Regionals & Shortlines
Edited by Paul Donovan
Thanks this month to Harry Gordon, Travis Bragg, Austin Logan, Crash Moreau, Philip Harris, Jody Robinson and Brian Barchard for information and photos. If you have any information or photos regarding current news of the eastern regional railways, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
On February 24, CB&CNS derailed 7 loaded coal cars on the Nova Scotia Power spur. All the cars remained upright. No injuries were reported.
Northern Maine Junction, located in the Bangor, Maine suburb of Hermon, is a shadow of itself from the days when both Bangor and Aroostook and Maine Central Railroads maintained substantial operations there. Today, much of the trackage has been recently reconfigured or torn up to reflect current needs. Central Maine & Quebec maintains a subset of the yard called “The Farm”, and on this snowy day, a B23-7 and GP38-3 await work in the yard.(Paul Donovan photo)
Power for Job 1 waits at the fueling shed in Brownville Junction on February 2nd. (Harry Gordon photo)
Shortly thereafter, the power is on the train, the FRED is squawking, and the brake test is done. Job 1 has been leaving at 4:00PM ET or after, making its run west across Maine in darkness. (Harry Gordon photo)
Central Maine & Quebec unit 3817 derailed two axles February 6th on a crossing at milepost .25 of the St.-Guillaume Sub., apparently due to the accumulation of ice and snow.
A CM&Q switch job derailed all wheels of a single car loaded with sodium chlorate at a customer facility in Novyron, QC on February 6th.
Eastern Maine Railway train 907, the eastbound daily freight, derailed 8 (some reports say 7) cars on the morning of Thursday, February 14th, at Hardy Pond, Maine, east of Brownville Junction. At least 3 cars were loads that turned over into a ditch, and the line was blocked for four days. Maine Northern Railway trains that normally drop and pick up eastbound cars to or from sister road EMR at the yard at Hardy Pond were also unable to operate except to BJCT for western traffic. There is a two track yard at Hardy Pond used for interchange between MNR and EMR. MNR North and Southbound trains use the Brownville Junction bypass from CM&Q’s Bangor Sub, on which MNR trains have trackage rights below Millinocket. This stretch of EMR is somewhat remote, and first reaction by EMR was to request Central Maine & Quebec’s ex-Bangor and Aroostook Rail Crane from Derby Shops, near Milo, Maine. Several of the cars were loads, and could not be retrieved with the equipment available. In addition, NBSR’s rail crane was out-of-service at Saint John, NB.
The request for the CM&Q crane was cancelled not long after it was made, and EMR opted to request Pan American Railway’s two mobile (i.e., roadable) cranes from Waterville Shop (Maine). They also requested Pan Am’s traditional wreck train, which is kept in two pieces – one in East Deerfield Yard, in Western Massachusetts, the other kept at Waterville, Maine. Ultimately, the use of PAR’s two mobile cranes allowed the track to be reopened in just four days, on the night of Sunday, February 17th. First train east to Saint John was a wood chip unit train off Maine Northern, which rolled across Eastern Maine Railway in the early hours of February 18th. To my knowledge, the PAR wreck train never made the long trek from East Deerfield, but three loaded cars are apparently on their sides clear of the main line, and may need the attention of Pan Am’s locomotive crane. The wreck occurred in a very remote area of the line, and suitable roadable recovery equipment for the loads is apparently not an option.
Eastern Maine Railway train 907 rolls through Forest Station, ME on a snowy February 25th, trailing one of the new GATX leasers, 3052.
Half an hour later, 907 rolls west through Danforth, ME. (Paul Donovan photo)
As noted in the Eastern Maine Railway section, Maine Northern Railway was prevented from moving any eastbound traffic off its North-South main line for four days (Feb. 14-17) after the derailment on EMR at Hardy Pond, ME. The bulk of traffic on Maine Northern flows east, including wood chips from the vast Irving Woodlands holdings in Northern Maine, and from the Irving Stud Mill in St. Leonard, New Brunswick. Typically, each eastbound EMR train 908 includes up to 40 cars of wood chips, many of them destined to the large Irving paper mill in Saint John. As might be expected, first train by the site of the derailment was an almost solid train of wood chips off MNR, in the early morning hours of February 18th.
