Sunday, November 16, 2014

Beachburg Sub Update: Nov. 16, 2014

As of today (Nov 16, 2014) the end of track on the Beachburg Sub is at a point nearly half way between Kerwin Road, and Constance Lake Road. This leaves approximately 6.3 miles of track yet to be removed before reaching Nepean Junction.

My journey over today revealed that the rail train had gone east. This was likely because it was full, and needed new, empty cars to load the remainder of the subdivision. That meant no pictures of the last train on the Beachburg for me. I did however come across the rail loading equipment that attaches to the rear of the train. It was sitting just east of the Kerwin Rd. crossing with no workers in sight.

I decided that since there wasn't much to see here, I would try and get a picture of the switch at Nepean Junction because it would likely soon be gone as well. To do this, I simply walked along the Trans-Canada Trail, also known as the Greenbelt Pathway, from Corkstown Road until I found a spot to get a shot. This was tricky because most of the area had a fence, and I did not want to trespass. Luckily there was a short break in the fence for a game trail, and I was able to get this shot without stepping on the railway property.

Here's a zoomed in shot.

That switch to the right of the junction name sign likely has its days numbered.

That was it for the day for me, and probably the only shot I will ever get of equipment on the Beachburg Sub.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The end is near for the Beachburg Subdivision

It appears as though the end is in sight for the Beachburg Sub. A CN rail train, and crew have been working their way east towards Nepean Junction over the last few weeks. Now, more than ever, it feels more like a reality.

As of today (November 13, 2014), work has reached Dunrobin, west of Ottawa. This leaves approximately 9 miles to where the line meets the Renfrew Sub at Nepean Junction.

The Beachburg once acted as CN's transcontinental route via the Ottawa Valley. Now all trains heading west must be routed to Toronto before they can continue the journey west.

Hoping that the work continues long enough that I can make it over to grab some pictures.

The former length of the Beachburg Sub marked in red

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Railfanning Syracuse, NY October 5-6, 2014

As the title suggests, myself and my girlfriend made a trip to Syracuse, New York on October 5th and 6th to do a bit of shopping, as well as some train watching on the CSX mainline. On this trip, I got very lucky with the variety of power that was around.

We began with a trip to the mall for a number of hours, which conveniently is located directly beside the tracks. If you park on the top level of the parking garage at the Destiny USA mall, it offers a good view for watching trains roll by. The only downside is the number of trees blocking good vantage points for photography. Still though, it offers a break from shopping for us train fanatics.

After we had finished up shopping, it was time to go catch some trains on camera!

Shortly after arriving at Pump Road near Jordan, NY, Amtrak 707 came rolling slowly towards us out of Syracuse.

They weren't moving very fast, which lead me to believe that they had a slow order over the bumpy crossover in the video. 707 is a GE P32AC-DM built in 1995

Shortly after 707 had passed, a light came around the corner in the distance. It was CSX 7587 following 707 west.

An interesting note about 7587 is that it was the last GE C40-8 to wear CSX's Stealth paint scheme.

That spelled the end of trains for the day as it started to rain.

The next day, after we had checked out of the hotel, we drove over to DeWitt Yard in East Syracuse. This is the main yard for CSX in Syracuse. The yard is fairly large, so there are a few spots that we stopped to catch some trains.

The first spot is at East First Street. This street parallels the tracks, and often trains stop here for crew changes. As we pulled up, we got a treat. CSX 7548, and HLCX 6334 were parked, and the crew were preparing their train to depart. I grabbed a few quick shots of both units before they began to head west.

As they rolled out, we moved to the east end of the yard. Don't worry though, we'll be back to this spot later.

The second location for watching trains at DeWitt is the pedestrian bridge at the eastern edge of the yard.

We arrived here, and less than two minutes after, UP 8496 came racing under us hauling a unit ethanol train.

We were not expecting this train so soon, and it shows in the quality, but this was my first ever picture of a UP unit (with the exception of the units CN purchased and patched of course).

As the tail end of 8496's train passed, the yard switcher began to roll towards the bridge.

Note the power lines at the top of the picture. These, and the fact that the pedestrian bridge is fenced in can make shooting here difficult. The same can be said for the other direction, but instead of power lines, there is road bridge blocking the view as seen above.

The switchers power consisted of CSX 6055, and 2772. They continued rolling towards the bridge, and eventually passed under our feet.

I added the photo below to show the fencing used on the pedestrian bridge.

That was all for this location, for now.

Next up was a quick stop at Bolivar Road near Sullivan. Here, we caught Amtrak 703 heading east.

