I hadn’t been down the CN Letellier subdivision (Winnipeg-Emerson) in quite some time, so I decided to do something about that. I set out on March 20 down highway 75 from Winnipeg toward Emerson and the US border. As I drove down, I was hoping to see a CN train along the way.
While you read this, you may want the 2014 edition of this post in a separate tab. A lot has changed.
The first grain elevator south of Winnipeg on highway 75 is the G3 elevator at Glenlea, near Ste. Adolphe, MB. This elevator didn’t exist in 2014. The Canadian Wheat Board started construction in 2015, and during the elevator’s construction the CWB morphed into G3, so that’s the sign that’s on the elevator now.
G3 has their own locomotive, an SD40 of some variety, which usually lives on the far side of the loop track from the elevator.
I thought about flying my drone, but it was far too windy for a drone that day. I could certainly launch it, but it might not be able to come back!
The big concrete elevator at Ste Agathe wasn’t here in 2014 either. Viterra built this in 2016, replacing a large wooden structure that was demolished in 2010.
Viterra has a locomotive here but it has its own “garage” and is very rarely seen. I’ve never seen it myself.
One new thing I noted was the installation of signals on the CN main line. The Letellier subdivision is “dark”, meaning that it is unsignaled, and train movements are coordinated by radio through a dispatcher.
The photo above shows the signals just south of the loop track. They are turned away from the track so they aren’t in service. The building on the left edge of the photo is the Viterra locomotive’s “garage”.
Here’s another photo…
The above photo is facing north. The signal tower is right where the loop track diverges from the main line. At far left in the distance is another signal, maybe an approach signal. You can see the Glenlea elevator on the horizon just to the right of the signal tower.
I believe these signals were installed in September of 2020 (or earlier), based on a post by William Brillinger. I have no idea why they aren’t in service. I believe the intention is to show the position of the switches for the loop track. Maybe the loop track switches will be remote-controlled by the rail traffic controller (RTC) so trains can go right into the loop without stopping for the conductor to throw the switch by hand.
A lot has changed in the Morris grain elevator scene since 2014. The wooden Paterson grain elevator was torn down. Cargill’s elevator was expanded and they demolished an old wooden elevator during the expansion. The old CN Miami subdivision track was extended somewhat to accommodate more cars when switching the Cargill elevator.
Here’s a new rail map of Morris, with the old Paterson elevator deleted.
Here’s the Paterson grain elevator.
There are new signals on the CN line here too. The signal below is just north of Morris and must be some kind of approach signal.
The sign says “CN SIGNAL 365 SUB: LETELLIER MP 036.45.”
Note the track in the background above. That’s the CP La Riviere subdivision. Both CN and CP parallel each other through Morris, much like they do through Portage la Prairie and through Gladstone.
I believe these signals are protecting the switches for the wye track leading to the “Miami sub” aka the Cargill elevator.
There are no passing sidings of any significant length on the Letellier subdivision, so if trains need to meet somewhere between Emerson and Winnipeg, one of them has to duck into a grain elevator loop track or onto the remnant of the Miami subdivision. I’ve witnessed a few of these meets.
CP has had signals in Morris for many years. These protect the diamond where the east-west CN Miami subdivision crosses the north-south CP La Riviere subdivision.
On to the next town…
St. Jean Baptiste
The grain elevator in St. Jean Baptiste looks the same as the last time I was through there (July 2020).
Not much else to say here!
There is a large Paterson grain elevator called “Red River South” just north of the town of Letellier.
Just south of Letellier is a new customer for CN, Mid Canada Transload Services. This facility was completed in 2020 and offers transload and storage services between truck and rail. It has two miles of track and an elevation / storage facility. When I drove past, there were several South Dakota Soybean Processors rail cars on site.
That’s all the grain elevators on the Letellier subdivision.
Feel free to view the 2014 version here!
Just One More Thing
Here’s a quick shoutout to several train-related blogs that I read. Maybe you’ll like them too – or you already read them!
- Rolly Martin Country – lots of interesting railroad ephemera and stories to go with them
- North Country Trains – railfanning and model trains
- Prince Street – thoughtful model railroading
- Trackside Treasure – model and full-size railroading with humour
- White River Division – great modeling and a look at past and present 1:1 scale railroading
Tell me some I’m missing!