 2816 came through at 10:40, she was moving along pretty slow and I thought that they might stop in Barons, but kept on going. I did manage to get that dirt road in the picture of the Cedar Rapids going away.

Carmangay was the next stop to grab a few pictures and on the way in, I was following the CP Police truck through town and notice a steel bridge. I thought to myself, out loud, I need that bridge in my picture. From where I was I couldn’t see an easy access to the other side. A quick look at the map showed a possibility on the other side of the creek. Once I arrived on the other side, I came up to a field entrance and didn’t want to go driving through it with my car, although it had been swathed already, and it was still pretty far to walk. A guy in a truck came up from behind and drove right in, and I assume he probably got a good shot. I think I would have had better luck accessing the bridge from the highway. I ended up driving on to a crossing. After she had crossed I ran up and tried to get a direct rear shot of Cedar Rapids but they were moving pretty fast by this time and it was already pretty far in the distance.

Arriving at Champion, I again got off at the first exit and took a couple shots here. There was another person here talking with the CP Police guy.

Slow was the pace as they passed me and pulled into Champion at 11:30 for a pit stop. I was already in my car and on the highway when I notice them stopped and turned down the next road to go see what they were doing. After I walked up they were already giving 2816 a grease and lube job.

This is the end of part 1. I hope to have part 2 posted next weekend. Lets see if I can do it on time.

Google Earth kmz file.