One evening this past May, I had the itch to get trackside and see some trains. I decided to head east and try my luck on the CP Emerson and CN Sprague subdivisions in the southeast area of Winnipeg.
As I rolled across the CP Emerson subdivision where it crosses the south Perimeter Highway, I saw a distant headlight to the north. A southbound train!
I decided to head down to Grande Pointe (just south of the city) and photograph them crossing the Floodway bridge.
As soon as I arrived there and stepped out of my car, I knew I wasn’t going to be flying my drone.
The wind was unreal. Gusting, howling, it was intense. Looking at the historical weather data, Environment Canada says it was gusting up to 71 km/hr (about 45 MPH).
I set up my video camera on my tripod, taking care to set it up below the road level so it wasn’t very exposed to the wind… so I thought.
Well, that didn’t work. The tripod went over with a THUD.
No time to investigate. The train was coming.
I took a long telephoto shot of the train crossing the bridge, then switched to my phone for some side shots.
I liked this “spe” car – “South Point Ethanol”.
It seems that South Point Ethanol went out of business in 1995 but the lettering remains. The SPE facility in Ohio was part of a large industrial complex that seems to have had some serious heavy metals in the ground (witness this EPA fact sheet) that took almost 20 years to clean up.
Once the train passed, I was able to go check my video camera and see what the damage was.
It looks like the filter thread on the lens took the brunt of the fall. The lens itself still works, as does the camera, but there’s no way I’m putting a filter on that lens.
I continued on around the Perimeter Highway and ended up at CN’s Transcona yard. There were two intermodal trains waiting to head east, as well as a yard job pulling some oddball cars.
The yard job had a GP9 and slug pulling some maintenance-of-way cars including a distributed braking boxcar, one of those strange flatcars that carry preassembled switches, and a few gondolas.
I continued on to Symington Yard and found a “new” SD40-2 pressed into hump service.
This isn’t the first CN SD40-2 “wide cab” in the Symington hump fleet. In the Odd Ducks post, I shared a photo of CN 5288 doing the same job.
Driving around, I noticed a couple of trains waiting to head east out of Symington on the Sprague subdivision. They were waiting for a westbound to come off the Sprague, and I caught it from the Fermor Avenue overpass, an unusual location for me.
I grabbed a few photos with my phone, including this slanty one to show some rooftop details.
Once that train came into the yard, one of the eastbound trains was clear to go. I decided that overpasses were my thing tonight, so I went to the Perimeter Highway overpass over the tracks to capture the eastbound train leaving Winnipeg.
As I drove toward my chosen location, I noticed the sun breaking through the clouds and making some cool sunrays. I parked and carefully walked across the overpass to put the sunrays behind the train as it rolled past.
Normally I’d be on the “sun side” but that sky was too good. It had to be in the shot.
That was a good evening of railfanning – despite the tripod calamity.