I really enjoyed our family vacation in Banff. It’s such a beautiful location.
However, Banff doesn’t have canola. This bright yellow crop has become a very popular plant for western farmers to grow alongside or in place of the traditional wheat fields. Canola was bred from rapeseed, but it is called canola (CANada, Oil, Low Acid) as a more friendly name.
Canola contains a great deal of oil, which is pressed out in crush plants. The oil is used as vegetable oil in many foods, as well as non-food uses like biodiesel and as a component in lipsticks, inks, candles, and so forth. The crushed remnants are used as animal feed.
I like canola because it is bright yellow and very photogenic… and tasty.
On the morning of July 11, I set out from Winnipeg to find some canola fields to park myself near. My friend Jim said there were some near Elie, so I headed that way.
When I arrived in Elie, the gates were coming down at the town crossing, and CN 2971 East came rolling through with a few miles of containers behind it.
No Canola This Time
After that train passed, I drove west and eventually found a pair of canola fields straddling the CN main line. There was a crossing here at mile 33.71 of the CN Rivers subdivision.
I had my video camera near the crossing and my drone ready to launch for the overhead view.
Eventually an eastbound potash train came rolling along.
Canola Train 1
It looked pretty sweet across that bright yellow canola field.
The train had a mix of Agrium and PotashCorp cars along with some unmarked hoppers. Nutrien was formed from the merger of Agrium and PotashCorp, but most of their cars are still painted for the former companies. They do have a few green Nutrien cars and I spotted one for the first time recently.
CN 2334 brought up the rear on the potash train.
Here’s the video of that train, from the ground and from the air.
20 minutes later, another eastbound train came along. Thanks CN for sending eastbound trains in the morning for the best light!
Canola Train 2
This was a general freight with a blocky SD70M-2 on the head end, with a lot of containers on the tail end. I wonder if this was a train from Prince Rupert.
I waited a while after that, but I ran out of time before any more trains came along.
On my way home, I spotted a westbound train near mile 19. I set up to record them by a handy canola field. It was 11:15 AM so the sun was quite high and the ground photo wasn’t so photogenic.
Canola Train 3
The train and the canola field certainly looked nicer from the air.
I tried to keep the drone more or less over the train while keeping the canola field in view. Since it was close to noon, the sun was very high in the sky.
I ended up “getting” three trains with canola – a pretty good score, I’d say.
Now the canola has mostly been harvested, and the sunflowers are out. Time to get trackside again!
Just One More Thing
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