After a major snow storm on the 11th of February, NBSR’s ex-CP Jordan spreader set out from Saint John, only to suffer some sort of mechanical failure at McAdam, NB. As a result, traffic backed up in McAdam such that the railroad operated two 907’s and two 908’s on the same day, 12 February, with very little snow clearance except here and there by regulators. Although a Russell plow purchased from the fire sale when Maine Eastern shut down is still at Oakfield, Maine, it was not used, nor has it been used to my knowledge in the two years it has been on Irving property. NBSR’s only other large snow fighting equipment is the spreader, which is used on all three Irving-owned sister roads: NBSR, EMR and MNR. However, NBSR and EMR have a number of ballast regulators stationed at points along the NBSR/EMR east-west main line that are used for lesser storms.
GP40-3 GMTX 3050 and slug 958, leased by NBSR last summer, were sidelined after a major engine failure just outside Saint John on train 907. GATX reportedly supplied a replacement prime mover in exchange for an extension of the lease. In the meantime, two former PAR GP40’s that had been sold to GATX were rebuilt as GP40-3’s and leased to NBSR. Numbered right behind their ailing predecessor as GMTX 3051 and 3052, they were also painted in the attractive blue/black/white scheme already on 3050 and its slug. They arrived on the property on February 11th via Pan Am, and were immediately placed in the Saint John shop to be set up. After running two gypsum rock turns Saint John to McAdam, NB, they were placed in road service. 3052 is shown here on February 25th operating on westbound 907 at Forest Station, Maine. (Paul Donovan photo)
As I reported last month, the big pulpwood and tissue paper operation in Baileyville (Woodland), ME is now moving finished products over its own mill railway to Calais, ME. The boxcars are pulled across the river by NBSR, hauled to McAdam, NB, and move westward on NBSR 907 as far as Mattawamkeag, where they are turned over to Pan Am. A visit to the mill’s railyard revealed a long string of boxcars. Visiting McAdam Yard on February 21st, I found the St. Stephen branch train just in with a substantial string of loaded boxcars. Subsequently, the power off the St. Stephen branch spent several hours setting up pickups for both NBSR freights 907 (westbound) and 908 (eastbound). This work included pulling a long string of empty gypsum rock empties off the branch and placing them with other cars for 908. Traffic on the branch is reportedly up to 4 trains per week.
NBSR 917 pulls by the iconic McAdam Station during switching operations on the 21st of February. (Paul Donovan photo)
NBSR 917 pulls the empty gypsum rock gondolas off the St. Stephen branch before dropping them in the Hill Yard at McAdam en route back to Saint John. (Paul Donovan photo)
Later, 917 works in the light snow, and then picks up the last remnant of its inbound train from St. Stephen, including the caboose, for placement in the Hill Yard at McAdam. (Paul Donovan photos)
McAdam Station photographed in light snow on February 21st. (Paul Donovan photo)
Maine Northern SD40-2 6340, formerly the NBSR’s Southern Pacific Railroad “heritage” unit, is framed by the corner of the McAdam Station overhang while on train 907 on February 21st.
Green horn: Long-time New Brunswick Southern resident GATX MP-15DC leaser 211 now sports an NBSR green horn. 211 began its working life on Genesee & Wyoming. Siberia Yard, Brownville Junction, ME. (Harry Gordon photo)
NBSR reported that, on February 13th, a Saint John, NB yard assignment, while switching the Irving Paper Mill, derailed the leading ("B-end") of car YKR (Yorkrail) 20107 over a broken rail, as it was being shoved to track LDS4D. No dangerous chemicals were involved.
