It’s All About the Grain Cars

I often go railfanning on Sunday morning. The rest of the family usually sleeps in, and I wake up early pretty much every day, so it’s either putter around quietly at home or go look for trains. The trains usually win…

On January 17 I left the house around 8 AM and headed up to the CN main line on the west side of the city. I found a grain train waiting at Hall Road, which is around mile 12 of the CN Rivers subdivision. This is a common spot for eastbound trains to stop to wait to enter Winnipeg.

I took the shot above and then drove along the train, looking for any interesting cars. I was excited to see this car.

POOOOOL - WFRX 850713
POOOOOL – WFRX 850713

I am always looking for ex Saskatchewan Wheat Pool cars. This made me happy.

There was a trio of new CN “jumbo” grain hoppers in the train as well.

A trio of new CN grain hoppers
A trio of new CN grain hoppers

I find it interesting that some of the new hoppers have horizontal lines on them, presumably some kind of internal reinforcements.

The train also had this KYLE hopper in the consist.

KYLE grain car
KYLE grain car

Satisfied that this train wasn’t moving any time soon, I kept heading west through the blowing snow.

CN 3279 East

CN 3279 waiting at mile 15
CN 3279 waiting at mile 15

I found another train waiting. CN 3279 was stopped just short of Wascana Road at mile 15, another common spot for CN trains to wait. I took a few photos but I saw they had a green light on the south track, so I didn’t venture far. Soon enough, they rang the bell and started pulling east.

I relocated to the east side of Diamond to capture them coming past the signals there.

CN 3279 passing mile 14
CN 3279 passing mile 14

The telephoto lens really exaggerates the amount of snow in the air. It wasn’t snowing any harder here, but there was a lot more air between the camera and the train here, so it looks snowier. I like the effect.

(Is “snowier” a word?)

After the head end passed, I took off for the CP main line north of my location.

The Oak Point Subdivision

CN grain hoppers on the Oak Point subdivision
CN grain hoppers on the Oak Point subdivision

There were no trains on the CP main line, but I could see a long string of new CN grain hoppers near the Prairie Dog Central (PDC) station on the CN Oak Point subdivision. The Prairie Dog owns the majority of what’s left of that subdivision, but CN owns the portion between the CP main line and the Paterson grain elevator near the PDC.

I started driving over there to see what was up, but before I got there the train started to move. I pulled off near the overpass over the CP main line and watched as the train rolled toward the CP main line. CN has running rights over CP to access this isolated section of CN track.

I never caught the locomotive numbers but I think the lead unit was CN 2146 or something like that. I liked the perspective below with some of downtown Winnipeg visible.

CN going onto the CP main line
CN going onto the CP main line

I drove into Winnipeg with the hope of seeing the CN train passing through the CP yard downtown. My timing was well off and I never really saw it clearly. Oh well.

I decided to try CN one more time on my way home.

One More Grain Train

CN 5630 kicking up some snow
CN 5630 kicking up some snow

I spotted this eastbound train and caught them at Hall Road, where the first train in this post was stopped. This one wasn’t stopping!

The train was a long set of GrainsConnect grain hoppers. GrainsConnect is a relatively new company in the Canadian grain scene and owns several large grain terminals in western Canada.

A solid train of GrainsConnect grain hoppers
A solid train of GrainsConnect grain hoppers

These hoppers have a few different reporting marks, mostly WFRX but also NKLX, and bear the GrainsConnect “grain world” logo. WFRX is for Wells Fargo Rail Corp and NKLX is Enkay Leasing. It seems to be that these cars are leased but I could be wrong.

The end
The end

Just One More Thing

Recently I accidentally ran the battery down on my Honda Civic and I couldn’t start it. I did have jumper cables but I’ve never had success using my van to jump start anything. I decided to buy a Motomaster Eliminator 1400 booster pack to boost the car instead.

This thing is the cat’s meow. It is super easy to hook up and boost a car; it takes less than 5 minutes to pop the hood, hook it up and start the car. My father-in-law used mine without reading any directions.

It can only boost a car once and then it has to recharge for a few hours. It just plugs into the wall to recharge and you can leave it plugged in to ensure it stays charged. It also comes with a car adapter so you could use your car to charge it back up.

It also has a built-in air compressor, which I’ve used on my van’s tires. It’s not fast by any means but it’s convenient to have a compressor. It includes some USB ports but I haven’t used those.

I’m not compensated in any way to mention this. I just wanted to share the positive experience I’ve had with it. We’re going to keep this in the vehicle for any long road trips… a little peace of mind. Recommended.

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