Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Trackside Log for Tuesday, May 20, 2008

This was the last day of our 2008 grain elevator extravaganza in Saskatchewan and beyond. We got started in Medicine Hat, Alberta and needed to get to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan that day to catch our plane the following day. No problem, we had plenty of time. Along the way we discovered a number of Canadian Pacific trains on the main line.
  • 1005 MDT Dunmore, AB - CP power - CP 5919-SOO 6035 (photo)
Wait a second. That train looks familiar.
  • 1029 MDT Irvine, AB - CP westbound - CP 6069-CP 8840-GCFX 3097 (photo)
  • 1120 MDT Walsh, AB - CP westbound - CP 9117-CP 9137 (photo)
  • 1325 CST Maple Creek, SK - CP westbound - CP 8505-CP 8719 (photo)
  • 1340 CST Maple Creek, SK - CP 671 west - CP 8573-CP 9731/CP 8743-CP 9591
  • 1454 CST Gull Lake, SK - CP westbound - CP 6604-CP 5757-GCFX 3062 (photo 1, photo 2)
After Gull Lake we left the Canadian Pacific main line and drove to Saskatoon and our lodging. This was a good trip. I we photographed plenty of grain elevators, trains, scenery and generally relaxed. That's why I take these trips.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Trackside Log for Monday, May 19, 2008

OK, we're going to try this again. This is the third time I've been to Sandpoint to photograph a morning train crossing the Lake Pend Oreille bridge. Sam and I got out nice and early and no sooner got on our way when we heard a foreman get a work permit for the bridge. Son-of-a...! That's the third time that's happened to me. So instead Sam and I drove over to the interchange yard and photographed the local power.
  • 0840 PDT Sandpoint, ID - BNSF power - BNSF 3009-BNSF 3013 (photo)
I was pretty frustrated so I decided to push north to British Columbia. After a quick border crossing we headed to Cranbrook where we found a westbound just arriving and an eastbound about to depart.
  • 1221 PDT Cranbrook, BC - CP eastbound - UP 8287-CP 9702
  • 1228 PDT Cranbrook, BC - CP westbound - UP 8259-CP 9556/UP 8303 (photo)
Nothing else was in the area so we continued eastward along Highway 3. Sam and I enjoyed the scenery of Crowsnest Pass and exited the mountains at Cowley, AB. Here we found a meet between two Canadian Pacific trains.
  • 1536 MDT Cowley, AB - CP westbound - CP 8754-CP 8800-CP 9707 (photo)
  • 1548 MDT Cowley, AB - CP eastbound - UP 8301-UP 8263 (photo)
We figured out that our evening's destination would be Medicine Hat, Alberta. On our way through Lethbridge we checked out the monster trestle over the Oldman River. Sam was suitably impressed. No trains were immenent though so we continued east toward Medicine Hat. At Burdett we photographed our last train of the day.
  • 1847 MDT Burdett, AB - CP westbound - CP 5919-SOO 6035
Then it was straight to Medicine Hat for a good meal and night's sleep.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Trackside Log for Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sam and I woke up from a restful night in Consul, Saskatchewan. The first order of the day, after breakfast, was to cross the border into Montana. Our border crossing was remote and opened at 0900. We were about fifteen minutes early so we waited and took a few photographs at the border. After explaining the convoluted rental situation we were allowed into the United States and off we went. The next few days were purely railway and scenery oriented.
The first train of the day would be met in Burnham, Montana.
  • 1029 MDT Burnham, MT - BNSF eastbound - BNSF 5413-BNSF 4012-BNSF 8633-BNSF 4441 (photo)
We continued west on Route 2 and saw headlights approaching. It was the Empire Builder.
  • 1140 MDT Dunkirk, MT - AMTK 8 east "Empire Builder" - AMTK 206-AMTK 146 (photo)
In Shelby we found two parked power sets.
  • 1206 MDT Shelby, MT - BNSF power - BNSF 2349-BNSF 2881 (photo)
  • 1211 MDT Shelby, MT - BNSF power - BNSF 880-BNSF 5155 (photo)
From Shelby we started into the mountains and stopped at the Izaak Walton Inn at Essex, Montana. Originally we were going to try to spend the night there but the timing of our trip didn't work out quite right. Another time. We hiked up to the footbridge over the tracks and waited a while but no trains showed up. Getting a little impatient we moved on and caught up to a westbound intermodal train at Pinnacle. Apparently we just missed it at Essex. Bummer.
  • 1503 MDT Pinnacle, MT - BNSF westbound - BNSF 4833-BNSF 4971-BNSF 5240
Since the train was headed the same way we were we gave chase and photographed it a few more times.
  • 1518 MDT Nyack, MT - BNSF westbound - BNSF 4833-BNSF 4971-BNSF 5240 (photo)
  • 1524 MDT east of West Glacier, MT - BNSF westbound - BNSF 4833-BNSF 4971-BNSF 5240
  • 1607 MDT Whitefish, MT - BNSF westbound - BNSF 4833-BNSF 4971-BNSF 5240 (photo)
At Whitefish we left the tracks for a while because Route 2 diverges from the main line. Having not heard very much we drove all the way to Sandpoint, Idaho. We were exploring town a little and before long heard on the scanner that an eastbound was on its way. Perfect! This was my third visit to Sandpoint and the other two times I'd been hosed on photographing trains on the bridge over Lake Pend Oreille. This was the reverse vantage point from what I really want, but I'd take it.
  • 1905 PDT Sandpoint, ID - BNSF eastbound - BNSF 9895-BNSF 9570/BNSF 9175 (photo)
Finally! The photograph looked great so it made an excellent cap to the day. The light was waning and I hadn't heard any more trains in the area so we found a place to stay for the evening and some food.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Trackside Log for Friday, May 16, 2008