Pan Am Railways EMD and GMDD units continue their decline. GE units are starting to show up more and more often on the trains between Waterville and Mattawamkeag, Maine, symbolled MAWA and WAMA. At first it was the former CSX C40-8 six-axle units, but on February 18th, eastbound WAMA dropped two four-axle B40-8’s at Bangor, PAR 5956 and 5967. Both units were in different variations of CSX paint, although with CSX logs and lettering painted out. On February 19th, the trains operated down the Bucksport Branch to Orrington and returned with contaminated dirt cars from a US EPA Superfund site. Harry Gordon photographed the pair on the branch in the photos below. (Harry Gordon photos)
Pan Am Railways former Quebec, North Shore and Labrador SD40-2’s leased from GATX are becoming regulars on the MAWA and WAMA trains to and from Mattawamkeag. Although painted in Pan Am paint, they are sub-lettered as GATX-owned. All are numbered in the 3400 series except PAR 600, which is PAR owned. (Paul Donovan photo)
Pan Am train MAWA rolls through Old Town, ME on February 6th, with two ex-QNS&L SD40-2’s sandwiching a former CSX C40-8. (Travis Bragg photo)
The transfer operated by an NBSR crew using Pan Am units passes a former CN GP40-2W switching with a Pan Am crew in Mattawamkeag (ME) Yard on February 15th. (Paul Donovan photo)
Jason Noe shot CN 568 building its train in the Kitchener, Ontario yard on January 26, 2019. This is former GEXR territory on the now CN Guelph Subdivision at Baden, which is west of Kitchener, Ontario. With CN 1439, are leased GP38-2’s GMTX 2279 and GMTX 2289. The train would eventually depart with four hoppers for the industries in the town of Shakespeare.
Another view of L568 on the ex-GEXR at Baden, on the Guelph Subdivision by Jason Noe.
Chad Smith clicked these shots of GEXR 581, first at Dublin, Ontario with RLK 4095 and GEXR 2073 on January 19, 2019.
Plus GEXR 581 at Seaforth, Ontario on January 19th, 2019.
With the transfer of the Guelph Subdivision back to CN in November 2018, the following locomotives were transferred to other Genesee Wyoming Canada properties:
• SLR RM-1 (Slug) 806 back to SLR;
• QGRY GP38-2 2008 back to QGRY;
• GEXR GP39-2C 2303 to Southern Ontario Railway (But Alternator Repairs are needed first)
• GEXR SD45T-2 3054 and GEXR SD40-2 3394 to QGRY;
• RLHH SD40-2 3403 to Huron Central Railway;
• SLR GP40-3M 3806 to QGRY.
• Retained to operate from Stratford to Goderich are GEXR GP38-3 2073, RLHH GP38 2117, GP40-2L(W) 3030 RLK GP40 4095. GEXR SD40-2 3393 remains at Goderich for repairs and disposition.
IC 2704 and CN 8826 team up to lead train 369 Westbound at Belleville, ON January 25th, 2019. The train had a long string of brand new GRAINS CONNECT CANADA covered hopper cars from National Steel Car lettered in the WFRX 856500-series. (Ron Visockis).
Jamie Knott caught a train with some of the new Louis Dreyfus hoppers that have been coming out of NSC in February in grey with black lettering. Some of the new CN grey covered hoppers with a red noodle were also on the CN train.
Nipissing Central Railway reports: Empty gondola ONT 5057 derailed on the Long siding track in Noranda mile 55.7 Kirkland Lake Sub. No injuries. No DG involved. (2019/02/10).
Nipissing Central Railway report: Tank car PROX 14167 (Residue L/C Sulphuric Acid - UN1830) derailed 1 truck on the Shed track in Noranda mile 55.7 Kirkland Lake Sub due to ice and snow and Ice (2019/20/10).
Interestingly, this line between Swastika, ON and Rouyn-Noranda, QC is, on paper, operates as the Nipissing Central Railway (NCR). The NCR was provincially chartered in 1902 as an interurban streetcar system that connected several communities in Northern Ontario. With the towns growing, the railway was granted a federal charter five years later and then, in 1911, the provincially chartered Temiskaming and Northern Ontario (T&NO - the predecessor to the Ontario Northland Railway) purchased the NCR. So when the T&NO built the line between Swastika and Rouyn-Noranda, it was operated under the federally chartered NCR to avoid any complications that could be associated with crossing between two provinces. The line is operated with Ontario Northland power.
