Chasing Along the Weyburn Subdivision

The start of the chase
The start of the chase

After visiting the Stony Beach grain elevator, I went out again on February 1. This time I had decided to head to Pasqua then head down the CP Weyburn subdivision toward its namesake town. I had never been along this line.

As I arrived at Pasqua, where the Weyburn subdivision branches off the main line Indian Head subdivision, there was a westbound train going by, with another train just starting down the Weyburn subdivision! What luck!

I gave chase immediately, easily catching up to the head end and CP 9360. You can see from the lead photo and the one below that the sun was still down below the horizon.

Still pretty dark
Still pretty dark

I was shooting with f/4.0, ISO 800, 1/15 second – pretty low light.

Back on the chase. The towns along the Weyburn sub are Drinkwater, Rouleau, Wilcox, Corinne, Milestone, Lang, Yellow Grass, McTaggart and then Weyburn. The towns that are bolded still have grain elevators. I had done some calculations and I was hoping I would be able to get to Lang to photograph the two elevators there. I had to be back in Regina by 10:30 AM so my time was limited.

Drinkwater

Abandoned church in Drinkwater, Saskatchewan
Abandoned church in Drinkwater, Saskatchewan

Next up was Drinkwater. This town has a population of about 70 according to Wikipedia. I was at the town well ahead of the train, so I took a moment to photograph this abandoned church. I don’t know any details about it.

There’s also a big round barn in Drinkwater that I took a very poor photo of… worth investigating!

I didn’t see anything scenic to photograph the train near, so I drove to the south end of town to get the train there. I wish I had parked closer to the curve but there wasn’t a place to stop along the highway there.

CP 9360 outside Drinkwater, Saskatchewan
CP 9360 outside Drinkwater, Saskatchewan

I liked the photo below better – a pan. f/5.6, ISO 800, 1/50s – not quite so dark!

Pan shot of CP 9360
Pan shot of CP 9360

Welcome to Dog River

The DOG RIVER sign on the Rouleau grain elevator
The DOG RIVER sign on the Rouleau grain elevator

You may or may not be familiar with the Canadian TV show, “Corner Gas“. It was based in the fictional town of Dog River, but filmed in Rouleau, SK. The grain elevator’s name was covered over with the new town name. The namesake gas station was built especially for the show, and has since been demolished.

I knew I had to photograph the train passing the elevator. I like doing that anyway, and this was the DOG RIVER elevator!

CP 9360 passing the Dog River, er, Rouleau grain elevator
CP 9360 passing the Dog River, er, Rouleau grain elevator

After the head end passed, I walked closer to the elevator to get a slower speed shot of the train passing.

DOG RIVER
DOG RIVER

I had set up my camera to record video, so I was around to record the mid-train DPU this time.

CP 8820 passing the Rouleau grain elevator
CP 8820 passing the Rouleau grain elevator

Wilcox

CP 9360 at Wilcox, Saskatchewan
CP 9360 at Wilcox, Saskatchewan

Next up was Wilcox. There are no grain elevators in Wilcox any more – the last was demolished in 2018.

As I drove into Wilcox, I saw a neat metal sign featuring the town name, a train, a grain elevator, and crossed hockey sticks. I had to feature that in the shot. I set up to photograph the train and the sign together and took several shots to ensure I got the composition I wanted.

Off to the next location!

Corinne

The Pioneer grain elevator complex at Corinne,  Saskatchewan
The Pioneer grain elevator complex at Corinne, Saskatchewan

I had not intended to stop at Corinne. In fact, I didn’t even know that Corinne existed. When you look at the route in Google Maps, it doesn’t show up unless you zoom in a lot. This may be because there are only a couple of houses left in the town.

As I approached Corinne, I saw the elevator complex, and at the north end of the rail complex was this little switcher.

NPR switcher at Corinne, SK
NPR switcher at Corinne, SK

I thought it would be a great addition to a photograph, so I pulled over to wait for the container train to arrive. Oddly, that train slowed down and then came to a stop just short of the nearby crossing – foiling my plan.

So close
So close

Imagine that train being a little closer to the switcher! Sadly, they halted there. I thought for a moment and figured there must be a meet happening, so I hopped back in the van to drive to the other end of the town.

I took some side shots of the elevator from the highway, then drove past and up a connecting road into the “town”. While I was taking some photos, I noted another locomotive peeking out from behind a freight car. It was not accessible for better photos so this is the best that I could get.

Peek-a-boo locomotive
Peek-a-boo locomotive

At the south end of the elevator, two locomotives sat on a siding – one CP, one BNSF. It was CP 8117 and BNSF 8192.

CP 8117 and BNSF 8192 at the south end of the Corinne grain elevator complex
CP 8117 and BNSF 8192 at the south end of the Corinne grain elevator complex

Note the headlights of CP 9360 far off in the distance.

While I was looking around, I heard a horn from the south. The meet was on!

The Meet

CP 8115 approaching Corinne, SK
CP 8115 approaching Corinne, SK

It looked like an oil train on the head end, but there were a lot of other types of cars in the train.

Passing through Corinne
Passing through Corinne

They came to a halt after passing me. I think they were clearing the main line so CP 9360 could continue on. I saw CP 9835 on the tail end.

CP 9835 on the tail end
CP 9835 on the tail end

I didn’t know how long this meet would take, and time was ticking, so I carried on to Milestone.

Milestone

The grain elevator in Milestone, SK

I drove to Milestone and took a few quick photos of the grain elevator there. There are quite a few additions to the standard Saskatchewan Wheat Pool elevator! I was glad that the sun was up and lighting the elevator up nicely.

At this point I decided that I didn’t have enough time to continue on to Lang. Reluctantly, I turned back toward Regina. As I left Milestone, I saw CP 9360 heading toward me. One last photo stop!

CP 9360, Once More

CP 9360 with the telephoto lens
CP 9360 with the telephoto lens

I fired off a few photos with my camera, equipped with my telephoto lens, while my phone recorded video. That sweet morning light!

Here’s the video!

Here’s the train approaching the Milestone, SK grain elevator.

Approaching Milestone
Approaching Milestone

That was the end of the chase, and the end of my photography for the day. I headed back to Regina and rejoined my family for the day. What a great chase!

2 thoughts on “Chasing Along the Weyburn Subdivision”

Leave a Comment