Rumour had it that “heritage” locomotive CP 7018 was on train CP 298 due into Winnipeg early Saturday morning, August 8. Nobody knew if it was in the lead or not, but it was coming.
I awoke at my usual 6 AM, and after a shower and a quick breakfast, I was on the road up to the CP Carberry subdivision to await 298’s arrival. It would be coming from the west, so it would have morning light on the nose.
I saw a distant headlight to the east – a westbound, not the train I wanted – so I decided to head west away from Winnipeg to a sunflower field I knew about from previous visits to the area this summer.
On the way, I took a quick capture of these BNSF cars at the Paterson grain elevator in northwest Winnipeg. I took a 3 shot burst to make an HDR (high dynamic range) image so they weren’t completely in shadow.
I passed a railfan parked near the west end of the Makwa siding and gave him a few toots of the horn as I drove by.
Once I reached the field just west of Rosser, I set up on the sun side of the tracks and launched my drone. Another good reason for going west out of Winnipeg was to get far enough from the James Richardson airport so I could legally fly the drone. You have to be a minimum of 5 nautical miles away.
As the train approached, I noted the high headlights on the nose. Not a toaster!
It turned out to be a fast moving Herzog ballast train headed by CP 6251.
Here’s a snapshot from the video of the train. I have to say that the sunflowers aren’t impressive from the air. Something to keep in mind for the future.
After the train passed, I packed up and continued west. The Herzog train slowed down significantly around Meadows so I was able to get ahead of them. I think there was a slow order in the area, as there was a lot of track maintenance equipment in the siding. Maybe this train was contributing ballast to the effort?
As I set up for the second shot at the Herzog train, Mark Perry pulled up and took his own shots. He was the railfan I passed earlier.
We ended up at the east end of the Meadows siding and met up with a third railfan, Jim Burnside. We had a good chat as the “three old farts” who were up early and trackside.
While we were chatting, the signals lit up and soon another westbound train came along. It was a general freight led by CP 2313, about half an hour after the Herzog train.
Mark and I elected to head to Rosser. He set up to photograph the train across the sunflower field. I was nearer the tracks and kept an eye out for an approaching train.
Eventually I saw headlights to the west. We were wondering if 7018 was leading the train. I took a photo and zoomed in on the back of the camera. “Is it red or grey??” Gray and gold! Score!
I had my ground video camera and the drone on the “sun” side of the train. I took a photo or two from that side, then stepped across the crossing (before it activated) to shoot the train from the “dark side”.
Mark scored the killer shot of the day across the sunflowers. A shot for me to keep in mind for another day…
I really liked the light on the nose of 7018. It looks quite sharp with the beaver!
I thought it was the lead unit that was smoking, but the second locomotive CP 9750 was literally smoking. As in, maybe on fire.
Here’s another still from the drone video. It looks like there’s a lot of oil and there’s smoke coming out from the hood.
After the train passed, I packed everything up and headed east. The train wasn’t going very fast, and I was able to overtake it after the Perimeter Highway and caught it at the mile 8.1 signals with Jim and Mark.
I had the Akaso EK7000 camera at ground level, too.
By this time, the trailing unit was no longer smoking.
Jim and Mark left while I was “trapped” by the train. Once it passed, I went to my car and headed into Winnipeg. The train was still moving but barely crawling as it approached the “Woodman” control point.
I decided to shoot it from the new overpass over the tracks, and Jim was already there. I liked this shot with the train approaching Winnipeg with the skyline in the background.
Here’s my video of CP 7018 at two locations, with three cameras. Maybe I overcomplicate railfanning…
Just One More Thing
At Rosser, Mark Perry took this great photo of me waving to the engineer. I always like to wave when I have a free hand.
It looks like I am standing really close but Mark was using a telephoto lens, which appears to compress everything. You can see in the video above how far I was really standing from the rails.