Inside the CN/ONR Interchange yard at mile 225 Newmarket Sub., a CN light engine move was proceeding southward on track 02 at approximately 4 mph and derailed 1 axle due to a build-up of ice and snow on the tracks. There were No injuries and No leaks.(2019/02/05)
ONTARIO GOVERNMENT URGED TO RESTORE THE "NORTLANDER" PASSENGER TRAIN:
Unions representing workers at the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission are calling on the province to restore passenger rail service in Northern Ontario in their 2019 provincial budget submission. We ask that Doug Ford keep his promise to Northerners and that the return of the Northlander be part of your 2019 budget,” says Andy Mitchell, president of the ONTC’s General Chairpersons’ Association, in a written submission to the province. Mitchell, who’s also president of Unifor Local 103, was slated to present the submission to Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli, Ontario’s finance minister, during a pre-budget consultation in the city February 8th, 2019. The session, however, was cancelled due weather that delayed Fedeli’s flight from Thunder Bay, where consultations were held Thursday. And Mitchell, along with others, ended up providing Fedeli’s office with a written copy. “We believe the federal government also has a responsibility to provide passenger service between Cochrane and Moosonee – where there are no other forms of ground transportation – and providing a link to the world to our Indigenous communities,” says Mitchell in his submission. “The province, then, can shift its focus to return our rail passenger service between Toronto and Cochrane, as sharing these responsibilities only makes economic and realistic sense, while allowing a seamless connection for all.” The premier promised during the latest provincial election to restore passenger rail services, cancelled in 2012, in northeastern Ontario. Fedeli has said “it’s one of my priorities for the North, although it won’t happen overnight.” He has said the process would require rebuilding from the ground up and that environmental assessment work would be required, along with the purchase and upgrading of cars and equipment.
The General Chairpersons’ Association submission suggests investing in passenger rail services makes strong economic sense by creating and supporting jobs and providing opportunities to boost travel and tourism. The group also says passenger rail would remove cars from roads, resulting in savings in maintenance costs, reducing carbon emissions and easing traffic congestion. The group also is calling on the province to take a hard look at transferring oversight of the ONTC to the Ministry of Transportation rather than that of the Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines. In addition, the union says the ONTC should still be a development tool for Northern Ontario, creating links and opening up the province for business. “This is also true for the Ring of Fire,” says Mitchell. “The ONTC should play a major role in the planning and using their expertise to facilitate the transportation of people and goods through some of the harshest terrain in Ontario.” He says the Crown agency also is ideally situated to ensure multi-generational growth in mining. “With this, we urge the government to promote and encourage that Timmins becomes the ferrochrome smelter site,” he says.
The "Polar Bear" train locomotives on this day, ONT GP38-2's 1800 and 1809 are captured on the Shop #4 track in Cochrane, Ontario on a frigid January 27th.2019. (Mike Robin). Note that only ONT 1800 has the blue stripes added to the yellow nose.
A personal favourite photo taken by Mike Robin taken back on February 9th, 2005, as he caught 414, with Engineman Arnold running through his Brake Test aboard ONT SD75I 2100 at Cochrane, Ontario before he pilots his train south to Englehart.
February 16th's "Saturday Shops Shot" features GP38-2 1802 being moved from the #4 track at Cochrane Shops to the runaround in order to be m.u.'d with GP40-2 2201 in Cochrane, Ontario.
Southbound 620 with GP38-2's 1800 and 1805 on point is captured setting off express freight tonnage after arriving at Cochrane from Moosonee February 9th in Cochrane, Ontario.
It's a meeting of the "03's" at Cochrane Yard April 1, 2016. On the left is GP9 1603 purchased new by Ontario Northland in 1956. On the right is SD75I 2103 purchased new in 1999 in Cochrane, Ontario. (Mike Robin).
We're at Englehart Yard July 9, 2016 where we come across Xstrata Copper's (former Santa Fe) GP9u 1684 in Englehart, Ontario. (Mike Robin photo).
Brand new all-Accessible Coach ONT 661 was captured on the Bunkhouse Track at the Cochrane Shop by Mike Robin January 27th, 2019 after the car arrived on 213 Friday the 25th. Features of this coach include an accessible washroom with power assisted door, lockdown restraints for wheel chairs, a permanent table with wheel chair access and more!
