The waiting is the hardest part
Every day you see one more train
You shoot it on film, you take it black and white
The waiting is the hardest part
“The Waiting”, Tom Petty, more or less
It was a bitterly cold afternoon when I went out to photograph along the CN main line on February 15th (2020).
I found IC 2716 East waiting short of Hall Road just west of the Perimeter Highway on the Rivers subdivision (here). This is a common spot for eastbound trains to wait to come into the city.
It had a relatively clean BC Rail unit in second position, BCOL 4642. You’ll see that later in this post.
The train had a distributed braking boxcar in it, CN 0081, well back in the train.
Paved Paradise and Put Up a Parking Lot
I proceeded west to see if there were any other trains parked, and sure enough, there was CN 5725 East sitting short of the Wescana Street crossing (here) near mile 15, with a friendly crew. This is another common spot!
The mid afternoon light was really nice. I took this photo of a Cosco Shipping container on top of a China Shipping container – two different Chinese shipping lines.
I headed back east, and as I passed the signals at Diamond I noticed that the east facing signal was green on the south track. Train coming!?
Something Is Moving Out There
Soon a really, really long grain train came rolling along, pulled by another SD75I and a Dash-8.
The second locomotive has been around the block. It was built in August 1990 as Chicago & Northwestern CNW 8538, model C40-8. With the purchase of the C&NW by Union Pacific in April 1995, it became UP 9060. According to RR Picture Archives, it became CREX 9060 sometime in 2010 or 2011 before being acquired by CN in early 2013 and becoming CN 2037.
The train had three short open hoppers on the head end. I believe those were to be set out on the Gladstone subdivision to be loaded with gypsum. These cars were followed by 163 grain cars. I took a photo of the more interesting cars.
CN 112749 is one of a huge order of 1,000 grain cars from National Steel Car in Hamilton, Ontario. These “jumbo” hopper cars are 55 feet 8 inches long with a capacity of 5,431 cubic feet. They are intended to replace smaller capacity cars like the 60′ long, 4,550 cubic foot “Trudeau hoppers”. Being shorter but with greater capacity, more grain can be carried for the same length of train. Eric Gagnon has a great article on the Trudeau grain cars.
This particular car was built in January 2019.
I spotted an ex Saskatchewan Wheat Pool car in the consist. FURX 850895 doesn’t have the Pool logo but it has a logo-shaped void!
Fittingly, an ex government grain hopper was the last car. It’s now CN 111110 (that’s a lot of ones) but it would have been CNWX when it was still owned by the federal government.
The same train was spotted east of Dutton, Manitoba at mile 13:03 of the CN Togo subdivision on February 16, with less cars than I saw. Apparently the 3 hoppers and 54 grain cars were set off along the way, leaving 109 grain cars still on the train.
The empty gypsum cars would have been set off at Golden Stream, a siding right about here. I’ve never been there but the satellite view shows 13 loaded cars in the siding. They have a car puller there to move rail cars.
IC 2716 On the Move
After CN 853 rolled past, IC 2713 got to head east into Winnipeg. I had plenty of time to choose my location, as they were just starting to move, so I chose to frame the BC Rail unit under a transmission tower line.
You may recall I did the same shot last fall. Scroll down to about 3/4 through the post. This time I wasn’t zoomed quite as far in, and I think I centered the locomotive better this time too.
On my way home, I photographed the CEMR Carman subdivision train sitting at the end of their line, waiting to go onto the CN main line. This train waited here for a few days before it finally moved. Note the long string of new CN hoppers behind the locomotives. I don’t know how many were there but there had to be over 50 in the train.
I understand these cars were at the Pioneer grain elevator at Mollard, just southwest of Brunkild on the Carman subdivision.
Just One More Thing
I’m currently reading The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. I’ve never read anything by her. I’ve always wondered what the fuss was about, so I decided to give this a try. She’s known for this book and for Atlas Shrugged. I’m about 3/4 of the way through the book and I’m really enjoying it. I didn’t like it for the first 40 or 50 pages but it has sucked me in.