Phoning It In

One recent evening, I went to the St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg for an MRI. I have some neck pain and numbness, and my doctor ordered the MRI to see what’s going on.

I was on “standby”, meaning they would fit me in between patients sometime between 5:45 PM and 9 PM. I was guaranteed to get an MRI sometime in that period.

It turned out that I had my MRI pretty quickly.


I’m not claustrophobic in general but I was… anxious… for the first couple of minutes in the machine. Once I calmed myself down, it was OK. 15 minutes later, I was done and out of there, with one last squirt of hand sanitizer “to go”.

Since I had some unexpected time on my hands, and the sun was still up, I decided to go railfan the St. Boniface area. I didn’t have any camera gear with me, so I used my iPhone 8 for the photos in this post.

St. Boniface

St. Boniface Yard
St. Boniface Yard

In the CP yard near the GWWD, CP 2240 and 4441 were idling away. The Central Grain complex that used to stand at the right edge of the above photo was demolished last year, and the skyline looks odd with it gone. On the plus side, sunset light can get into the yard now!

Fortunately for me, a westbound train came rolling along the CP Emerson subdivision. I recorded it with my phone as it passed by the yard and rolled under the CN “high line”. Very soon after the head end of the CP train passed, an eastbound CN train rolled over top of the CP train. It’s all in the video below.

After all that excitement, I walked back to my car and started driving away. I noticed a movement in my rear mirror and hurriedly pulled off and ran back to catch this shot of CN 8855 East.

Passing the "mushroom farm"
Passing the “mushroom farm”

The Loveday Mushroom Farms Ltd. facility is well known in the area and can often produce a distinctive… aroma.

That train was just crawling along, so I didn’t linger.

Symington Yard

Rolling through Symington yard
Rolling through Symington yard

I drove around CN’s Symington Yard to the southeast end, where I saw CN 3027 coming off the Sprague subdivision and rolling through the yard.

Note the maintenance-of-way device behind the locomotive. It might be a ballast cleaner?

CN 3837 was a DPU locomotive.

I figured that was it for trains for me. There was the usual “humping” action with the humpyard dogs pushing trains over the hump, but there weren’t any trains waiting to leave on the Sprague subdivision.

I didn’t expect any more trains to come off the Sprague, since CN 3027 had just arrived, but I was wrong.

Bonus Train

As I drove past the end of Symington, I turned to cross the tracks and saw a train approaching. I quickly parked and arranged myself to include the Tinkertown Family Fun Park sign in the shot.

CN 3148 and 2509 brought a general freight train off the Sprague sub into the yard. I didn’t record the entire train because my phone filled up!

Darn iPhones with their fixed storage…

After the video stopped, I deleted a few photos to make room for a few snapshots of the remainder of the train.

I liked the beat up boxcar below.

The tail end had a few bulkhead flatcars on them. These must be special purpose as the bulkheads seem pretty short.

That was it. Hang up the phone!

Just One More Thing

I just finished a great book, The Lost Man by Jane Harper. This is a slow-burner of a mystery novel. It’s set in Australia and leads off with a man who died of exposure in the desert, not far from his fully operational, unlocked vehicle stocked with food and water. I read the whole thing in an evening… I couldn’t put it down. Highly recommended.

12 thoughts on “Phoning It In”

    • Thanks. Speaking of phoning it in, I received the results by phone from my doctor. Results? No issues found in the MRI, which I guess is good in a way. On to physio, once the coronavirus recedes and a physiotherapist is available.

  1. No issues after an MRI is always good news Steve!
    I agree St. B don’t look the same without Central Grain.

    • Thank you so much, Harrison! You know the old saying – the best camera is the one you have with you. 🙂

  2. I have used my cellphone at times to photograph trains… I prefer my regular camera but at least the phone is something! Better than nothing at all (I think at least) 😉

    • More and more I find myself using my camera with the long lens as the train approaches, then switching to the phone as the train goes by.

  3. Some old fallen flags on that train but speaking of fallen, I can’t believe that grain terminal is gone, but I just checked Street View and there it… isn’t. Someone must think that land is more valuable than I do to justify removing the terminal before selling the land. Then again, the upgraded intersection at Mission is a surprise too.

    • I guess it was a business decision to close Central Grain. The building may have been in poor shape, and in these days it’s hard to build a new grain elevator in a city.

      It’s quite a change to the area, though, to not have that building there any more!

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