This isn't just "Piggyback" service, it's “piggy-piggy-piggyback” service! With an ice road nearing completion between Moosonee, Ontario and the DeBeers' Victor diamond Mine, flatbed trailers were in high demand to haul material to the mine as seen here as this load is marshaled into a northbound 621 Little Bear at Cochrane, ON, back on January 17, 2005 (Mike Robin). Interestingly this is the 2nd Diamond mine in Canada for DeBeers and the first one in Ontario.
Hi-Nosed ONT GP9 1601 is captured taking a little break in Englehart, Ontario, back in April 2002. (Mike Robin). She was since of course been repainted into the ON-RAIL livery.
An OSR train assignment, proceeding as Light Engines east at 25 MPH, on the St. Thomas Sub., struck an automobile traveling south over public crossing equipped FL&B at Mile 24.73. Emergency Services responded and took two occupants to hospital for observation. (2019/01/31).
An OSR Yard assignment, while switching at Guelph Jct. ran through the Main Track switch and when movement was reversed, derailed MLW locomotive OSRX 647, on the 1st and 2nd axles. No injuries.(2019/02/10).
Here's the “Woodstock Job” from Luc Bellefleur’s quick day trip to the Woodstock area on January 15th, 2019. Still in Blue and white OSRX FP9Au 1400 leads the way.
Dannick Fournier caught Arnaud Railway Rebuilt SD70ACe CFAQ 1002 and 1004 on January 25, 2019 back to back on the Arnaud Subdivision. This is a railway line connecting the main railway from the North (QNS&L) and Labrador to Pointe-Noire from Arnaud Junction in Quebec.
A CSXT switching assignment proceeding with light engines (CSXT 6237 and CSXT 2022) derailed the lead unit CSXT 6237 at mile 226 on the Montreal Branch. There were No injuries, and No leaks. (2019/02/07).
CSX has posted its Valleyfield intermodal terminal and transload facility for sale: CSX confirms that its Salaberry-de-Valleyfield intermodal facility is not meeting expectations and they want to dispose of it. CSX Transportation's senior management has undergone significant transformations since the last year, notably following the death of its former CEO, Hunter Harrison. Already a few months before his death, he was talking about necessary transformations in his intermodal transport strategy, advocating a different approach for low-density railway lines. He even announced in November 2017 that CSX would withdraw from the Canadian territory because the business is not fruitful. According to him, the Valleyfield intermodal terminal, among others, did not meet expectations. In operation since December 2014, the site processes only a dozen containers daily, mentions the trains.com website. Yet two years earlier, during a site visit, we were told about a hundred containers a day. The director general of the campivallensien terminal, Diane Yelle, had recently been fired. In June, CSX sold the equivalent of 650 miles of its rail lines, including the Massena line, connecting Montreal to the city of Syracuse, New York. Then in November, she announced the sale of the CSX 375-mile rail line from Jacksonville to Pensacola, Florida. It is unknown whether this decline in activity at the Des Érables Street terminal stems from the economic context or the company's real desire to develop it. Especially since the new North American Free Trade Agreement signed recently should promote cross-border freight transport. According to the Canadian economic magazine Global Trade, the Valleyfield CSX terminal is among the best placed in the country to facilitate the transportation of goods in the north-south direction. Questioned on the subject, Mayor Miguel Lemieux is confident about the terminal's potential for development. "CSX is a company that has its own business plan that I will not comment on. Still, the Valleyfield site still has the tremendous potential it had in its early days, he recalls. Whether CSX continues the adventure or decides to sell to another company, the municipality will continue to be an exemplary partner for the site to expand to reflect its capabilities. " It may therefore be asked whether the eventual sale of the intermodal terminal to another railway undertaking would not be good news to maximize the site. Exchanges would also take place with certain railway undertakings.
Quebec Central Railway (QCR) Alco S-2 JMG 9 was taken in Daqaam, Quebec back in January 2005 by Andre St-Amant. This shortline operated for about 5 years on ex-CP trackage. Sadly this switcher got scrapped about 4 years after the railway ceased operation. A trucking Company owner, each locomotive on the QCR roster had the initials of his children. Jean-Michel Giguire 9 Alco S-2 Serial: 74465.
