A Nice Variety

On October 2, 2021 I set out mid-morning to visit the model train open house in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. The Portage Model Railroad Club periodically has open houses and I hadn’t seen their layouts in a while… plus it was an excuse to get out of the house, something I think we all need now and then.

I decided to do a quick tour of the CP yard area in Winnipeg before heading west to “PlaP”.

The east end of the downtown yard was power-rich.

Power on display
Power on display

Three different trains were facing east, with CP 8018, 9378 and 8701 on the points. You can see a crew person on the ground at far right, perhaps lining a switch. The Salter Street bridge is in the foreground and the Arlington Street bridge is visible in the distance… along with a cloud of the ever present pigeons.

Another angle
Another angle

I tried a few angles, then moved on to the Weston shops area. There were quite a few interesting locomotives here, and fortunately no trains were blocking the view.

Variety pack
Variety pack

This quartet (CP 9772, CP 3727, CMQ 9022 and 8938) featured two different locomotives. CP 3727 is an ex Union Pacific SD9043 with black CP lettering replacing the Union Pacific regalia, while 9022 is a Central Maine & Quebec (CMQ) “blue barn”, one of several SD40-2F locomotives that were originally CP “red barns”.

Deep in the yard was SOO 4413. I don’t know how many SOO painted locomotives are left but there can’t be many.

SOO 4413
SOO 4413

There are quite a few SD90 locomotives in the tracks between the shop building and the main line.

Waiting for a rebuild
Waiting for a rebuild

Among the many SD90 locomotives there, UP 3644, NS 7225* and UP 3660 were lit nicely by the morning sun. CP 6054 is the odd unit out, being an SD40-2, but it’s nice to see a locomotive still with its class lights above the number boards…

* I know, NS 7225 is an SD80, not an SD90. I understand the SD90s aren’t that much different than the SD80s.

After “taking inventory”, I headed west to Portage la Prairie. I encountered a few trains along the way, but that’ll wait for another post.

Just One More Thing

If you’re looking for a Christmas present idea, may I recommend Grain Elevators: Beacons on the Prairie? It’s a hot seller on Amazon and for good reason. The combination of Chris Attrell’s great photography and Christine Hanlon’s prose make a great book honouring the sentinels that grace Canada’s prairie provinces.

I wrote a “review” of this book over at Grain Elevators of Canada as well.

I have to disclose two things: one, I was an editor for this book so I am definitely biased; and two, I earn a small commission if you buy anything using the Amazon links.

Even if I wasn’t the editor, I’d still recommend this book. The photography is great and the captions provide great context, and there are many “blurbs” throughout the book explaining how elevators work and providing a lot of background information on the grain elevator industry.

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