I Drove All Night, Part 3

Recap: I set out late on May 7 / early on May 8 to photograph the Milky Way, photograph the grain elevator at Oberon at night, and see some trains. I drove from Winnipeg to Oberon and Brookdale, just north of Carberry. The sun has finally come up. Let’s continue.

After taking my selfie at Brookdale, I drove back to Oberon and drove straight south on Harte Road to… Harte!

Drone view of the Harte grain elevator
Drone view of the Harte grain elevator

There’s a grain elevator and siding at Harte, and a rare overpass. I’ve never understood why there’s an overpass over the tracks here where so many other roads cross CN and CP at grade. I’d love to know why.

Anyway, it does provide a rare elevated platform to view trains from. The nearest bridge over the CN main line is several miles west at Moffat, a railfan favourite location. I’ve only been there once and someday I’ll share those photos.

I flew my drone for a few minutes to get that sweet morning light on the Harte grain elevator. I believe this elevator is still in use for private grain storage. Sadly no trains came along while I was there.

After retrieving my drone, I headed east along the CN line to Gregg, the next town and the next grain elevator. Along the way, I stopped to photograph Petrel Junction, where the CN Carberry subdivision branches off from the Rivers main line. There’s a wye connection here.

CN Petrel Junction
CN Petrel Junction

The photo above is facing west and that’s the Harte grain elevator in the distance with the overpass beyond it. This wasn’t much after 7 AM and there weren’t any heat waves yet.

You might notice the headlights in the distance. I didn’t notice them.

I carried on east to Gregg and parked near the elevator and got my drone out to take a few photos. I launched and and the first few photos looked like this.

I feel the earth move under my drone
I feel the earth move under my drone

That isn’t right.

I landed the drone and cleaned the camera out. The little camera on my DJI Mavic Air drone is on a gimbal and can pivot horizontally and vertically. Sometimes it gets a little grit in there and this is what happens.

As I was cleaning the drone out, I saw headlights to the west… go time! I set the drone to hover and set up my video camera, then fetched my still camera to record the passage of CN 2931 and company.

CN 2931 passing the Gregg grain elevator
CN 2931 passing the Gregg grain elevator

The train looked pretty nice passing that former Manitoba Pool grain elevator.

How about from the air?

Another view of CN 2931 passing Gregg
Another view of CN 2931 passing Gregg

They weren’t going very fast and it became apparent to me that they were in the siding, slowing down for a meet.

It wasn’t long before the westbound train came along, headed by IC 2721 in CN paint.

IC 2721 out of the sunrise
IC 2721 out of the sunrise

I panned the drone as they went by to capture both trains with the elevator.

2721's turn to pass through Gregg
2721’s turn to pass through Gregg

The meet was brief. The eastbound train started rolling right after the tail of the westbound train cleared the switch. Very efficient!

Here’s the video of the whole thing.

I knew there wouldn’t be any more trains for a while, so I started driving back toward Winnipeg. I headed south to the Trans-Canada Highway then east into Portage la Prairie. I just missed catching an eastbound CP auto rack train, so I drove through the city and saw them just emerging on the east side.

There was a train in the siding by the Tucker grain elevator, and although I missed the head end of the eastbound train, I caught candy red CP 7045 mid-train on the train.

Candy red mid-train unit
Candy red mid-train unit

As the eastbound autorack train cleared, the westbound started pulling out of the siding, led by CP 8872.

CP 8872 West
CP 8872 West

I didn’t wait to see the rest of the westbound train. I wanted to get that eastbound train again.

As usual, it’s a hard chase to catch up on any train west of Winnipeg on the CP main line. I didn’t catch up with them until past Rosser.

Here they are passing the Viterra grain elevator, with the new elevator under construction in the background.

CP 8764 East, finally
CP 8764 East, finally

I had my video camera out to record its passage.

I noticed that the eastbound train was on the south track, which is not the main line. I guessed that a westbound train was coming soon, and sure enough CP 8928 came rolling along after a short wait with a very long grain train.

CP 8928 West with a lot of grain cars
CP 8928 West with a lot of grain cars

There was a mix of old and new grain cars throughout the train.

The first highlight of the train was this CP heritage locomotive mid-train, CP 7013.

Mid-train maroon and gold
Mid-train maroon and gold

The second highlight was this grain car, a disguised former Saskatchewan Wheat Pool car.

I'm no fool, that used to be the Pool
I’m no fool, that used to be the Pool

I carried on home after that, arriving shortly before noon. 12 hours through the night… a very productive and fun night, in my opinion.

I may have had a little nap later in the day, but I was surprisingly awake given that I skipped an entire night of sleep.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for the kind comments on the previous entries in the series!

If you like, you can go back to part 1 or part 2.

4 thoughts on “I Drove All Night, Part 3”

  1. Congratulations on a great series concept! I’ve much enjoyed all three parts and hope you more such things in the works.

    Reply
  2. A good set of pictures, Steve. I’m glad to see that the elevators at Harte and Gregg are being well maintained. The head house on the Gregg elevator appears to be much taller than typical. I would be interested to know why that is, considering that the annex doesn’t require the additional height.

    Reply
    • Thanks, Brian. I’ve seen those tall head houses on a few elevators. I wonder if they were refurbished and had some additional machinery that needed the extra space?

      Reply
  3. That could explain the taller head house. The elevator could have been refitted with dust collection equipment and the equipment could be placed in the expanded head house instead of being placed somewhere on the outside of the elevator. The dust collection equipment needs some space, but is not all that heavy.

    Reply

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