The Alco switcher was purchased to switch the wood chips and lumber centerbeams at the loading point, Daaquam, Que. As stated it no longer had its original 539 Alco engine, and whatever type of other engine replaced it had suffered a major failure and was deemed not economically repairable. ne of the commonly well known reasons for the end of the QC was the inability of the QC and SLR to reach an agreement allowing the wood chip cars out of Daaquam to be interchanged to the SLR at Sherbrooke (The interchange track was still there at this time, but I believe it was no longer connected at the station end). Bryan Burns, long time CN and SLR engineer, told me that the plan was to have the SLR haul the wood chip cars right up to the Krueger paper mill in nearby Bromptonville, Que., but this never happened. Instead the QC was forced to truck the wood chips from East Angus to Bromptonville. Krueger Paper, not too long before that, had put in a brand new vacuum unloading system for unloading wood chip carsMarc-Antoine D’Astous photographed the sad shot of her demise.
On March 8, 2004, Rod Bushway caught a Quebec Central freight coming from Lac-Frontiare, and heading to Morisset, Quebec with loads of wood chips. Leading is a high nosed U23B approximately 4 miles from Morisset Station heading Southbound.
reports a QGRY light Engine movement on the Trois Rivieres Loop Spur, derailed wheel R4 on locomotive QGRY 2007, while reversing west. (2019/02/07).
RailTerm reported a QGRY train assignment, while switching at Papier Masson (Paper Company), derailed empty box car CP 220368, upright. No injuries. (2019/01/25).
It’s rare when CRO gets to report a “Caboose Derailment” these days! However, RailTerm reported a QGRY train assignment, while proceeding on the Cap-De-La-Madeleine Spur with 8 empties derailed caboose, CP 434674, on its side, at spur mile 0.8. No injuries. (2019/01/24) (QGRY 434640 shown).
Getting the Job Done! Luc Lanthier photographed QGRY GP38-2 2008 and her crew having to work in fresh deep snow in Gatineau Quebec on February 13th, 2019.
Dispositions of the GEXR Locomotive Fleet (as of January 1st 2019).
GEXR GP38-3 2073, GP40-2L(W) 3030 and RLK GP40 4095 remain to service what is left of the GEXR along with RLHH GP38 2117 which is filling in for LLPX GP38-2 2236 which is at Diesel Electric in Sudbury for overhaul and will become GEXR 2123.
• GEXR GP39-2C 2303 has gone to Southern Ontario (not serviceable)
• GEXR SD45T-2 3054 and SD40-2 3394 have gone to QGRY.
• SD40-2 3393 is stored at Goderich awaiting repair.
• QGRY GP38-2 2008 has returned to QGRY
• SLR Slug 806 has returned to SLR
• SLR GP40-3M 3806 has gone to QGRY.
Quebec-Gatineau (QGRY) dimensional with windmill palms is heading west toward Montreal as it approaches Yamachiche, QC Francois Jolin took this shot on the Gatineau Trois-Rivieres Subdivision at Yamachiche, Quebec on January 07, 2019.
QNSL Carol Lake yard reported that when loading a train at the loadout, 2 ore cars derailed due to buildup of ore pellets on the railway track. (2019/02/05).
QNSL reported the collector train derailed wheel No.4 (end B) of the flat car QNSL 34430, near the loading ramp in the yard at Oreway, QC because of snow and ice buildup on the rail. There were No injuries. (2019/02/01).
QNSL reported when loading an ore train at the loadout, the train rolled on a buildup of ore in the track and derailed 2 cars. An additional car’s truck further back left the line as well on the same track with the derailed cars. This derailment also caused minor damage to switch AY-10 (2019/02/08).
A QNSL train assignment that began to depart the yard with a train of loaded ore cars in the V/E track, fell in an unexpected emergency braking application. During the inspection, the locomotive engineer found 3 derailed cars were obstructing the Main Track. Ice and snow were involved. (2019/02/11).
Dannick Fournier shot former CP Rail RS18u CFS 1828 out of CN Joffre Yard long hood first on January 09, 2016, beginning the make the climb up the grade at Saint-Jean-Chrysostome, Quebec, on the Quebec Central Vallee Subdivision.
