From the Pile

There was a period of time where I was so far behind in processing my photos that I gave up and threw a thousand or so images into a folder to deal with later. Last spring I threw a few hundred more in, and this is the result.

Adobe Lightroom view of image thumbnails

Folder “zUnprocessed” had 1232 images in it before I started this post. I’m going to pull some off the pile and share photos from March 20, 2022, when I went to Portage la Prairie on a fine spring morning.

CN in Portage

Orange CN train with long rails on board

There was a loaded rail train in the small CN yard in town. I noted a Loram grinder sitting over on the CP side, so I composed a shot to include them both. You can see that it was the ugly part of spring at the time, with melting snow and plenty of grime.

Speaking of melting…

A CN train under a blue sky

I saw an eastbound CN train coming and I tried to get a reflection from the melted water in the ditch… sadly I didn’t get the right angle.

On the plus side, the train had an ex Pillsbury car in the consist! OCFX 125038 was trying to conceal its origins but the blue ends and the “Pillsbury” still showing through gave it away.

Ex Pillsbury railway car

I wrote a post about Pillsbury railway cars a while ago.

After that, I decided to go up on the Skyline Bridge to get a different perspective. The plaque on the bridge says it was opened on December 5, 1964, with Underwood McLellan and Associates as consulting engineers. I guess they did a good job because it hasn’t fallen down yet! UMA merged with engineering giant AECOM in 2004.

Westbound train in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba

Sadly the next train was a westbound, so the nose was definitely in shadow at 10:15 AM (here’s the video).

Nothing was happening on CP during this time, and my time ran out in Portage, so I headed toward home.


Rusty snow covered track leading to a grain elevator in Oakville Manitoba

On my way home from Portage la Prairie, I elected to stop in to Oakville to see the grain elevator there (again) and hang around the area, hoping for another train.

The elevator track was pretty rusty and snow covered. Sometimes there is maintenance of way (MOW) equipment stowed here, or the occasional producer grain car in the summer for farmers to load.

I relocated just east of town and waited. There’s a very short siding there (map) and a loaded 3-pack doublestack container car was in the siding. I think CN uses this to set off “bad order” cars. I saw a locomotive stowed here several years ago.

Container car in a very short railway siding in winter

Eventually an eastbound train came moseying along at 11:20. I set up to record it and shot it with my telephoto lens. It was near noon but the winter sun was low enough to put some light on the nose.

CN train with grain elevator in the background

That was exactly the shot I wanted. *chef’s kiss*

The lead unit was pretty common but the second unit was a Kansas City Southern (de Mexico) locomotive, KCS 4762. (video)

Kansas City Southern railway locomotive

I saw a westbound train wayyyy far away to the east. I quickly packed up and headed into Oakville to catch it passing the grain elevator. I barely made it!

CN train passing the Oakville Manitoba grain elevator

CN 3834 was the sole power on this long container train. It has a lot of horses under the hood! (video)

VIA Rail

After that train passed, I continued eastward toward Winnipeg. I remembered that it was Sunday and the Churchill train would be leaving the city at noon. I went to Diamond and waited. VIA 693 came along at 12:34 PM and I had my drone up to greet it.

Drone view of a VIA Rail train

Do you prefer a ground view? Well, here you go!

VIA Rail locomotive 6449 leading the train to Churchill

The train had 6449 / 6443 / 8602 / 8143 / 8139 / 8137 / 8515 / Chateau Closse – two locomotives, a baggage car, three coaches, a Skyline dome, and a sleeper. This is a pretty normal Churchill train.

Here’s the video featuring ground and aerial views.

Now we’re down to 1,157 unprocessed images. Progress!

10 thoughts on “From the Pile”

  1. All photos are interesting especially passenger consists – Have not changed as much out west compared to the east – Have a great year Steve !

    • Hi Bill, that’s Adobe Lightroom. I should give a brief tour of it for those who are interested in organizing and editing their digital photos.

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