Return to Niverville

It’s very helpful as a railfan to develop a network of friends. You can share your good shots, commiserate on the “one that got away”, and share intelligence of interesting train movements. I’m fortunate to be friends with a good group of people who support each other.

Word came from “the network” that a Canadian Pacific heritage unit was coming north on the Emerson subdivision from the US. Long time readers know I have been “chasing the maroon” for some time, as I like the look of the refurbished SD70ACu locomotives that CP has decorated in the classic maroon and gold colours.

I hit the road on the evening of August 11 to capture CP 7013. I knew the train had two locomotives, so it was a 50/50 chance to have it leading the train.

I first stopped into Grande Pointe but I decided I would risk driving to Niverville to try capturing it by the grain elevator there. It was a risk because highway 59 doesn’t parallel the CP line and in fact at some points it is several kilometres away. In theory a train could slip by – even on the open prairie – and even if I saw it, I would be hard pressed to catch up to it and close the distance before it entered Winnipeg.

You may remember I caught my second “heritage unit” in Niverville back in February, leading a southbound oil train.

I arrived at Niverville, reasonably confident that I got there ahead of the train. There was no headlight to the south, so I parked my car and walked over near the community centre / rink to get the evening sun on the side of the train and elevator. The sun was dancing in and out of the clouds, which was helpful for staying cool but not so good for photos.

Eventually I spotted a headlight far to the south and readied my equipment to capture the train. As it approached Niverville, a cloud covered the sun… sigh

I first captured it passing the great heritage sign in town. Niverville is notable for being where the first grain elevator in the Prairies was built, and the photo above shows three different grain storage buildings – a flat warehouse on the left, a “traditional” elevator in the middle, and the original grain elevator on the right. The flat warehouses came before grain elevators and were very labour intensive. The original, round, elevator was demolished in 1923.

CP 7013 passing the Niverville grain elevator
CP 7013 passing the Niverville grain elevator

The current elevator in Niverville was built by Manitoba Pool Elevators in 1981. It’s the same style as elevators in Manitou and elsewhere in the province, featuring a rectangular building with elevating machinery on the roof. They aren’t the prettiest elevators…

The light wasn’t too bad as the train passed. You’ll see in the video below that the sun came back out while the train was still passing.

CP 8059 mid-train in Niverville
CP 8059 mid-train in Niverville

The mid-train locomotive was CP 8059. Note the battered ex Union Pacific gondola next to it. That’s seen some abuse!

Once the train passed, I packed up my gear and returned to my car. I half heartedly chased the train north, not expecting to beat it to Winnipeg. I didn’t win the race.

Instead, I turned right and headed toward Symington Yard and the CN Sprague subdivision. I exited the Perimeter onto the Trans-Canada Highway heading east, and immediately spotted a headlight in the distance. A westbound coming into Winnipeg!

Deacon’s Corner

CN 2244 and a big bush!
CN 2244 and a big bush!

The evening light looked great on the nose of the train as it approached. CN 2244 was the sole unit on the intermodal train as it rolled toward me. They weren’t going super fast – certainly not the 60 MPH limit shown below!

60 MPH
60 MPH

It took a while for the long train to pass. I was shooting video and I edited it down to a brief 46 seconds, showing the head end and the locomotive on the tail end.

Once that train passed, I decided to head a little east along the Sprague subdivision, hoping for another train. As I approached the Lorette siding, I saw red signal lights facing me, meaning there was a train on the other side of the lights somewhere “in the block”. It could have been a train in the Lorette siding that was waiting for the train I just saw to pass, or it could be another westbound…

I drove beside the siding, and saw headlights to the east. I pulled off and set up to catch the approaching train.

Next Train

I waited.

And waited.

It became painfully apparent that this train wasn’t moving.

I packed everything up and continued east, and I quickly encountered CN 3800 West sitting just short of a private crossing.

CN 3800 patiently waiting
CN 3800 patiently waiting

I don’t know why they were waiting there. The main track and siding were both empty at Lorette, but maybe they were too long for either, or they were heading straight into Winnipeg but there wasn’t room in Symington Yard for them yet. Shrug.

After photographing the head end, I drove along the train to see if there were any interesting cars. There was a shiny new DPU locomotive in the middle, CN 3897.

Mid train CN 3897
Mid train CN 3897

The most interesting car was this golden CAT on a flatcar. What a nice looking machine!

CAT is where it's AT
CAT is where it’s AT

That was it for me that night.

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12 thoughts on “Return to Niverville”

  1. I saw two acu’s on the head end of a train heading west out of Winnipeg monday night. The lead was a heritage unit but I was too far away in a combine to catch the number!
    Nice footage as always Steve!

  2. Good evening Steve. Managed to catch 7013 and 7025 at Niverville. Took CEFX 1044 and 1039 with them. You probably know this but 7022 was in town and left solo with empty grain hoppers down P22 route normally 2297 and 2238 ‘s route

    • Hi Cliff, I guess the “blue birds” are finally going home.

      Is the P22 route the Glenboro subdivision or the La Riviere?

      • P22 is called the Rathwell sub. and right now at 9:50 AM 7022 is on a ready track at the shops. Nothing blocking it. Two more “blue birds” 1030 and 1059 are making their journey south behind 7035.

        • That would be fun to see the “blue birds” leaving. Any idea when they’ll be heading south on the Emerson?

  3. Hi Steve.

    Yes its a great group to be involved with. Having that network is helpful finding the next great shot, and also shoot the breeze waiting for the next train!

  4. 7023 will be going out as midtrain DPU on 298 behind CP 8655 and a dead CSX 1058. 7025 came in as the 2nd unit on 299

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