Two Oil Trains Meet in a Bar…

Fall in love when we meet again
We can finish what we started
Fall in love if we try again
And then nothing will keep us apart

– Alanis [Morrissette], “When We Meet Again”

One evening, I had a little bit of time to railfan before doing some chores. I thought I’d try the CP Emerson sub to see if I could catch a train heading north or south along the line.

There was nothing visible to the north when I crossed the tracks on the Perimeter Highway on the south end of Winnipeg, so I took the exit to highway 59 to check out Grande Pointe.

Grande Pointe is a little bedroom community just on the south side of the Floodway protecting Winnipeg from our seasonal floods. This big channel can divert most of the Red River’s flow around the city and has been a great asset to the city.

The reason I wanted to go to Grande Pointe in particular is because there is a passing siding there, and sometimes you can find a train there waiting for a meet.

Oil’ll Be Waiting For You

Sure enough, there was a train in the siding. CP 8937 was on the north (leading) end, waiting near the crossing for a southbound train.

I found a place to park and set up my cameras. I had my phone on the tripod, with the Akasa EK7000 on a GorillaPod closer to the crossing. I was trying to remember why I was using my phone instead of my old DSLR for video. I think I had left the card for the DSLR in my laptop so I had nothing to record on. OOPS.

Anyway, I had enough time to set up, fortunately.

After a bit, the conductor opened the nose door on CP 8937 and came down and passed by me to set up for the rollby inspection. That was a pretty darn good clue that the meet was about to happen… especially since it was pretty cold outside and nobody except crazy railfans wanted to stand outside if they didn’t have to.

The conductor stood on the west side of the tracks, and eventually the engineer came out of the locomotive to inspect the train from the east side.

Oil 2 Oil

I heard the approaching train blowing for the nearby crossings. Soon the headlights came into view, and it turned out to be another oil train, this one heading south to the USA. It had CP 8941 leading with a rusty old SOO LINE car as a buffer.

Note the conductor in the photo above, and one of the new transmission towers above the tank cars. These towers are part of the new Manitoba-Minnesota Transmission Project. You’re going to see these towers in the background of a lot of train photos around Winnipeg as the new line crosses the CN Rivers, Letellier and Sprague subs and the CP Emerson sub.

My phone died part way through recording the train, as the battery was getting low in the cold weather. Oh well… I packed up and drove up to the Floodway to get a long distance shot of the siding with the trains passing.

That was a shot I’ve wanted to get for some time. It was neat to see the receding train on the main line, with the train in the siding pulling north, ready to enter the main.

The conductor had thrown the switch as soon as the southbound train passed, so they were able to get moving as soon as the meet was over. This line is “dark” so there are no signals and no need to wait for the RTC to line a power switch, as long as they have clearance to proceed.

Here they are getting on the main.

As they approached, I took one or two more photos with my “long” lens before switching to a wide lens. I really like the one below. I liked how you could still see the other train in the distance.

The train passed, and I recorded it with the Akasa again. The tail end had an interesting locomotive – not the CP heritage unit I was hoping for, but still something a little different.

I looked up UP 9063 and RRPictureArchives.NET said it was a C40-8, which made no sense to me. This is clearly not a Dash-8.

It turns out that the previous UP 9063 has become CN 2040, and there was a new UP 9063 built in May 2017. This one is an EMD SD70AH.

Anyway, it made a fine sight on the tail end of the empty oil train as it crossed the Floodway bridge.

Just One More Thing

The new Manitoba-Minnesota Transmission Line

Here’s a few views of the new Manitoba-Minnesota transmission line under construction. The towers are up and the workers were up stringing the lines. Notice the tremendous “sag” in the lines. Also notice the people on the lines…

I think they were installing the spacers that keep the different wires apart. They are on platforms that move along the wires to where they need to install the spacers. I saw a small helicopter buzzing around and I think that puts them on the towers and takes them off again.

These people are a LOT braver than I am. I can see they have safety tethers and I am sure it is all very safe, but man… my fear of heights would be screaming at me.

Good on them for doing this. Stay safe and thanks for your work.

More on this project

4 thoughts on “Two Oil Trains Meet in a Bar…”

  1. Steve, you missed an important (not really) question: do you have any pictures of CN 2040? I checked my records and I unfortunately don’t have it.

    PS. Off topic, but I got my first maroon SD70ACU the other day (CP 7018).

  2. Great photos, crazy to see workers on the wires like that! Wow! I couldn’t do that – a bit too high for me!


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