On another snowy Afternoon at Breakeyville, Quebec on the Quebec Central Vallee Subdivision on January 9, 2016, Dannick Fournier shot CFS RS18u 1828 hauling Empty bulkhead cars over the level crossing.
On January 27th, 2019 Kalel Harrison shot Warbonnet BNSF 689 as second unit on a BNSF mixed freight coming into Canada.
Kalel Harrison also snapped BNSF ES44C4 leads an NB mixed freight through Colebrook, BC on 12/16/18.
BNSF C44-9w leads CP grain train 304 up the Ashcroft Sub on January 23rd, 2019 on the bridge, and at the big S-curve two great spots to shoot trains.
A BNSF rock train was shot by Brian Peters in Blaine, WA in mid-February. The coast line from Vancouver, BC to Seattle, WA has had some slides this year and we assume this set of 15 cars and caboose is 'standing by' for any next event.
BNSF VIGNETTE: Back on October 4th, 2005 Mark Forseille shot snoot-nosed BNSF SD40-2 2862 at the yard in New Westminster, BC.
Grains-Connect has two loop track facilities in Saskatchewan, and has two more now planned for construction in Alberta:
“In really cold temperatures, when you don’t have to decouple the locomotive from the rest of the train, you don’t lose air pressure to the brakes. When you’re splitting the train you’ve lost pressure, and a train crew could spend an entire shift re-pressurizing the train,” he said. Grains-Connect currently has two facilities operating in Maymont and Wilkie, Sask. Stow said, and other grain elevator facilities are also using loop tracks. The company is also building two new loop track facilities in Alberta. “We’re constructing one in Vegreville and other in central Alberta near the town of Huxley,” he said. “There are a number of new grain facilities, and without a loop track you aren’t building a new facility. If you aren’t that efficient, you aren’t getting the rail cars.” What drove the new approach was the deregulation of the Canadian grain industry, Stow said. “The Canadian Wheat Board ran allocation until 2012 and now it’s an open market. We also have our own rail cars, which was never an option in the Wheat Board days. You couldn’t manage your logistics,” he said. While the grain industry has been deregulated, Stow said, the railway’s standards still determine how the tracks are built. “The railway determines the standard so you have to build to Canadian Pacific and Canadian National’s standard. For these loop tracks, the requirements are fairly stringent and they’re costly to build,” he said. Stow added bigger locomotives are used and new railway equipment must be accommodated. But the grain elevators require no changes. “You don’t have to redesign the elevator. The only change is that everything is faster,” he said.
Loop tracks speed up rail grain loading: A modified railroad track design is pushing the western Canadian grain industry towards greater efficiency. Facilities using traditional “ladder” tracks, where a new series of parallel tracks branch off into a yard, require trains to detach cars and remain stationary while the cars are loaded with cargo. Loop tracks allow cargo such as grain to be loaded as the train continues to move. Locomotive crews leave the train and are replaced by loop track crew while the train is loaded. “It’s relatively new in Western Canada and especially in the grain industry. These grain facilities have a loop track of around three kilometres which allows the train to pull in off the main line and stay completely attached. The CN people get eight hours rest, and then we have trained people hop on the train and move the trains to facilities to be loaded,” Grains-Connect Canada president Warren Stow said. “In the past we just had straight tangent ladder tracks, and the cars would have to be broken up, so you’d typically have ladder tracks stacked up with two or three 50 car tracks,” he said. “Now we can load 130 cars in 10 hours. You rarely had the capacity to hold 130 cars on ladder tracks. The train moves at 1.5 miles an hour, so it loads as it goes,” Stow added. The loop track system also eliminates the need for decoupling train cars, which speeds up loading in Saskatchewan’s harsh winter climate, Stow added. “In really cold temperatures, when you don’t have to decouple the locomotive from the rest of the train, you don’t lose air pressure to the brakes. When you’re splitting the train you’ve lost pressure, and a train crew could spend an entire shift re-pressurizing the train,” he said.
