Third Time’s the Charm?

“I drove for miles and miles and wound up at your door
I’ve had you so many times but somehow, I want more”
– “She Will Be Loved”, Maroon 5

In my continuing search for the maroon, I went out on January 12th along the CP mainline west of Winnipeg. I’m looking for the newly rebuilt SD70ACu locomotives painted in CP’s classic maroon-and-gold or the locomotives repainted to honour the military.

This was my third major outing in search of those locomotives. See Searching for the Maroon and I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For for the first two outings.

I arrived at the CP Carberry subdivision shortly before sunrise.

CP 8533 East

CP 8533 East at rest
CP 8533 East at rest

I found this east-facing train sitting on the main line, just west of the Makwa siding, facing a red light. I took a few photos of them in the biting cold but they didn’t seem to be moving. I drove up and down the road a bit, wondering whether I should leave or wait for them to start up again.

Eventually they did start moving. I set up at the road just east of the Viterra grain elevator to record them. In the photo below, I did not correct the white balance in the image so it looks quite blue. It was a little blue out but I find the camera exaggerates the blueness too much.

Blue Hour
Blue Hour

I did a little pan as they passed the crossing.

The lead photo of this post is a pan of the mid train DPU locomotive, CP 8729.

Here’s the video…

So, no maroon on that train. But there was another train coming from the east…

CP 8020 West

A little TOO blue
A little TOO blue

It was a big ol’ train powered by four locomotives on the head end. The second engine (CP 4433, an ex SOO GP38-2) was particularly interesting – although it was not what I was looking for.

I grabbed the shot above, then gave chase west along the highway. As I approached Rosser, I decided to pull off and grab another photo by the Dorsey Converter Station (mentioned here) because the highway speed limit would drop to 50 km/hr and I would lag behind the train.

Passing the Dorsey Converter Station

I tried to catch up to them, but as the kilometres reeled off, I gained only a few cars on the train. As they approached Marquette, where the highway diverges from the tracks, I knew I would have to take what I could get.

I pulled off the highway and leapt out to get one “going away” shot of the train, complete with blowing snow.

Kicking up the snow
Kicking up the snow

With the roads partially covered in snow, I did not want to risk chasing any more. I took my time ambling along the back roads toward Portage la Prairie.

Esmond

As I approached the Esmond siding (where I photographed a train in this post), I saw the signal lights were lit. This meant a train was nearby, and sure enough, as I got closer I saw a headlight through the trees. I pulled off the road as much as I could and photographed the head end of CP 8616 East, a crude oil train.

Going away on the black snake
Going away on the black snake

I like the going away shot even better, with that long string of black tank cars like a snake on the cold prairie.

I decided that I would carry on into Portage la Prairie and see what action I could photograph there.

Portage la Prairie

Heading out
Heading out

Driving into the city, I saw that a CN train was heading east out of town. I pulled off just past the crossing and used my telephoto lens to capture CN 3828 as it rolled toward the crossing.

I switched to my iPhone to capture the wide angle view of the BC Rail unit behind it.

BC Rail 4611
BC Rail 4611

It’s nice to see the red, white and blue of BC Rail still roaming the rails. Long may they live.

Remember that train…

I carried on into the downtown area and went trackside to where the CN and CP tracks are close together. The local switcher, CP 2299, was idling away in her little fenced off pen.

Switcher in jail
Switcher in jail

Not much was going on, so I went to Tim Hortons to pick up some food, then came back trackside.

The 8th Street crossing bells were intermittently going on and off, for no apparent reason. I could see that it was annoying for drivers, and confusing for me as I couldn’t see any trains around!

That situation resolved itself with the appearance of a westbound CN train.

KEARNS

Scattering the pigeons
Scattering the pigeons

CN 3232, decorated in her “CN 100” livery, rolled slowly toward the 8th Street crossing, no doubt aware of the crossing problem and approaching with caution. She disturbed a cloud of pigeons that were warming themselves on the switch heaters.

You can see it passing the KEARNS sign. Kearns is the start of the CN Gladstone subdivision that branches off the main line. The track in this area is a bit complicated with the Gladstone and Rivers subdivision crossing the CP Carberry subdivision.

Here’s a brief video of CN 3232.

WIDE ANGLE

Since the train was so slow, I was able to drive to the ex CN train station to catch the tail end as it passed by.

Passing the ex CN train station
Passing the ex CN train station

I kept driving over to the CP line to check the signals. They weren’t changing… sigh

Obligatory Selfie

Selfie by the railway museum

I’ve been in the ex CP station several times. Restoration work is going well and they have some artefacts and a few model train layouts in there. Check out their web site!

Surprise

Surprise!

I was surprised by this train, a CN westbound sand train. CN 2320 was on the head end.

I went back to the station parking lot to capture a few photos. There was a driver training car in the lot doing some practice. I’m sure they were wondering who the weirdo was taking photos in the frigid weather…

CN 8898 as DPU
CN 8898 as DPU

Time was growing short, and there was still no sign of a CP train, so I started making my way back to Winnipeg.

As I approached Elie, I saw a headlight in the distance… the third CN westbound train in a row!

West Elie

CN 3891 stirring up the snow
CN 3891 stirring up the snow

This stack train came blowing through west Elie. Man, it was cold.

After it passed, I kept on driving into Elie itself. I thought I’d check trackside for a train, and sure enough there was another set of headlights… CN westbound train #4!

I had lots of time to set up, so I decided to capture the former CN train station, originally a Canadian Northern 3rd class station.

Elie

CN 2866 passing the former train station in Elie, MB
CN 2866 passing the former train station in Elie, MB

The train had two locomotives on the head end, with another locomotive in the middle of the train.

NO THRU ROAD
NO THRU ROAD

Here’s the video of that train.

Stack Train at Elie

There were no more trains en route until I neared Winnipeg. There, I found the same train I saw earlier in Portage la Prairie!

CN 3828, Again

CN 3828 cooling its heels
CN 3828 cooling its heels

They were sitting near mile 15 of the Rivers subdivision, waiting their turn to get into the city.

I didn’t hang around, as I was running short on time. However, I did find one more train.

Autoracks Galore

Pushing those autoracks
Pushing those autoracks

CN 8022 was on the tail end of a train full of autoracks. This was another stationary eastbound train. Things were obviously jammed up!

It wasn’t entirely autoracks, though…

Two on the front
Two on the front

CN 2653 and SD40-2 CN 6022 were on the head end.

SD40-2 FTW
SD40-2 FTW

I don’t see many SD40s “in the wild” any more – CN or CP!

Summary

So… 3 CP trains, 6 CN trains, that’s good – but no CP heritage units.

Persistence will pay off eventually – right?

(hat tip to Eric Gagnon for the suggestion about Maroon 5 in my search for the maroon)

See Also

4 thoughts on “Third Time’s the Charm?”

  1. Just watched a Virtual Rail Fan video. Number 7022 (military) and one of the Tuscans were caught in Revelstoke on Jan 31st. I don’t know what that says about their chances of reaching Manitoba.

    Reply
    • Thanks, Rick. They have been passing through, often at night, and usually I don’t hear about them until they’re gone… patience is key, it seems.

      Reply

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