We were heading towards Rome when I spotted a potential spot to shoot some trains. This spot is just off Highway 31 in Verona where an old roadway comes down to the tracks. As luck would have it, when I got out to checkout the sight line, a train was rolling west very slowly. They crept closer, and it turned out to be a BNSF 8108 leading a grain train and three other BNSF units! A shout out to my girlfriend Lauren for snapping these pics of the BNSF units as I manned the video camera.

About twenty minutes later, I heard an eastbound talking to a work train over the scanner. Another five minutes passed, and then CSX 4533 came around the bend to the west with a nice treat. SOO 6037 was trailing. This was my first time seeing an old SOO locomotive.

SOO 6037 is an EMD SD60 that thankfully is (back) in service. Many of these CP owned units are in storage, but in the last while, they have begun to show up. I was lucky enough to get this one.

We then began our journey back making the same stops, but in reverse. There was also a bit of a detour to Chittenango Falls State Park. If anyone reading this ever gets the chance to go the area, I'd recommend a trip to the park.

Back at Bolivar Road, another Amtrak, this time 716 west came rolling by heading into Syracuse.

Continuing the drive back, brings us to the pedestrian bridge where my luck continued. Shortly after arriving, CSX 5731, 8350, and CITX 3070 came rolling into the yard leading train Q227. The shadows from the trees and the bridge created a tricky shot at this time of day. You can see the shadows of myself, and my girlfriend standing on the bridge.

I wanted to get a few good pictures of the CITX unit so we adventured back over to E First Street. CITX 3070 is an EMD SD40-2, originally built as SOO 753.

One last surprise came rolling up as I was taking pictures of 3070. CSX train Q627 lead by CSX 4029 (EMD SD40-3), CEFX 1046 (GE AC44CW), CP 9501 (GE AC44CW), CSX 1239 (EMD MP15T), 6125 (EMD GP40-2), 4407 (EMD GP40-2), and 1191 (EMD MP15AC) slowly came up beside Q227.

That was the end of the railfanning in Syracuse for this trip. I certainly was not disappointed.

I'll leave you with this panorama shot of Q627, with Q227 hiding in the background.

The majority of these trains that I caught have videos, which can be viewed on my YouTube Channel. More Pictures can also be seen on my Flickr account.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

An Afternoon with Quebec Gatineau Railway 2009, and 2302.

On Thursday, September 11, 2014 I had a day off from work and decided to adventure to the other side of the Ottawa River to get some action shots of the Quebec Gatineau Railway.

Originally, I was planning on catching the road trains which run between Gatineau, and Ste-Thérèse, Quebec. These trains go by the ID of STGA, and GAST, and sometimes they meet at Thurso where they exchange trains. However, I had made a mistake. These trains do not run on Thursday, but on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday instead. After I had realized this, I did a bit of digging on my phone and found that on Tuesday and Thursday, the local switcher into Gatineau had been running as of late. This made me happy because it meant that I could get a shot of a train along the new STO "Rapibus" corridor.

The Rapibus is Gatineau's version of Ottawa's transit way. In order to construct much of this new bus-way, QGRY trackage was torn-up and relayed to the south of the Rapibus. In fact, according to their website, STO now owns two sections of track between the Prince of Wales Bridge and Montée Paiement, and between Montée Paiement and Lorrain.

Below is a map of the Rapibus route. At its west end, you can see a light grey line that crosses the Ottawa River. This is the Prince of Wales Bridge. Many hope that in the future the bridge will be used for an LRT link between Ottawa, and Gatineau. As of right now, it sees no rail traffic.

A map of the Rapibus route. Source.
Now, back to the trains.

We begin just outside of Thurso where QGRY services a pulp mill owned by Fortress Paper Ltd. The pulp mill can be seen in the background of the below picture. At 15:48, QGRY 2009, and 2302 begin their journey west for Gatineau, leaving with just one boxcar.

QGRY 2009 is an ex Conrail EMD GP38, while 2302, from the little bit of information I found is a GP39-2, ex VRE V08.

Going away shot of 2009, and 2302 at Thurso, Quebec.

After they had passed, I hopped in the car and drove the 10 or so minute drive to Masson-Angers to wait for them to arrive.

Masson-Angers hosts an old railway station, which has seen better days:

The station was built in 1877 by the Québec, Montréal, Ottawa and Occidental Railway Company (QMO&O), and as you can tell is no longer used. On the left in the distance is the western leg of the Buckingham Spur Wye. The spur runs northward to, you guessed it, Buckingham where QGRY services a few industries.

After a short wait, 2009 and 2302 arrive and pickup five boxcars to go along the current one for Gatineau.

QGRY 2009, and 2302 make a pickup at Masson-Angers, Quebec.
Before they departed, I left to scout out a spot along the Rapibus corridor to get a few shots. I figured the best spot would be Rue Gouin as this is where they would reverse into the former Bowater plant, now Resolute Forest Products. This location is also where the former Gatineau offices, and yard were located. See the "Yard Limits" sign on the right side the picture below, as well as the rapidbus on the left.

