Fallen Flags at Lorette

Waiting their turn
Waiting their turn

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

In the hole
In the hole

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!

UP 8459
UP 8459

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 Meet

CN 5621
CN 5621

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.

Rolling Out

Got the wave!
Got the wave!

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

Ex Saskatchewan Wheat Pool car SMW 850989
Ex Saskatchewan Wheat Pool car SMW 850989

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.

Faded Rock Island logo on DWC 384755
Faded Rock Island logo on DWC 384755

DWC 384755 has faded to a very pale blue, but the big “R” of Rock Island is still visible.

DWC 384715 and the Santa Fe
DWC 384715 and the Santa Fe

This ex Santa Fe car would be an interesting modeling project.

A turquoise ICCX 81046
A turquoise ICCX 81046

I feel like I should know what railroad used to own this colour of car, but it’s not coming to me.

Take an Alberta Break... visit Mayerthorpe with ALNX 396121
Take an Alberta Break… visit Mayerthorpe with ALNX 396121

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.

A TFM gondola, TFM 60456
A TFM gondola, TFM 60456

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
CN 3007 was in the middle of the train

CN 3007 was in the middle of the train to provide a little more “oomph”.

This train was AOK
This train was AOK

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?

The Video

The VIDEO

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!

7 thoughts on “Fallen Flags at Lorette”

  1. Liking all these fallen flags, Steve. The ICCX one doesn’t ring a bell with me, either. But that (former WCRC) Pool car is a good catch. The DWC ex-Rock and ex-Santa Fe are cool, and I haven’t seen a Santa Fe bleedthrough like that one before.

    Who says the rest of the train isn’t as interesting as the power (which in this post was VERY interesting!)

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. I like those new GE ET44 tier 4’s. I wish CP would buy some, but with all the loco’s their rebuilding it’s highly unlikely.
    Good job Steve

  3. I appreciated the edited “interesting bits” version. I understand that others want the whole thing, but for casual viewers, the shorter version is great. Well done.

    BTW, in Southern Ontario we never see trains with mid-train power like you show in you your Manitoba shots. Any thoughts about why that is?

    Many thanks, David

  4. Hi Steve. Great post and video. I find it interesting that both the former Rock Island and Sante Fe cars had DWC reporting marks. Of course, I’m sure that you’re aware that this is Duluth, Winnipeg and Pacific, or in other words, CN. Any idea why they would purchase used rolling stock from other lines? I mean, neither of these lines were rolled up into CN. Rather, they are now UP and BNSF respectively. Thoughts anyone?

  5. A few thoughts and points:

    1. The air powered SBUs/EOTs have a battery in them. The air powered turbine charges the battery. They also have an outlet so they can be plugged into the wall when not in use to keep the battery charged. It takes a good 20-30 minutes to charge the battery with air if the SBU has been sitting idle for a long period of time.

    2. For David, CN runs mid train remotes in Ontario multiple times a day between Toronto and Montreal and I am sure they must out of Toronto towards Sarnia as well.

    3. For Patrice, cars change owners all the time. It’s likely a case of a railroad needing cars and picking them up cheap. CN has some of those ex Rock Island cars with IC reporting marks as well. There are also ex RI cars with AEX reporting marks. The frac sand hoppers seem to change hands quite frequently.

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