Chasing the Maroon

I caught my second* CP heritage unit on February 11th – and my first “on the road” – thanks to some Facebook tips in the great RailsMBSK railfan group.

(I posted about my first heritage unit sighting – CP 7013 – as one of my Railfan Five)

Tim B posted that he saw CP 7016 at the east end of the CP yard in Winnipeg in the morning. Group member Mark Perry saw that and went up to the yard to take some photos, and he noted that it was on an oil train that would be heading east.

Mark kept me informed with updates as the train moved out of the yard into St. Boniface (an area of Winnipeg to the east of downtown). He noted that it was going to head south down the CP Emerson subdivision into the USA, which was super convenient for me, as I live about 5-6 minutes from that line.

Soon after he told me it was on the move, I was off like a shot, sprinting for my car and roaring out east to the CP line – observing speed limits, of course.

I should point out that since this was a loaded oil train, it was limited to 25 MPH outside the city and 20 MPH within the city, due to the Minister of Transport Marc Garneau’s order of February 6. This order was issued after the serious derailment of an oil train (and subsequent fire) near Guernsey, Saskatchewan. This order is in place for 30 days… for now.

The Perimeter

I turned onto the Perimeter Highway, and a few seconds after I laid eyes on the rail crossing a kilometre ahead, the crossing lights came on! #*@&$@#!

I approached and pulled off onto the shoulder, jumped out and got a few side shots of CP 7016 as it rolled through the crossing.

CP 7016 crossing the Perimeter Highway in Winnipeg
CP 7016 crossing the Perimeter Highway in Winnipeg

The train sl-ow-ly rolled through the crossing as everyone waited, until tail end unit CP 8707 passed through and the gates came up. Back to the chase!

I headed south down highway 59. It looked like they might stop at Grande Pointe, so I ducked off the highway to see, but they only paused – maybe to line a switch left open by a previous train? – then carried on south to Niverville.


CP 7016 passing the Niverville Curling Club
CP 7016 passing the Niverville Curling Club

Given the 25 MPH speed of this oil train, it was easy enough to get ahead of it, so I arrived trackside in Niverville a good two minutes before the train. I set up my tripod to record video and snapped away with my camera as the train rolled past the former Manitoba Pool grain elevator. That elevator was BRIGHT.

CP 7016 passing the Artel grain elevator in Niverville
CP 7016 passing the Artel grain elevator in Niverville

After 7016 passed, I turned back to find my tripod and camera lying on the ground! I guess you have to close the clamps on ALL THREE legs of the tripod!

Thank goodness it fell onto snow. The camera (Canon T1i, my previous camera) and lens seem OK.

Back in the car, and one more sprint, down the back road toward Otterburne. I decided I wanted to get it outside the town, as I didn’t want to get trapped in a 50 km/hr zone and miss the train.


CP 7016 crossing the

I got barely ahead of the train and elected to grab them just north of Otterburne at a little bridge. I screeched to a halt, jumped out and set the tripod on the ground “as is” without extending the legs, then took a few photos as the train passed.

In retrospect, it would have been nice to wipe off the video camera’s lens…

CP 8707 was on the tail end, with SOO LINE grain cars providing the buffers.

CP 8707 on the tail end of an oil train
CP 8707 on the tail end of an oil train

As the tail end passed, I looked back to see them go through an S curve I never knew existed on that line. Something for next time! Maybe with a drone…

With that done, I headed back home. A good chase, and good photos… and amusing video.

Literally falling down in awe of the heritage unit…

Have you seen a CP heritage unit? Leave a comment!

Just One More Thing

You can read about my previous attempts to “catch the maroon” / see a CP heritage locomotive:

8 thoughts on “Chasing the Maroon”

  1. Congratulations on catching a Maroon on the go! I was especially intrigued by the photo and video from Otterburne, with the power lines in the background… I had no idea there was another HVDC line running south of Winnipeg. Also love the video swooning and fainting as the train passes.

    • Thanks, Jeff! Those pesky power lines are everywhere. 😉

      “Swooning and fainting” – that’s perfect! My camera and tripod were overcome by the beauty of the locomotive 🙂

  2. Falling tripod, dirty lenses, your slipping Steve!
    I caught a glimpse of a heritage unit a few weeks back going over the route 90 overpass, but the view was blocked by an oil train. By the time I turned around it was already out of view in the Weston yard.
    Glad you finally caught one.

    • Hi Sheldon, yes, definitely slipping! Hopefully not actually slipping on ice!

      I’m still on the hunt for a military unit or three… these heritage units have given many a good reason to railfan CP again.

  3. Steve

    I saw a Maroon unit at the entrance to the shops in Alyth Yard here in Calgary last Thursday as my wife and I were running around doing some shopping. We didn’t stop since we were crossing over on the bridge on Blackfoot Trail, quite a busy road.

  4. Looks like its still in Manitoba as I saw it today leading a container train going east out of Winnipeg by the MPI salvage compound.

    • Yessir, Clifford! I managed to catch it coming into Winnipeg yesterday just after noon. I’m glad you saw it!


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