I had a little time to railfan recently, so I went out along the Sprague subdivision to try to catch a train. Rumour had it that this line – which goes southeast from Winnipeg to Rainy River, Ontario with a brief detour into the USA – was very busy recently, so I figured there was a decent chance to catch a train with the time I had.
I ended up catching two trains – one which had some interesting “fallen flag” cars on it!
As I drove along the Trans-Canada Highway, I saw the tail end of a train near the Lorette siding. It wasn’t clear to me whether the train was moving until I drew closer, and I realized it was going into the siding. Good for me, not good for the crew!
In the Siding
CN 3240 East rolled to the east end of the siding under a brilliant blue sky. This was mid afternoon so there was some shadow, but the sun was lighting the train up nicely. Note that CN 3240 was wearing the “CN 100” logo.
Behind 3240 was a Union Pacific unit, UP 8459, an SD70ACe locomotive. It was nice to see two clean units on the train!
After a bit, the crew dismounted and took up positions to do the rollby inspection. It was clear to me that they didn’t want to be photographed, so I positioned myself east of the meet to capture the trains but keep the crew in the background.
The lucky train that got to roll by on the main line was CN 5621 West, with CN 2170 trailing.
I’ve seen CN 5621 quite a few times, back in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in 2007 and 2008, and in Manitoba since 2011. CN’s SD70I and SD75I locomotives are getting a little long in the tooth, and rumour has it that they may not be on the roster much longer. I hope they stick around; I understand crews like them.
ANYway, they rolled past the siding and carried on into Symington Yard.
As soon as the train passed, the crew of CN 3240 got back in their train and headed out.
I set up to record their departure, and the engineer was nice enough to give me a good wave as they went by. The photo is edited to preserve privacy.
While they were sitting in the siding, I had noted some interesting cars in the train. Now that the train was pulling past me, I had the opportunity to take some photos! Here are some cars that I found particularly interesting.
Fallen Flags and More
Regular readers of this site know I like to spot ex Saskatchewan Wheat Pool grain cars. SMW 850989 was “in disguise” but that blank logo spot in the middle of the car gives it away as an ex POOL car.
DWC 384755 has faded to a very pale blue, but the big “R” of Rock Island is still visible.
This ex Santa Fe car would be an interesting modeling project.
I feel like I should know what railroad used to own this colour of car, but it’s not coming to me.
There were at least three “Take an Alberta Break” grain cars on this train – Mayerthorpe, Evansburg and Killam. These blue Alberta cars are pretty distinctive.
Nice to see a little NAFTA representation in the train with a TFM gondola.
Wrapping it Up
CN 3007 was in the middle of the train to provide a little more “oomph”.
An AOK boxcar held the end-of-train device, giving a little whistle from the turbine as it rolled past. These EOT devices used to be battery powered but most seem to be powered from the train air itself these days. Maybe they have a battery as well?
Here’s the video – heavily edited to show the “interesting bits” rather than full runbys. Normally I post the full train or trains, but I thought I’d do something a little different. Hope you like it.
Just One More Thing
I just finished re-reading Gone But Not Forgotten: Tales of the Disappearing Grain Elevators by Elizabeth McLachlan. Follow the link to read my review.
I’m starting to read Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez. I heard about this when the author was interviewed on the 99% Invisible podcast. The premise of the book is that things like medical trials and surveys are usually inherently biased because they are designed for, and tested on, men. Should be a good and eye-opening read!