Blown Away

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.

Fall down

Well, that didn’t work. The tripod went over with a THUD.

No time to investigate. The train was coming.

CP 8017 in the lead
CP 8017 in the lead

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”.

South Point Ethanol car
South Point Ethanol car

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.

Surveying the damage
Surveying the damage

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.

Three tracks in Transcona
Three tracks in Transcona

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.

CN 5339 joins the hump yard fleet
CN 5339 joins the hump yard fleet

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.

Threading through
Threading through

I grabbed a few photos with my phone, including this slanty one to show some rooftop details.

Rooftop details
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.

Drama

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.

8 thoughts on “Blown Away”

  1. Love the sky in your first photo! I once had a tele lens for my 35mm camera and I left it in the box on the top of my car and drove off. I heard a noise and immediately knew what had happened. The lens was in the box and like your lens it works but could not put a filter on it. Glad it only happened once – haven’t left anything on the top of the car since!

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  2. I was in the same boat as you with damaged gear. On the 16th of August I was out at the CP Carberry and the wind knocked my tripod over and my height extension on my Tripod hit some rocks, and it ended up being bent and luckily I got it replaced the next day. Great catches and hopefully its to expensive to repair

    Reply
    • Hi Philip, sorry your tripod was damaged! I rarely extend that part of my tripod and maybe now I am glad for that.

      I am not going to get my lens fixed. It’s an old kit lens and not worth much to begin with, and it still works. I don’t use that camera much in any case.

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