After hearing that the La Salle grain elevator was demolished on August 22, I decided to go there the next morning to photograph the wreckage.
Moments after I started driving, I saw fog – lots of fog.
I’m no stranger to fog. I lived in the Halifax, NS area for three years and saw fog pretty much every day. I worked in Saint John, NB a lot and saw fog. But Winnipeg? Not a lot of fog here.
The fog was so thick in southeast Winnipeg that I turned my car’s headlights on and reduced my speed on the Perimeter Highway because visibility was poor. I decided that I wasn’t going to get any good photos of the elevator remains in this pea soup, so I carried on around to the CN main line.
I ended up at Diamond, just west of Winnipeg, as I often do. I parked there in sight of the west facing signals and stepped out to set up my tripod and video camera.
After a few minutes, I heard a distant horn to the west.
CN 2265 East
I got ready to record the train… whenever it was going to arrive. Normally I would be able to see the train quite a while before it actually arrived, but with the fog I had no idea when it would get close enough to photograph. My only clues were when it blew its horn, and whether the west-facing signal lights at Diamond were lit.
Eventually the signal lights came on, so I knew it was only a mile or two away.
The fog was clearing somewhat by this time. There was some blue in the sky above my head. I felt it was OK to launch my drone at this point.
Under Canadian regulations, you must keep your drone in sight at all times. That would be impossible in heavy fog but I didn’t intend to fly it very far from me and I was easily able to see it. Early drone guidelines said you shouldn’t fly a drone in clouds or fog, but the current regulations don’t say anything specifically about fog that I could find.
The train’s headlights became visible a bit more than a mile from my position. I launched the drone and made everything ready to record.
Eventually the train loomed out of the fog, with CN 2265 leading and an SD75I trailing.
The Portage Switcher
After that CN train, I headed north to CP to find CP 2297 and 2238 working the grain elevators around miles 8-9 of the Carberry sub. I’m told this is one of the duties of the “Portage switcher”, the train that works Portage la Prairie industries and anything between Winnipeg and Portage.
When I first saw them, they had a long string of grain hoppers and were stopped just clear of the crossing by the Viterra grain elevator. They pulled forward past the mile 8.1 signals, as seen below.
They came to a stop, and the conductor cut the train in half. They then started pushing cars into the spur leading to the Paterson grain elevator loop. I left at this point.
Continuing on to the CP yard downtown, I found the Frankenloco, also known as ex CSX 445, in the dead line by the Weston shops. I imagine it will be parted out and then scrapped.
Another interesting locomotive was Central Maine & Quebec 1002 (leased from CITX), protected by a blue flag.
CMQ 1002 and sister 1006 are on a long term lease from Citirail Railmark Inc. They might be the first AC4400CW leases by a non class I railway. Since CP has acquired the Central Maine & Quebec, they are CP’s to run. It seems a bit ironic since CP is actively returning the many AC4400CW locomotives that they had on their own long term leases.
At the east end of the yard, I found CP 7029 being hostled away.
I also ran into fellow train photographer Jack Hykaway on his bicycle. We had a brief chat – always nice to run into fellow railfans.
CP 8537 had apparently been set out from another train, and in the distance I saw a CSX unit as part of a grain train. Jack told me that they had been shuffling cars for some time before I arrived.
I couldn’t stay any longer, but I paused long enough to frame up CSX 5219 between a couple of piles of ballast.
Just One More Thing
Thank you to the 15 people who responded to my recent survey about ads on this site. I appreciate your time and your comments.
Here are the results:
Q1: Do you shop on Amazon?
26.67% shop “often”, 53.33% shop “sometimes”, 6.67% shop “rarely” and 13.33% never shop at Amazon. Comment: “I avoid Amazon unless I’m really desperate.”
Q2: Do you shop online at any of these sites? (Walmart, Best Buy, eBay, Etsy, Costco, Canadian Tire)
53.85% shop at Walmart, 23.08% at Best Buy, 53.85% at eBay, nobody at Etsy, 23.08% at Costco and 23.08% at Canadian Tire. Comments: “Lee Valley Tools, other specialist vendors. eBay rarely.” and “do not shop online”.
I also invited comments in general. Four people responded and said that the balance of ads on my site is good and not bothersome. I’m glad to hear that.
My favourite comment was “I like trains!“
I wanted to invite your comments because I had the sense that just offering Amazon links wasn’t suiting everyone. The survey confirmed that. I will start including links for other retailers and mixing things up a bit. I hope this serves everyone better.
I appreciate your feedback. You can always reach me by commenting here or contacting me by one of these methods.