En Route

My first railfanning of 2022 was done en route between the city dump* and Ware House Hobbies, on January 8.

* I suppose I should call it the “Brady Road Resource Management Facility” like the city does…

I waited outside the gates of the landfill until they opened at 9 AM sharp, then did my business and left. I knew the model train store didn’t open until 10, so that left me a bit of time to sit trackside.

The roads were not great. It had snowed overnight and each left lane of the four lane Perimeter Highway was partially filled with drifted snow, and the road was already icy from previous snowfalls. I took my time driving around the Perimeter to Wilkes Avenue, where I exited to head toward Diamond.

I didn’t drive very far past Hall Road before I decided to turn back. The road was covered in snow and, although there were wheel tracks, my little Civic was in some danger of getting stuck. I retreated to Hall Road, which was clear, and parked.

There was a train sitting just west of the Hall Road crossing, facing east.

Distant train in blowing snow
CN 3802 East, waiting

CN 3802 East was facing a yellow signal. Clearly they were waiting for their turn to proceed east toward Symington Yard.

You can see that the snow was still blowing pretty strongly. It was also fairly cold, -15C air temperature with a 30 km/hr wind. I waited in my car, stepping out periodically to check both directions for trains.

On one of those short walks to the tracks, I saw a westbound train rapidly approaching the crossing. Fortunately I had my camera all set and grabbed a few shots as CN 3837 West came rolling past on the south track.

CN locomotive in blowing snow
CN 3837 in the snow

There was lots of blowing snow!

Freight trains in blowing snow
A swirl of snow

There were a few interesting cars on the westbound train, including ITFX 8177, a black gondola labeled “Fe Trading”. ITFX is a reporting mark for Infinity Transportation, a leasing company.

Black railway gondola car
Fe Trading

Right after the gondola was a distributed braking boxcar, CN 0033, there to provide some extra air in the cold weather.

Red boxcar
CN 0033

After that, I amused myself by “dragging the shutter” – e.g. setting the shutter speed to a low value (1/20 second) so the cars would blur while the stationary scene remained sharp. This is basically the same technique as panning except that I held the camera stationary instead of moving it with the train.

Blurred boxcars past a railway crossing sign

The tail end of the westbound train had just barely cleared the crossing when CN 3802 East started rolling. I stepped down into the ditch beside the road – up to my knees in snow – to get a shot looking up at the train as it rolled toward the crossing.

CN freight train
CN 3802

The train had a locomotive in the middle, CN 3086, and it had a couple of interesting (to me) stake cars near the end, WCCX 81709 and HKRX 160038. WCCX is registered to Consolidation Coal (!) and HKRX is registered to PNC Equipment Finance LLC. You don’t see many turquoise rail cars!

Turquoise rail car
A turquoise car

By this time, it was almost 10 AM, so it was time to head over to Ware House Hobbies to chat with Fred and Bev. I bought three Peco switches for my layout and couldn’t resist buying some used books. I am a sucker for Canadian railway books.

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