The Glorious First of June – Part 2

A glorious sunset
A glorious sunset

After the railfanning and grain elevator-ing (vatorfanning?) I did in the morning of June 1, I would have been quite satisfied. However, there was more to come before the day was complete.

My daughter was out with friends and I was tasked to pick her up at 10 PM. The rest of us were at a family function, with two vehicles. When things wrapped up, it was too late for me to go home then back out again, so my wife encouraged me to go railfan until it was time to get our daughter. I didn’t complain!

Empty Tracks

We were on the north side of the city, so I headed west along the CP Carberry subdivision toward Meadows, looking for trains on the main line. I got all the way to Meadows – site of the former grain elevator – without seeing a train.

Golden tracks, no trains
Golden tracks, no trains

(Before you complain about me being unsafe by taking photos between the rails, know two things – I was at a crossing, and I could literally see for miles in each direction. There were no trains.)

I was happy with the photos of empty tracks with the sunset light, but I’d prefer to have a train in the photos!

I headed east toward Winnipeg.

Light it Up

Red lights facing, railfan's heart racing
Red lights facing, railfan’s heart racing

As I approached the Viterra grain elevator at CP Makwa, just before the Perimeter Highway, I saw the west facing lights were lit and red. That meant there was a train on the other side of the signals!

I pulled off the highway onto a side road, parked, and set up to record the oncoming train. I set up my video camera on a tripod and prepared to shoot stills as the train went by, framed by the signals. I couldn’t fly my drone here as it is too close to the Winnipeg airport.

CP 8100 West

CP 8100 West at Makwa, west of Winnipeg
CP 8100 West at Makwa, west of Winnipeg

That sunset light looked great on the nose of CP 8100 as it rolled past the siding. This was at 9:17 PM so I was shooting at ISO 400 to get a shutter speed of 1/500s to freeze the action, with an aperture of f/6.3.


Note that only one number board was lit. Time to change a light bulb!

The second locomotive was a BNSF loco, BNSF 6615. I swear the train almost looked better going away than it did coming toward me.

BNSF 6615 and CP 8100 going west into the sunset
BNSF 6615 and CP 8100 going west into the sunset

Here’s the video:

CP 8100 West video

I can’t get enough of golden sunsets.

The train did have a DPU, CP 9813.

The DPU - CP 9813
The DPU – CP 9813

It wasn’t just a container train, though. There were about 20 freight cars tacked on the end, a little bit of everything!

A variety pack of freight cars
A variety pack of freight cars

Satisfied, I continued east along the highway paralleling the CP tracks. I paused briefly to photograph the grain elevator in silhouette.

Another Train!?

I’m always on the lookout for headlights on the rails when I’m near train tracks. I spotted something up ahead in the gathering darkness, but I wasn’t sure until I pulled off to have a better look. Sure enough, another westbound train was coming. I didn’t have much time to set up, so I just took stills.

CP 8058 West
CP 8058 West

Here’s CP 8058 West. I was still shooting at ISO 400 but I opened the aperture to f/5.0 and dropped the shutter speed to 1/160s to compensate for the reduced available light – 10 minutes after the last train. My camera still managed to freeze the train as it wasn’t going that fast.

The “going away” shot wasn’t so nice on the sunless side of the train, but I was still happy with the results. Here are two shots, one with my camera and one with my phone.

Dark side of the train
Dark side of the train – camera
Dark side of the train - phone
Dark side of the train – phone

You can probably tell that I had a telephoto lens on the camera. The phone gave a much more wide angle view.

Just One More Thing

A motley collection of locomotives
A motley collection of locomotives

I did a quick calculation using the Maps app on my phone and decided I had enough time to take a quick glance at the units at the CP shops. I parked and jogged over the soccer field by the Weston shops to capture a few views of the parked power there. By this time (9:50 PM) it was getting pretty dark, so I shot HDR and combined three photos to get the image above.

Note the SD90MAC units there (CP 91xx). These were stored in the “back” of the yard for years, out of service, but have been pulled out to ship off for refurbishment. They will be rebuilt into SD70ACu locomotives by Progress Rail in the US. I understand they have started delivering the “new” units, numbered starting at CP 7000.

Also note CP 6024 running with her number boards lit up. It’s nice to see an SD40-2 now and then!

There was a pair of locomotives moving around the yard – CP 9769 and 8648. I really pushed the camera to get a shot of them – ISO 1600, f/5.0, 1/100s at 200mm.

Riding the point at sunset
Riding the point at sunset

I had pushed my luck far enough, so I beat it back to my car to go get my daughter. I wasn’t late! 🙂

Thanks for reading! Your comments are always appreciated.

7 thoughts on “The Glorious First of June – Part 2”

  1. Hey Steve, nice photos using the sunset! I’m looking forward to you catching pics of those new SD70ACu’s if and when they come through the “peg”.

  2. I’m wondering why the DPU behind CP8100 was so close to the lead units. They usually put them in the middle or sometimes at the rear. Any ideas ?

  3. First time I’ve seen a tank buffer car on a covered hopper train. I kind of like how the fading light and angle ‘bleached’ the colour out of the containers.

    • Hi Rick, yes, that tank “buffer car” on a grain train is the complete opposite of what normally happens on an oil train!

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