Down to Rathwell

On April 25, 2020 I decided to take a run down the CP Glenboro subdivision. This track used to run between Winnipeg and Souris, Manitoba. In 2016 the center section between Rathwell and Nesbitt was removed, so now it is in two sections. I had been down to Elm Creek before but never to the actual end of track outside Rathwell.

My plan was to head up to the CN Rivers subdivision, head west for several kilometres, then take route 424 south to highway 2, then continue west. Highway 2 parallels the Glenboro subdivision for most of its length.

CP Glenboro Subdivision map
CP Glenboro Subdivision map

But First, the Rivers Subdivision

Eastbound under the Perimeter Highway
Eastbound under the Perimeter Highway

When I arrived at route 427, I encountered an eastbound freight train immediately. This was around mile 10 of the Rivers subdivision. I photographed the head end, then headed west on 427 toward Diamond and eventually the 424 turnoff.

As I continued west, I saw the tail end of a westbound intermodal train. I managed to catch up to a significant part of it by mile 17, so I stopped to photograph the containers passing the signals at mile 17.9.

Blurring at mile 17.8
Blurring at mile 17.8

I was having some fun with slow shutter speeds.

I reached the 424 and headed south. I had to stop to take a panorama of that big prairie sky.

Big prairie sky
Big prairie sky

I drove right past the Starbuck and Fannystelle grain elevators without taking any photos. I wanted to ensure I had enough time to get to Rathwell and back. It’s a good 50 miles / 80 km each way.

Culross

The Culross, MB grain elevator
The Culross, MB grain elevator

The Culross grain elevator didn’t get a pass, though. I love this elevator – standing all alone, pure and white.

On to nearby Elm Creek.

Elm Creek

The Elm Creek grain elevator
The Elm Creek grain elevator

I ducked into Elm Creek to see if there was a CP freight train there. I was hoping… but it was not to be. I grabbed a few shots of the elevators there and got back onto the highway.

I decided to stop at St. Claude, even though I knew there was no grain elevator there. I had never been to this town – I had always passed it by – so I figured it was worth a few minutes to do some exploring.

St. Claude

The world's largest pipe
The world’s largest pipe

Did you know that St. Claude is the home of the world’s largest pipe? Neither did I!

Some of the first settlers to arrive in the area in 1892 were from the province of Jura, France. The town of Saint-Claude in the Jura region is famous for the manufacture of briar pipes. Hence this giant pipe!

St. Claude also has a Parmalat plant, a lovely shrine, and a cenotaph.

Shrine in St. Claude
Shrine in St. Claude

There’s nothing much to see railway-wise in St. Claude. A single track runs through the town with a few crossings.

Rathwell

Foreboding skies in Rathwell
Foreboding skies in Rathwell

The town of Rathwell is a mix of current buildings and old, decaying buildings. It’s an interesting mix and I spent a few minutes driving around, photographing old houses.

Old house in Rathwell, MB
Old house in Rathwell, MB

There is a long siding in the town – perhaps extra storage space for the grain elevator, or a place for the CP locomotives to run around the train before heading back toward Winnipeg.

Parrish and Heimbecker

Grain storage facility in Rathwell
Grain storage facility in Rathwell

The Rathwell grain elevator is not a traditional grain elevator by any means. It is a series of storage bins with elevating machinery and piping connecting them together.

It had a UGG elevator and a Manitoba Pool elevator at one time, but they were both demolished around 2001.

The photo below shows the end of main track (that’s the yellow sign) with a nifty derail set in the derail position.

End of main track, Glenboro sub
End of main track, Glenboro sub

I would have liked to fly my drone here to get some aerial shots, but it was raining. Electric motors and rain don’t mix.

End of Track

End of track for the east section of the Glenboro sub
End of track for the east section of the Glenboro sub

The end of track of this section of the Glenboro subdivision is marked with a big concrete block. I took a few photos to commemorate the occasion but it was raining and I didn’t want to get my camera gear too wet.

West of there, the rails, ties and gravel roadbed has been removed and all that remains is the subroadbed… and a few mileposts.

Mile 70 of the former CP Glenboro subdivision
Mile 70 of the former CP Glenboro subdivision

I guess CP still owns the land, because there are plenty of NO TRESPASSING signs guarding the former roadbed.

After paying my respects, I headed toward home.

I decided that I had enough time to duck into Haywood to have a look around. You never know when – or if – you will be back in an area again.

Haywood

The Paroisse Saint-Denis in Haywood, MB
The Paroisse Saint-Denis in Haywood, MB

There is an impressively large church in Haywood – the Paroisse Saint-Denis. This is part of the Roman Catholic Parish of the Archdiocese of St. Boniface.

The church was built in 1919 and expanded in 1941.

I think I saw someone going into the second floor of the building below – which was a bit scary to think of someone walking in there, never mind possibly living there.

Sketchy
Sketchy

There’s just a straight track through Haywood with no siding.

Continuing back toward Winnipeg, I ducked into Elm Creek again. I remembered that I didn’t photograph the wooden ex Pool elevator there recently, so it was time to update the shots.

Elm Creek

The ex Pool elevator in Elm Creek, MB
The ex Pool elevator in Elm Creek, MB

The track to the right – not the elevator track – is all that remains of the CP Carman subdivision that ran down to Plum Coulee.

That was it for my excursion of April 25!

Just One More Thing

On the day before this excursion, I was out for some early morning railfanning.

There were no trains on the CN Rivers subdivision, but there were deer!

Count the deer
Count the deer

I ducked down to the Assiniboine River to photograph the CP bridge across the river. This is part of the Glenboro subdivision.

CP Emerson sub bridge over the Assiniboine River
CP Emerson sub bridge over the Assiniboine River

Sadly CP didn’t send a train across while I was there…

See also…

5 thoughts on “Down to Rathwell”

  1. Ceci n’est pas une pipe.

    Great photos Steve! There’s something about those wide open skies with so much “cloud personality” that brings back fond memories of growing up on the prairie. I can imagine the chill in the fresh air just looking at them.

    Reply
    • Je ne connais pas grand-chose aux tuyaux.

      Thanks, Jeff! I love the wide open skies. The chill can be a bit .. bracing .. in the fall but you certainly are awake out there!

      Reply
  2. I have driven past that CP bridge across the Assiniboine countless times in years past. I never managed to see a train on the bridge either.

    Reply

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