Four GP38-2 locomotives from the Boise Valley Railroad in Nampa, ID are all now in transit heading to The Pas, Manitoba for the Hudson Bay Railroad. The Pas, MB is located at the confluence of the Pasquia River and the Saskatchewan River. The units are HATX 3864, 3820, 3840, and 3848. (via Jim Mcpherson with thanks)
Parent company Washington Group who own Montana Rail Link (MRL) and SRY are in discussions and Southern Rail is Positive about Rail Service on Vancouver Island. Derek Ollmann, President of Southern Rail of Vancouver Island said his company is firmly committed to providing rail service for the Island despite several years of operational losses. Our company believes in long term planning and we are confident in our four pillar approach of inter-city passenger rail (VIA Rail); freight; tourist excursion (Nanaimo Cruise Ship Trains); and commuter (Victoria to Langford). In the past two years SVI has spent over $1million in materials alone on the section of track from Wellcox Yard to north Nanaimo and has budgeted nearly $700,000 in additional material spending for 2018. SVI continues to provide ongoing weekly general inspection and maintenance over the entire Victoria Subdivision from Victoria to Courtenay. This maintenance includes replacement of track ties, rails; culvert and drainage inspection & replacement; vegetation management; signal inspection and maintenance at all grade crossings. There are currently 13 employees working for SVI with Herb Taylor of the Snuneymuxw First Nation recently joining the team. (Island Corridor Foundation).
Chris Medland shot the SRY's “Chilliwack Turn” switching the SRY and Arrow Reload facility in Chilliwack, BC on April 15, 2011.
Being a Family Day statutory holiday in BC on Monday, February 12th, 2018, Andy Cassidy threw his normal AM activities out the window, and decided to head out and see if he could get any decent photos. It was a very sunny day, the first in over a month. This is a mixed blessing though as many of his photo locations are on the wrong side of the sun. As it turned out I wasn’t getting much luck in the spots I was checking out. So I went over to New Westminster. On the scanner he heard the Southern Railway of BC (SRY), calling to head over the Queensborough rail bridge from New West to Queensborough then over to Annacis Island. The SRY train heading over was sitting in the Dock Yard, short and ready to go as soon as the bridge closed. He had been trying for some time to get shots of the SRY heading South over the Queensborough Bridge, from the Queensborough side. The SRY track once off the bridge, runs west along Ewan Avenue a number of blocks before heading along Derwent Way and over the Derwent Way combination road/rail swing bridge onto Annacis Island in Delta. When he crossed over Ewan Ave. at Derwent he saw the SRY train heading towards him. He thought of parking quickly and taking shots of the train in the residential neighbourhood. But then he realized “hey, I’ve never caught the SRY going over the Derwent Way Bridge”, so he quickly went there instead. Parking was not an issue, and he quickly set up at the grade crossing just off the bridge and caught them coming up and over and into the rail network on the island. The whole island is industrial, and the SRY have tracks running all over the place there. After getting him off the bridge, I motored around a bit to see if any other opportunities were available. Not much going on due to the stat holiday, so I headed back. Well, the same train is switching and back at the bridge, so I get a few more shots from the opposite side. All in all it worked out well! The photos were shot at Mile 0.68 on the SRY Annacis Spur, and the SRY 121 (EMD GP9 Control Cab Slug) is teamed up with SRY 135 (EMD GP9) supplying the power heading up and over the bridge onto the island. They have a short train of four cars, and the Bridgetender let the crew know he was there taking photos. They are quite used to that. The signal shows green, and as far as he knows only indicates if the bridge is open or closed.
Four fine Roster Shots from Mark Forseille: SRY 907 is a GMD SW900 built in 1958, and was shot at Annacis Island in New Westminster, BC August 2, 2009. She is former British Columbia Hydro (BCH) 907, and was built as BCER 907.
SRY 106 is an EMD GP9 built for Northern Pacific back in 1970, and is ex-MRL 106, Exx-MRL 1931, Exxx-BN 1931, nee-NP 352. She was shot in New Westminster, BC December 02, 2009.
SRY 384 is an EMD SD38-2 built in 1974 for British Columbia Hydro (BCH) 384, and was shot in New Westminster, BC on September 25, 2006.
A GMD built SW900, SRY 909 was shot in Huntingdon, BC on October 10 2009 by Mark Forseille, She was built in London Ontario in 1964 as (BC Hydro) BCH 909.
All photos used with permission of the photographer. Contact the editor if you feel your photo has been used without permission.
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