Snowshoe Railfanning

I’ve been looking for something to do during the winter besides huddling inside waiting for warmer weather. Late last year I asked Santa for a pair of snowshoes and on Christmas morning this HRKING set was under the tree.

After a couple of outings, I decided to combine railfanning with snowshoeing on February 11. I drove around the Perimeter toward the CN main line. On the way, I spotted a pair of CP locomotives at the Plains Midstream facility here.

This plant takes natural gas from the pipeline and distributes it via railway tank cars and trucks. They are served by CP off the La Riviere subdivision and have two tracks that can handle more than a dozen tank cars. They get switched often by CP.

Photograph of red locomotives behind a series of fences

There were two CP locomotives on the spur, waiting outside the gate to the facility. I saw this as an opportunity to photograph some angles I haven’t captured before.

Note the giant snow fence protecting the tank cars and equipment. The wind blows pretty hard in this area!

Photograph of a row of black railway tank cars behind a fence

Later, at the CN main line, a few CN foremen (forepersons?) were watching from their pickup trucks as this contractor was picking ties up from the side of the track.

Colour winter photograph showing a rail mounted truck picking objects up using a crane.

My plan was to park near this crossing at about mile 16.5, then break out the snowshoes and go tromping through Beaudry Provincial Park. I had no particular destination.

As I set out northward, camera bag on my back, I found an east-west snowmobile trail and I followed it west. After a few minutes, a westbound train came rolling along, so I took a few photos.

Photograph showing yellow diamond sign saying "Two Way Trail" in front of snow covered path, with out of focus train on the horizon.

While I was on the north side of the tracks, I decided to photograph the low concrete bridge near mile 17. This isn’t much of a structure but I hadn’t seen this side before.

I crossed the tracks and started heading back toward my car. Fortunately an eastbound train came rolling along. I used my snowshoes to walk over some snow and get just inside the pole line to photograph the long double-stack train in some nice morning light.

Long container train on a two track railway passing between signals

Without the snowshoes, I would have been up to my hips in snow! Well, honestly, I wouldn’t have gone to that spot at all without the snowshoes. I think these are going to live in my car’s trunk this winter.

I finished my 3 km circuit and returned to my car. This was my route.

Map showing the route taken during a snowshoe excursion

That was a fun combination of railfanning and snowshoeing.

I’m thinking about going east to the Whiteshell area to do some snowshoeing. We’ll see how ambitious I really am this winter!

4 thoughts on “Snowshoe Railfanning”

  1. I used my snowshoes to get to an otherwise inaccessible abandoned trestle in my area. Much better than tromping through a swamp in bug season. I used to keep mine in the trunk as well.

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