Before long, the train approached, and I snapped a few pictures, this one being my personal favorite:

As they paused to reverse into Resolute, I snapped a picture of 2009 beside the Rapibus station Gouin.

The hope after this was that they would come back out quickly, but unfortunately, they did not, and that spelled the end of my day.

I've provided the below map to show the area covered today. Hope you enjoyed reading. More posts to come!

Friday, August 29, 2014

A Weekend Trip to Sault Ste. Marie

On the weekend of August 22, myself and a few friends made a trip to Sault Ste. Marie (the Soo), Ontario for a wedding. I had the chance to go out a few mornings, as well as one evening. Of course though, I was sick so that limited what I was capable of doing.

Saturday was the first morning out around town, and it wasn't long before I found something interesting to look at. Below we have a shot of CN 2170, Algoma Central (AC) 10105, and AC 9609 sitting on the north end of the CN yard.

The Algoma Central Railway is now owned by Canadian National. Prior to this, the railway operated from the Soo to Hearst, Ontario before being purchased by Wisconsin Central, and then CN. Algoma Central lives on through passenger service still operated by CN on the entire route (pictures of the old equipment still being used below). There is also the famed Agawa Canyon Tour which operates throughout the Spring, Summer, and Fall.

After taking the above picture, I saw that the northbound passenger train (which goes by CN 631) preparing to leave. So, I decided to head north and get a shot of the train at a crossing near mile 10. As the train passes with CN 4135 leading, I got a wave from a crew member.

That was all for the day as I really was not feeling well.

The next morning, it was back out to catch the canyon train. I arrived at the main yard just as the consist was leaving to head to the loading area downtown. Downtown is where these first shots were taken of the leader CN 105 in the Agawa Canyon paint scheme.

After snapping a few pics, it was time to scout out a spot for video. I decided on a crossing near Lower Island Lake. About 15 minutes later, I began to hear the deep rumble and horn of CN 105 pulling uphill. Sure enough, a few minutes later the Canyon Train rounds the curve in the distance.

And before I knew it, they were passing me.

CN 7080 brought up the rear to lead the trip back later in the day.

It was then time to head back into town and scout out the Huron Central Railway's yard. I arrived on scene to see no units in the yard. Here's the view from the east end near the offices.

Sure enough though, patience paid off and Quebec Gatineau 2500 came around the bend to act as the yard switcher. Boy was she smoking!

I waited around for a bit, but was getting hungry. So I headed to grab some lunch. When I returned, I found that QGRY 2500 had been switched out for the road power! Huron Central 802, 3802, and 3010 pushed one flat car westward towards the CN interchange yard.

Huron Central 802 in its current state is a RM-1 road slug. Previously 802 was a GP38.

That was all I had time for for the morning. I did however manage to get back out later that evening in hopes of catching the CN freight come in from the States, but I got there a little too late. Seen below is CN 8869 yarding its train.

That was all I was expecting to see, but then realized that the southbound passenger train, CN 632, was due in. And within 10 minutes, CN 4135 lead the train back into the passenger drop off area.

This time, I got a few close up shots of the old Algoma Central cars still in use.

Below, AC 78 provides electrical Head End Power (HEP) to the passenger cars. Originally, AC 78 was Denver & Rio Grande Western PB-1 unit number 600B before later becoming 6002. In 1965, 6002 was converted into a steam generator car, and eventually converted again in 1987 to provide HEP. In 2007 the car was purchased to operate on its current routing between Sault Ste. Marie, and Hearst.

Algoma Central 78

AC 311 provided the baggage services on the train. 311 is formerly CN 71303, ex-VIA 9628, ex-CN 9628, originally CN 9247.

AC 311

And that spelled the end of the trains for my trip. I hope to be back sometime when I'm not sick, and have more time.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Starting Something New

After a short stint on Tumblr last year, I decided it was time to start somewhere new. Since the majority of the things I do online these days involve Google, Blogger was a natural choice.

For those of you who don't know me, let me tell you a bit about myself. My name is David Gray. Born and raised in Westville, Nova Scotia a small town just outside New Glasgow. After completing my Bachelor of Information Systems degree in 2014 at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, NS I moved to Orleans, Ontario which is a suburb of Ottawa. Currently 23 years old, I did not start railfanning until I was 21 when I chased down my first train on the Cape Breton & Central Nova Scotia Railway (CBNS).

My goal is to use this blog to regularly update on my adventures, as well as post about the happenings in the railway world.

I hope that you will come along with me as I explore new areas of Canada, and the World!

Left: CN 8938 leads BNSF 5729 past mile 79 on the Kingston Subdivision. August 8, 2014.