Strangers in Town

Here are a few “oddball” locomotives that have visited the One Great City Heart of the Continent, aka Winnipeg. Most of these are what we railfans call these “foreign power”, meaning locomotives that belong to railway X but running on railway Y’s rails.

February 21, 2021

I was all over the map this day. First I was along the CN Rivers subdivision, capturing this train by the golf dome on Wilkes Avenue.

By the golf dome
By the golf dome

Next, I was out on the Sprague subdivision. I captured a meet at the Lorette siding, featuring an eastbound stack train rolling past on the main. That was interesting enough, but it was the locomotives on the westbound train in the siding that were really interesting to me.

Once I photographed the eastbound train, I went back toward Winnipeg and found the westbound train already on the move. I got ahead of them before the city and recorded them rolling past.

So much power
So much power

The lead locomotive was nothing special, “yet another GE”, but the following locomotives were all interesting to me. First were a pair of CN SD40-2 locomotives featuring “CN North America” logos, one standard cab and one wide cab.

CNNA FTW
CNNA FTW

The final two locomotives were the real prize – a pair of Bessemer & Lake Erie locomotives, BLE 903 and 909.

BLE 903 in CN colours
BLE 903 in CN colours

These bad boys are ex Southern Pacific “tunnel motor” SD40T-3 locomotives. A “tunnel motor” is a locomotive with the air intakes close to the frame so they suck in cleaner air in tunnels. According to this page, they were originally SD45T-2 locomotives and rebuilt to SD40T-3 specifications.

Bessemer & Lake Erie 909
Bessemer & Lake Erie 909

I really like that black and orange scheme – very bold.

Since CN acquired the Bessemer & Lake Erie in 2004 when it purchased Great Lakes Transportation, which also included the Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway (DMIR). Apparently the BLE units were maintained by a shop in the US that CN recently closed, so these units will be coming to Transcona in Winnipeg for maintenance. That’s good for the local railfans!

March 7, 2021

I was railfanning along the CP Carberry subdivision around sunrise on March 7. There was a CP train working the Paterson grain elevator in northwest Winnipeg, so I waited around until it finished its work there and continued westward.

I recorded it near Rosser, Manitoba bathed in hazy side light.

CP 9709 on the move
CP 9709 on the move

After they passed my position, I gave chase. I didn’t have much hope of catching them again before Marquette, but as we passed Meadows and got closer to Marquette, I saw the signals facing CP 9709 West weren’t green.

It turned out that they had a meet at Marquette. 9709 W didn’t stop but they did slow for the meet, enabling me to get close enough to the meet to jump out and record it with my phone. The crew of the east-facing train were on the ground for the rollby inspection.

The meet at Marquette
The meet at Marquette

Note the locomotives on the other train!

After the meet, I took a few quick shots of the eastbound train before moving east. The train looked great in that early morning light.

CP 8045 East at the Marquette "1 mile" sign
CP 8045 East at the Marquette “1 mile” sign

I chose to wait at the east end of the Meadows siding for the train. I had my drone in the air to record the scene and the video camera on the tripod.

Rolling past the Meadows siding
Rolling past the Meadows siding

The lead unit was CP 8045, followed by BNSF 5122 and a trio of Norfolk Southern locomotives, 7227, 7218 and 7226.

BNSF 5122 is a GE Dash-9, and in looking this up I found that I saw that unit in Fargo, North Dakota back in June 2013. Huh!

Ex NS 7218 and 7227

NS 7216, 7218 and 7227 are three of six SD80MAC locomotives acquired by CP from Norfolk Southern (according to this page). An SD80MAC isn’t a lot different from an SD90MAC, as far as I can see from Wikipedia, so this units will be used as parts sources for the SD70ACu rebuilds that Progress Rail is doing for CP.

Norfolk Southern, BNSF and CP, oh my!
Norfolk Southern, BNSF and CP, oh my!

June 12, 2021

A sextet of Union Pacific power
A sextet of Union Pacific power

I photographed these six ex Union Pacific locomotives (UP 3644, 3685, 3729, 3553, 3767, and 3759) at CP’s Weston shops in Winnipeg on June 12th. I understand they have been here for a while, but I hadn’t been in the area for some time so this was the first time I saw them.

I believe these are all SD9043MAC locomotives. This is the same locomotive model that CP sent to Progress Rail for rebuilding into SD70ACu locomotives, so I assume these six will become more AC70u units.

Ex UP 3685 in Winnipeg
Ex UP 3685 in Winnipeg

In the above photo, you can see CP 6054 and UP 3660’s numbers peeking out between 3685 and 3644. There are a lot of stored units around Weston these days.

Other Posts

Here are a few other posts I’ve made about “foreign power”:

6 thoughts on “Strangers in Town”

  1. Well done getting pictures of these unusual locomotives Steve. CN’s fleet of SD40-2s must be dwindling, though these two look to be well maintained. The orange paint on the BLE locomotive looks to be in really good condition. I don’t know how many BLE tunnel motors CN has on the roster, but hopefully CN keeps them in active service for a while yet. Maybe I’ll get to see one someday.

    Reply
  2. Hey Steve: Great power from away shots, always a highlight for railfans everywhere. The “tunnel motor” comment re “Cleaner air” down low, it is more like “Cooler” air down low. Actually, one of the downsides to tunnel motors when not in tunnels is they suck “Dirty air” down low when out and about in the daylight.
    Seems like high/low grills with louvers would solve all, but time has marched on with rads a 3rd the size of the new loco 🙂
    Take care as I hear heat is on the way for you, I’ll think of you as stoke the woodstove in Saint John. –sigh!

    SteveO

    Reply
    • Hi SteveO, I hadn’t thought about the problems tunnel motors have in normal operation. Interesting… and yes, cooler rather than cleaner air. Today’s “big butt” locomotives with their giant rads look quite different than the sleeker hood units of the past.

      Reply

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