I mentioned in “A Nice Variety” that I was heading out to Portage la Prairie, Manitoba to see the Portage Model Railway Club‘s layouts in the former CP train station.
After I visited the CP yard, I drove west along the CP main line and found a train approaching the Makwa siding by the Viterra “Rosser” grain elevators. I set up on the 5 E road and recorded them rolling past.
I think I’ve mentioned that Viterra is building a new grain elevator just north of the one you see in the photo above. It will have a loop track and in fact that track is under construction now.
Note the ex Amtrak ballast car with a car mover. I think that is owned by the nearby Great Plains Rail Contractors, who I’m guessing have the contract to build the loop track.
Here’s the video of that train rolling past the elevator.
That was a good start to the trip to Portage.
I decided to drop south to the CN main line and follow it to Portage la Prairie. I just missed the head end of an eastbound train as I approached Diamond, so I stopped to take a few photos of the miles of containers and just take it in.
As I watched, a westbound train went rolling by on the south track.
After the trains cleared the crossing, I chased the westbound train on highway 427, slowly overtaking the head end. Soon I saw a headlight to the west, indicating another eastbound train. I got “far enough” ahead of the westbound train and quickly parked, jumping out to set up video and grab one long range photo of the westbound freight train before the eastbound train blocked my view.
In the video below, you can see CN 3169 West roll by first, followed by CN 8885 East peeking between containers on the north track. I wish I had stopped just a little bit further west so I could have shot 8885 first.
I didn’t see any more trains on the way to Portage la Prairie, but things were pretty hot as I arrived.
The first thing I noticed was a west-facing train sitting in the CP yard.
The west-facing signal is green over red (CLEAR) in the photo above, so I knew an eastbound train was coming. I quickly parked at the former CP station.
Grabbing my stuff, I quickly ran back across the street to set up for the eastbound CP train.
The train had a Union Pacific locomotive in the middle.
After the CP train cleared the diamond at the west end of the city, it was CN’s turn to head east through Portage la Prairie. I relocated to the roadway in between the CN and CP main lines and set up to record the train passing the former CN station.
I was happy to include a bit of the fall colour in the shot.
After that train rolled east, I checked back on CP but that “westbound” train was still sitting there. I put my gear in the car and headed into the station.
While I was admiring this layout on the east end of the station, I heard a train going by – CP 8106 West was on its way. I stepped through the open door on the track side and took a few shots. Note the fence protecting bystanders from the live track.
Back in the station… here are a few more views. I’m not sure how many layouts were on display – more than six – but there was a great variety of scales and scenes.
I believe Portage la Prairie Heritage Inc. owns the station. The station looks great and I’ve been excited to see all the progress made since the 2003 fire.
After I finished touring the station – and talking with Peter and Joe from It’s Train Time – I headed home. I didn’t see a single train on CN on my way home, oddly enough. That was OK.
Peter and Joe published a video about this show – have a look!
Please consider donating to Portage la Prairie Heritage Inc. to support the restoration and maintenance of the station. I have.