One of the advantages of living in Winnipeg is that there are a lot of trains around. If you miss a train on the CN or CP main line, chances are that another one will be along in an hour or so.
My plan early in the morning of March 13 was to head up the west side of Winnipeg, then head west on either the CN or CP main line and see what I could see.
As I drove north toward the east-west CN Rivers subdivision, I saw a headlight way off to the west. I decided to meet the train at the Perimeter Highway overpass.
CN 2892 at Mile 10
The sun wasn’t over the horizon yet (at 06:30) so I used a low shutter speed and a higher ISO for my camera settings.
I tried a pan shot but it didn’t really work out… I still like the colour in the shot.
I decided to head west, hoping for a following train.
CN 5634 at Mile 15
I found CN 5634 East sitting short of Wascana Road by mile 15. I looked at the signals facing them and I saw they had a green CLEAR signal, so I knew it wouldn’t be long before they started rolling.
I photographed them as they started rolling, then relocated a mile east to Diamond to set up for the second round of photos.
I liked the “going away” shot – into the sunrise.
I decided to get them one more time. I had a shot in mind.
There’s a series of trees along the road paralleling the track, and I always wanted to try a shot here.
I took several frames to try to get the number and logo visible between trees. I kinda like it.
After that train passed, I decided to head up to CP’s main line.
CP 8925 at Mile 9
I saw a train stopped around mile 8, with CP 8925 and company heading to serve the Paterson grain elevator. I photographed them head over with a few cars in tow, then waited around until they returned “light engine” to their train.
Another “into the sunrise” photo…
While they were coupling back onto their train, I relocated a few miles west and set up to take video and fly my drone.
The train had a trio of locomotives – CP 8925, CP 3061 and CP 2299. I imagine they were going to drop CP 2299 at Portage la Prairie as the local switcher, with the refrigerator cars behind the power.
Here’s the video.
I landed my drone and gave chase, hoping for a meet at Meadows or Marquette. Sadly that wasn’t to be, so I headed south from Marquette to Elie.
There was nothing going on at Elie, so I headed west. I got all the way to Oakville with no trains in sight, but as I continued west toward Nattress I saw an eastbound train heading my way.
I decided to photograph them east of the Oakville grain elevator.
CN 2653 at Mile 40
I tried to do too much – video camera, still camera, drone – and I just about pulled it off, except that I didn’t get the drone recording in time.
I did get some video from the drone, and I combined it with the ground video camera.
I headed back toward Winnipeg, hoping to see a westbound train. I didn’t see one until I was close to Winnipeg.
CN 3895 at Mile 16
I spotted this westbound intermodal train heading out of the city. I set up near mile 16 to record them in the nice morning light.
CN 3895 is one of the locomotives with a white roof. I hear CN is doing that to many locomotives now, even old units that are repainted.
My friends were saying that the “EJ&E” CN heritage locomotive was on a westbound train into Winnipeg. This locomotive (CN 3023) is bright orange and I have yet to see it. I drove around a good portion of the city to Transcona to try to catch it coming into the city.
There was a train approaching from the east when I arrived at Ravenhurst Street in Transcona. This north-south street is the first crossing east of CN’s Transcona yard and is a fairly major street, especially with the new housing development in the area.
I quickly set up to record the train, hoping it had the EJ&E locomotive on it.
CN 8958 in Transcona
The train slowly pulled across Ravenhurst and entered the yard. The lead units were “not the locomotives you’re looking for” but I had some hope that the EJ&E unit was in the middle or on the end of the train. I had a bit of waiting to do.
It turns out that I had a lot of waiting to do.
The train stopped shortly after the locomotives crossed Ravenhurst, then started up again, slowly. After a while, it stopped again. And again.
I think they had to keep stopping so the conductor could dismount and line some switches. This train was really long and I think they were yarding it.
While I was waiting at the crossing, the line of cars along Ravenhurst kept getting longer and longer. A few people got out of their cars to have a smoke or just stretch their legs, and a few came over to chat with me – mostly curious about what I was doing.
It was a lovely morning to be standing outside, so I didn’t mind too much.
All in all, the crossing was blocked for 26 minutes as the train slowly made its way into the yard.
Eventually, the tail end came into view and…
Here’s the video – only showing the interesting parts!
There was an eastbound train waiting to depart the yard, too. I was really hoping that they wouldn’t start heading out immediately – that would’ve been cruel to the drivers waiting to go.
CN 8878 at Transcona
Fortunately, they waited a few minutes for the traffic to clear before they started pulling. I photographed them at the Ravenhurst crossing, then relocated a bit east to catch them passing the east-facing signals protecting the yard.
That was it for me – a lot of driving but well worth it, in my opinion.