I was acting on a little intel on May 1, 2021 when I went out in the late afternoon to make some train photos. A little birdie had told me that there were some interesting old switchers visible at the CN Transcona shops, and another little birdie told me that a CP heritage locomotive was coming into the city on train CP 119. Why not take a drive and kill two birds with one stone?
(maybe I’m mixing my metaphors a little too much!)
The first job was to catch CP 119. I had some idea of when it would reach Winnipeg but certainly not a precise time. On my way around the city to Deacon Road northeast of the city, I encountered a train leaving Winnipeg on the CN Sprague subdivision. I decided to chase it – a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush!
I chased this train from the Perimeter Highway east past the Lorette siding toward Dufresne. As I drove past, I noted there was a train in the siding at Lorette – more on that later. The eastbound train rolled right on past, free as a bird.
Well down in the eastbound train was one bright green rail car, POTX 1547, bearing Nutrien green. This was my first sighting of one of these cars.
Nutrien was formed by the merger of PotashCorp and Agrium, becoming the largest potash producer in the world and the third largest nitrogen fertilizer producer in the world. They own many rail cars like this, mostly pink PotashCorp or grey Agrium cars, but they did paint or repaint a few into Nutrien green. I don’t believe there are many of these cars around, because A) painting cars costs money, and B) the paint vandals just ruin them anyway.
Leaving off the chase at this point, I raced back toward Winnipeg to record the train that had been in the Lorette siding. It wasn’t moving too quickly so I was able to capture it on camera and on video.
This train also had a few interesting cars – two different ElastoFlo cars.
Sadly the graffiti vandals have crapped all over them, like Canada Geese crapping over, well, everything.
Hoping that my deviation from “the plan” hadn’t made me miss CP 119, I hurried on around the Perimeter Highway and made my way up to the CP Keewatin subdivision. As I crossed the tracks at Deacon Road, I looked east and saw headlights!
Right On Time
Quickly driving to one of my favourite spots, a culvert at mile 116.72 of the Keewatin subdivision, I set up to record the train. Sadly the heritage unit wasn’t in the lead, but at least CP 8077 was relatively clean.
The promised heritage unit, CP 7016, was in the middle of the train.
I’ve seen CP 7016 a few times now (Chasing the Maroon, The Maroon and the Military). I’m not really keeping track of which of the CP 7000 series I’ve seen, now that I’ve seen all five military units. I still like to see them!
With that done, it was time to go to Transcona to see what old
junkers treasures could be seen. As the crow flies, it was 6.25 km to the Transcona yard, but it was 10.75 km for this non-avian railfan.
Dead as a Dodo
Seven doomed locomotives were easily visible from Pandora Avenue:
- CN 1409 – GMD1
- WC 1565 – SW1500
- CN 1570 – SW1500
- GTW 4620 – GP9R
- CN 7239 – GP9RM
- CN 7028 – GP9RM
- WC 1567 – SW1500
I’ve never seen so many SW1500s in one place. I guess birds of a feather flock together?
Poor CN 7239 looked in really rough shape, with the engineer’s window boarded over, number boards removed and many hood doors gaping open.
A few more locomotives were visible behind other equipment, like WC 1567 below.
Your eagle eye might have spotted a few BC Rail Dash-8 locomotives in the background as well. I understand they have all been retired now, along with the ugly duckling GMD1s and apparently some if not all SW1500s. I guess CN is cleaning house. I wonder what they will be using for switching operations…
I left the area and started making my way home, driving south on Plessis Road past Symington Yard. I saw another unusual sight by the hump in the yard.
Jordan spreader CN 50937 was seen on work train duty in the Winnipeg area recently. Apparently it was having a little break in the yard between jobs, resting its wings. I was sure I had seen that spreader before, but it was 50943 I was thinking about.
On the other side of the hump was CN transfer caboose CN 76665.
One last thing that caught my eye was the set of power pushing cars over the hump. GTW 5943 and 5949 aren’t new to me, but that third unit was definitely “not like the others”.
CN 5288 was the first wide cab SD40-2 I’ve seen in hump service at Symington. I guess it’s sunk low enough on CN’s roster to be assigned to hump power!
With that, I headed home, happy as a lark.