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!
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.
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.
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.
The train looked pretty nice passing that former Manitoba Pool grain elevator.
How about from the air?
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.
I panned the drone as they went by to capture both trains with the elevator.
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.
As the eastbound autorack train cleared, the westbound started pulling out of the siding, led by CP 8872.
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.
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.
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.
The second highlight was this grain car, a disguised former Saskatchewan Wheat Pool car.
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!