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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: