Thank You, Jet Lag

Sweet, sweet sunrise
Sweet, sweet sunrise

I never regret getting up early to take photos. Whether I’m on vacation or at home, getting those early photos is worth losing a bit of sleep. I’m a big fan of sunrise photography.

We were in Europe recently on a family trip – that’s a post or two in the future – and we returned to Canada on July 24. It was a long day of travel, after two weeks “across the pond”.

Not surprisingly, I woke up really early on July 25 -at 3:11 AM. That would have been 10:11 AM in Paris, so I guess it was “sleeping in”. Anyway, I awoke and knew that I was up for the duration.

After messing around on my computer for a bit, processing the thousands of photos I took in Europe, I thought to check VIA Rail’s web site to see if there were any trains around. Lo and behold, the eastbound Canadian, VIA 2, was still in Winnipeg at 5 AM.

VIA is scheduled to depart Winnipeg just before midnight, at 23:30, so it was several hours late. It occurred to me that I could zip up to the Dugald area and catch it heading into the sunrise. That seemed like a good use of my early morning…

I hit the road, going around the Perimeter Highway to the Dugald Road / Highway 15. I pulled off and checked the web site again and VIA was just starting to move. Great!

I pulled off onto Pineridge Road to the small unsignaled crossing there to wait for VIA.

However, CN had other plans…

CN Goes First

CN 5775 West at sunrise
CN 5775 West at sunrise

As I crossed the tracks, I saw headlights far to the east. CN was running a freight through before VIA could have the Redditt subdivision, I guess!

I got my drone in the air and waited for the train to come along. It turned out to have old warrior SD75I CN 5775 leading, and CN 218x trailing. I never caught that unit’s number.

Here’s the video, with a little royalty-free music added from

Sunrise Dash 9

That was a nice bonus.

After the train passed, I brought the drone back “home” to save its battery for VIA’s arrival. Here’s the train receding to the west; I’m standing on Pineridge road on the right.

Distant selfie
Distant selfie

I checked VIA’s site and the train was sitting short of Transcona Yard, several kilometres to the west of me. They certainly had to wait for the westbound freight I saw to clear off the single track main line before they could come.

Almost 20 minutes after the freight left, VIA came along…

The Eastbound Canadian

For VIA, I had a ground video camera running, my drone in the air taking video, and I shot off a few stills one-handed. There’s definitely a risk in trying to do too much… but it worked out this time.

VIA's Canadian from a drone
VIA’s Canadian from a drone

The image above is a frame from the video below.

Aerial view of VIA Rail’s “Canadian”

After VIA passed by, I gave chase for a few minutes to ensure they weren’t stopping in Dugald or Anola. They rolled through both at high speed, so there was no sense in pursuing any farther. I turned around and headed home, satisfied.

2 thoughts on “Thank You, Jet Lag”

  1. Hi Steve,
    I’m impressed with the shots you’re getting from the drone! I may
    have to pick one up fairly soon. However first on the list is a new DSLR
    the 77D which you suggested.
    Thanks for the great photos and a great blog!
    Ian Walker

    • Hi Ian, thanks, I really enjoy using the drone! It gives a unique perspective.

      You can’t go wrong with the 77D – I love it. 🙂


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