Today started at a car rental agency. The previous day we discovered that our rental Grand Prix had a malfunctioning fuel gauge. This is not good when you're driving around remote parts of Saskatchewan. You really want to know how much fuel you have in the tank. We made arrangements to exchange cars this morning. Our first replacement was a Toyota Sienna but when we got it up to about 80 km/h on the Trans-Canada Highway the trim around the windshield vibrated and made a rather annoying screaming noise. Back to the rental agency where we got our next replacement, a Buick Century. All this took a couple hours. What a pain.
Anyway, when we finally got on the road we found a Canadian Pacific westbound in Ernfold.
  • 1101 CST Ernfold, SK - CP eastbound - CP 5936-CP 5956
After photographing the grain elevator in Morse we espied Canadian Pacific eastbound coal train from the Trans-Canada Highway.
  • 1134 CST Herbert, SK - CP eastbound - CP 8794-CP 8601/CP 8551 (photo)
Next, after photographing the Paterson elevator in Herbert we find yet another Canadian Pacific eastbound. This time it's an intermodal.
  • 1202 CST Fauna, SK - CP eastbound - CP 8862-CP 9543
This was the first Vancouver 2010 Olympic locomotive I'd seen.
After traipsing around some remote areas of Saskatchewan south of Swift Current we arrived in Assiniboia where the Great Western Railway usually stores their engines. Today we found three. One of their newly aquired M-420s was absent.
  • 1610 CST Assiniboia, SK - Great Western Railway power - GWRS 2004 (photo)
  • 1612 CST Assiniboia, SK - Great Western Railway power - GWRS 2000-GWRS 2001 (photo 1, photo 2, photo 3)
Our destination for the evening was Weyburn, Saskatchewan. We followed branch lines all the way there and discovered a Canadian Pacific baggage car parked in the small yard in Amulet.
  • 1859 CST Amulet, SK - CP 404925 tool and cable car (photo)
I have no idea why it was in Amulet which is pretty much the middle of nowhere.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Trackside Log for Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Today was the first day of my grain elevator excursion to the Canadian prairies for 2008. Once again Sam was with me to take in the scenery and help with the photography duties. As always, the primary purpose is to photograph the dwindling number of country grain elevators in the prairies. Any trains I happen across are merely a bonus. The exception this year is that we're taking a side trip to Montana and Idaho purely for trains. The first train we encountered was in Landis, Saskatchewan.
  • 0810 CST Landis, SK - CN eastbound - CN 2266-CN 5748 (photo)
Farther along the Canadian National main we find a second eastbound.
  • 0833 CST Cavell, SK - CN eastbound - CN 2509-CN 5504 (photo)
After switching to the Canadian Pacific tracks we run across a CP eastbound.
  • 1054 CST Senlac, SK - CP eastbound - CP 9644
Now following the Canadian Pacific branches we see a set of two Canadian Pacific GP38-2s in the yard in Kerrobert, Saskatchewan.
  • 1224 CST Kerrobert, SK - CP power - CP 3048-CP 3068 (photo)
The remainder of the day was spent on low volume branch lines so we didn't see any more trains this day. We found a nice motel to spend the night in Kindersley, Saskatchewan and reflected on a fine day of photography.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Trackside Log for Thursday, May 1, 2008

I wound up in Austin, Texas for the week.  I was at the IBM research centre there with two others from work to learn about upcoming technology.  I had some time to myself on Thursday morning so I walked from the hotel down to the Amtrak station to have a look at the Texas Eagle.
  • 0916 Austin, TX - Amtrak 22 east "Texas Eagle" - AMTK 4 (photo)
After a couple photos I walked back to the hotel to meet up with the others.