Blame the Cat

It’s the cat’s fault.

I had every intention of sleeping on Saturday morning, but my annoying cat Felix walked into our bedroom in the middle of the night and meowed at me, repeatedly. Apparently his food dish was empty and he wasn’t happy.

Ignoring him didn’t work, and I didn’t want my wife to wake up, so I got out of bed and fed him. By this time, I was wide awake at about 4:30 AM. What should I do with my time?

Railfan, of course!

I hit the road and ended up trackside at mile 17.9 of the CN Rivers subdivision at 5:20 AM (on October 16, 2021).

Train signals lit red and green at night

The sun was below the horizon, but the sky was lighter to the east anyway, since Winnipeg was that way. Darn that light pollution.

I spent some time trying to photograph the Milky Way, but I was distracted by an approaching eastbound train.

This composite of two images shows the locomotives streaking through the signals at 05:37. I’m facing west here.

Streaks of white light from a train's headlights at night under a starry sky

You can see a hint of the Milky Way in the sky.

After the train passed, I tried a different angle to include a bit of the Milky Way.

The Milky Way above a train signal

I started driving westward, only to encounter another eastbound train. I set up at the route 424 / White Plains crossing and captured a streak at 05:50.

Train at night approaching a road crossing with gates down and lights flashing

Passing Elie, I overtook a westbound train. I must have just missed it when I arrived trackside earlier! I managed to get just ahead of it between Fortier and Oakville and captured this distance shot at 06:18.

Train streaking across the prairie at night under a starry sky

That’s probably my favourite shot of the night.

If you like that image, you can buy it on Redbubble!

I didn’t want to get too far away from Winnipeg, so I turned around and returned to Elie. I set up at everyone’s favourite crossing just west of town (and the grain elevator). While waiting, I amused myself with some long exposure shots. Here I am carrying my phone with the light on.

Ghostly figure walking to a railway crossing at night

An eastbound train came rolling through, but my photos were terrible so I’m not going to share them here! I elected to chase it toward Winnipeg, and caught it at White Plains at 07:21.

Train at night under lightening sky

I continued the chase eastward, toward a golden sunrise…

Sun rising behind a railway train

That was taken just east of Diamond. After the relatively short train passed, I continued east and overtook the train yet again. I quickly pulled off to capture the lead locomotives approaching Hall Road, heading into the sunrise at 07:30.

Locomotives heading into the sunrise

The golden sunrise was far too nice to miss, so I drove to the CPR line over the Floodway and flew my drone near the Emerson subdivision bridge around 08:20.

Drone view of a railway bridge over the Winnipeg Floodway south of the city

There were no trains on the CPR at that time, but you can see it was a beautiful, clear morning with downtown Winnipeg visible in the distance.

Since it was such a nice day, I ended up going out again later that day ,and the CPR blessed me with a train – see Foreign Power Afternoon.

Anyway, those 4 hours of railfanning were brought to you by this guy:

A black and white cat yawning, with a camera bag in the background

Just One More Thing

Gallery of products available in Angela Boyko's store

I invite you to view my sister Angela’s art at Angela Boyko Art! She is a very talented artist and has a wide variety of designs available on cards, stockings, shirts, gift tags and a lot more.

Please do me (and her) a favour and share the site with your friends:

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4 thoughts on “Blame the Cat”

  1. You always have to look at these times at glass-half-full moments. Bonus railfanning is better than no railfanning. Being a space nerd myself, I also appreciate the shots of the stars. I live in a darker area of Ottawa, which means the sky is usually alive at night at this time of year.

  2. The Emerson subdivision bridge picture took my interest; nothing like that around my house. A picture or video of a CP train on there would be nice.

    Looking at your cat, and being an avid hockey fan, think Nashville Predators !!

    Milky way photos around Montreal are always hard to get, yours is great.

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