When I was younger, I used to drink 7 UP a lot. That lemon-lime flavoured drink was a favourite pop of mine. These days, when I drink pop (and I do, too much) I drink Diet Pepsi or Pepsi MAX. I find 7 UP too sweet now, plus I like caffeine.
Anyway, I found two Union Pacific locomotives on an oil train, so I called this post 2 UP in homage to 7 UP. Enough over-explaining…
I went out in the late afternoon of November 10, 2019 hoping to catch a train or two before going to the grocery store. I can be trackside in about 10-15 minutes from home, depending on which railway’s tracks I want to be beside. CP is closer but has less traffic than CN.
I drove over the CP tracks, seeing no trains, and carried on to the CN Sprague subdivision. There I saw the tail end locomotive on an eastbound intermodal train heading across the Floodway.
The Chase is On
I gave chase. The Trans-Canada Highway parallels the CN Sprague subdivision for quite a while, so I was confident that I would catch up to the head end. The train was motoring along at maybe 40 MPH but the speed limit on the TCH is 100 km/hr, so I was mostly caught up as they approached the Lorette siding.
I saw that they were facing red signals at the east end of the Lorette siding, so they were going to stop on the main track. I interpreted that to mean they were meeting a train. Sure enough, as I approached the east end of the siding, I saw headlights to the east.
I pulled off the highway and got ready to record the meet.
UP UP and Away
I immediately noticed that:
- it was an oil train; and
- there were two Union Pacific locomotives on the head end.
The unfortunate part was that I was on the wrong side of the sun, as I didn’t have enough time to get to the crossing to get on the “sun side”. This was 4:35 PM and the sun was nearly down. Oh well, time to make the best of it as always.
The lead unit was UP 8065, which has “C45ACCTE” as the unit type stenciled on it. Everybody else calls it an ES44AC, but UP has to be different I guess.
- C = six axles
- 45 = apparently numbered 45 to differentiate it from 44 for the GE AC4400CWs they already have, even though these also have 4400 horsepower
- AC = Alternating Current traction motors
- CTE = Controlled Tractive Effort software
Since the setting sun was behind the locomotives, I decided to make the best of it. I think it turned out OK, although it took some serious editing.
The second unit was UP 5230, an SD70M – which is stenciled on the side of the unit. Railroads and their inconsistencies. SMH, as my kids would say.
The oil train followed, with a Wisconsin Central buffer car behind the locomotives and another on the tail end.
I was a little far from the actual meet, but I did have a clear view of it.
Both trains were rolling. I imagine CN 3025 East was trying to keep momentum going and not stop, as they just kept on crawling along as the oil train snaked into the siding to go around them.
I amused myself by photographing tank cars against the sunset.
Eventually CN 3025 came rolling up on the main track, while the tank cars kept on crawling by.
Sadly CN 3025 did have to come to a stop, as they didn’t get their green signal for a couple of minutes. I guess it takes time for the power switch to line up for the main… it was close, though, less than a minute transpired between when the buffer car passed and when the signal went green.
With that, I got back in my car and headed back toward Winnipeg. I was pretty sure I could get another shot at that oil train.
On my way by, I noted the number of the rear DPU locomotive on the container train. I often forget those numbers before I get a chance to write them down, and since I was driving I couldn’t take notes. It was CN 3817, so I remembered that it was a 38xx unit and that the total of the two pairs of numbers was Winnipeg Jet forward Mark Scheifele’s jersey number, 55. That worked!
Second Time Around
I switched to a long lens to capture a more head-on view. The challenge with low light head on views is you get lens flare. I did my best to edit it out of the image above, but if you look closely you will see some. I see I missed one…
As the train approached, I switched to my iPhone to capture a wide angle view.
I think I like the “going away” version better. What do you think?
That was the end of the chase for me, as it was over time to go get some groceries. I waited for the train to pass, then headed for the store.
Just One More Thing
Here’s a few more posts featuring Union Pacific locomotives and other foreign power: