A Morning With Jason

Early to rise…

My friend Jason Paul Sailer was in Winnipeg in July on vacation. You may remember that I toured the CP Stirling subdivision with him in 2016 and went rail/elevator fanning over Christmas 2018.

First Try

I picked him up before 6 AM to get the sunrise photos. We started out on the CN Redditt subdivision. Driving out toward Dugald, we saw no signs of trains. We paused to take photos of the Dugald grain elevator, and I flew my drone up to take a few aerial shots.

Dugald grain elevator
Dugald grain elevator

We looked east of Dugald and there wasn’t anything going on there either. We decided to try the Sprague subdivision instead. On our way back toward the Perimeter Highway, we spotted a train pulling out of the Transcona yard.

CN 2897 doing a little switching
CN 2897 doing a little switching

They pushed back shortly after this photo. We guessed that they were still putting their train together. We continued on to the Sprague.

Bonanza

"CN 100" unit on the Floodway bridge
“CN 100” unit on the Floodway bridge

We immediately spotted a train leaving Symington Yard on the Sprague. We crossed the Perimeter and pulled off to the side to photograph it crossing the Floodway. “CN 100” unit CN 3884 was leading a general freight train. There were a number of ballast cars right behind the power.

Ballast cars on the CN
Ballast cars on the CN

We headed east to catch them again. We set up at the curve in the tracks near Dufresne. I put my drone up and set up the ground camera.

CN 3884 on the point
CN 3884 on the point

I flew my drone around, getting some nice angles in the early morning light.

It was only near the end of the train that I realized I forgot to press “record” and I wasn’t recording anything at all.

Sigh.

At least I had the ground camera running!

video killed the radio star

I did take a photo of the tail end of the train from the drone… I got something for the flight, anyway! 😉

Tank cars trailing.
Tank cars trailing.

After that, we moved on, back toward Winnipeg.

Lorette

Leading the charge
Leading the charge

As we approached the Lorette siding, we could see that the signals were lit, indicating a train between Lorette and Navin (Winnipeg). I pulled over to the midpoint of the Lorette siding to wait for the train to arrive. It turned out to be a container train led by CN 3002 and 3188. It was all new power on CN this morning!

Crossing may be blocked for extended periods of time
Crossing may be blocked for extended periods of time

Here’s the video of that train.

Stack train on the Prairies

Here’s Jason doing his railfan duty.

Jason recording the train
Jason recording the train

Once that train passed, we packed up our gear and got back on the road… only to see another headlight. Another eastbound!

One More on the Sprague

Don't disturb the birds!
Don’t disturb the birds!

This train turned out to be an oil train, led by CN 3804 and “CN 100” CN 3877. I really like how the above shot turned out, with the birds fleeing the train. I saw them lifting off and took a few photos to capture them in flight.

Here’s a phone photo of “CN 100” CN 3877, nice and clean.

"100 CN" or "CN 100"? You decide.
“100 CN” or “CN 100”? You decide.

After the 100 car string of tank cars (with two brown CN grain cars as buffer cars), CN 3198 brought up the rear. There sure were a lot of CN 3xxx locomotives around! It was a far cry from the days of leasers everywhere.

CN 3198 on the rear
CN 3198 on the rear

Well! Three trains on the Sprague subdivision and one on the Redditt… a good morning, right?

But Wait, There’s More!

Flowers and CN 8000
Flowers and CN 8000

We were greedy and wanted more, more, MORE TRAINS!

So we headed to the CN Rivers subdivision. As we rolled west along Wilkes Avenue, we spotted another eastbound train. We pulled over near Diamond (mile 14ish) and set up to capture the train.

I elected to go down into the ditch to get an upward look at the train. Boxy CN 8000 led the train, lit nicely by the sun at 08:36.

Morning Light – CN 8000 at Diamond

It was a grain train, with a motley collection of cars. Jason and I were chatting, and I asked him if he’d ever seen any Saskatchewan Wheat Pool cars, as they are pretty rare these days. Just as we said it would be nice to see one on this train…

Ex Saskatchewan Wheat Pool car FURX 850856
Ex Saskatchewan Wheat Pool car FURX 850856

Ask and ye shall receive, I guess!

(as an aside, I saw that car a month later, on the CN Miami spur in Morris, Manitoba)

After that train passed, we rolled along the Rivers sub westward, and stopped at a private crossing at mile 21.

Mile 21 Action

Mile 21 sign
Mile 21 sign

We had a bit of a wait at mile 21, but after maybe 15-20 minutes, we saw a headlight in the distance to the west. We were sure enjoying the eastbound trains that morning!

I put my drone up and we enjoyed CN 3037 rolling by.

CN 3037 East at mile 21

We relocated a little east after that, and 15 minutes later, we caught a westbound train.

A Pair of SD75Is

Something Different
Something Different

This train had some older power – finally! A pair of SD75I units were on the point of this general merchandise train.

Jason and the SD75Is
Jason and the SD75Is

This train had some interesting loads on it, like these Caterpillar machines.

Big CAT machinery
Big CAT machinery

Taking out the trash… trucks…

GTOFC? Garbage Trucks on Flatcars?
GTOFC? Garbage Trucks on Flatcars?

These are Labrie garbage trucks, I think the Automizer.

Summary

That was a good four hours of railfanning! Here’s the “score”:

  • CN Redditt subdivision: 1 train
  • CN Sprague subdivision: 3 trains
  • CN Rivers subdivision: 3 trains

Thanks, Jason, for the great company!

You can see more “railfanning with Jason” here:

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