A day of railfanning at Portage la Prairie, Manitoba yielded well over 20 trains between 0900 and 1700. Two CN and two CP mainlines converging and bringing a plethora of box and covered hopper grain trains, priority intermodal, VIA passenger trains and switching moves that kept this 18 year-old railfan busy on a sunny June 11, 1982. CN got into the act at 1027 with the second train of the day, rolling 120 grain loads east behind SD40's 5147-5217 with caboose 79545:
The third train of the day at 1038 (top photo) was an eastbound 100-car CP priority freight behind 8697-8801-4403. Both railways still used F-units and B-units in freight service. Auto parts, auto racks, TOFC and COFC and even a double-deck stock car were on this train. The CP-to-CN connecting track used by VIA is in foreground. The first train of the day was 130 eastbound CP grain loads behind 5921-5991 at 0947 (below) flying white flags as it takes the CP interlocking at West Tower. I recorded eight new Saskatchewan SKPX and 4 new Alberta ALPX covered hoppers on this train:
VIA's pint-sized train to Saskatoon: 6519-604-3215 arrived from Winnipeg at 1156:At least three unphotographed trains slipped by at lunchtime:
1201 EB CP mixed freight 5942-8805.
1215 EB CN 4295-4283.
1246 EB CN 5180-5122.
At 1309, westbound SD40-2W's 5245-5329 are on the north main at the CN station, with MPE Pool 'B' elevator in the background. Mixed freight ahead of caboose 79257 seems to include a couple of insulated cars from Campbell's Soup lifted from the CN-CP interchange deep in the yard.
Short and sweet - CP GP9 8621's friendly hogger waves as his three-car work train from the Carberry Sub hustles east with van 434427 fifteen minutes later. Grain boxes loaded at MPE Pool 'A' and stored mechanical reefers can be seen in the background:Not to be outdone, lone CN Geep 4322 trundles through the Eighth Street crossover eastbound from the Rivers Sub with 40 grain loads*: 3 boxcars, 37 covered hoppers and 1 ballast car.
It's only six minutes later, and with ditch lights and white classification lights burning bright, CP 5987-5627 hightail it east from the Minnedosa Sub - mostly grain but also tank car RUDX 402 and hicube box CPAA 205971 plus 106 more cars ahead of van 434378, photographed passing Portage's westernmost UGG elevator.
Destined for the Minnedosa Sub, candy-striped CP 5717 and 5736 drag 133 grain empties including at least nine each SKPX and ALPX covered hoppers and van 434670. The train skirts a string of stored, dirty mechanical reefers as switcher CP 6569 trundles along the switdching lead, far right background:
At 1426, ten minutes later, CN sends two westbounds through with paired SD's. First is 5189-5084 with 34 CWR cars, 56 mixed freight and caboose 79710; second is 5232-5354 with 92 grain empties and 79286, sailing through a sea of grass as CP's section speeder heads to the shed for the night at left.
Just before 1500, VIA train 1 arrives with 15 cars behind ex-CN 6507-6607-6611. No 1 was in no hurry to leave town, being stabbed at West Tower for 30 minutes waiting for CP traffic. A short cab visit netted a hogger's eye view of the way west:
Then five more unphotographed trains:
1505 WB CP 5524-5010-105 potash etys-434568.
1530 EB CN 5095-5090-5153-79742.
CP 6569 simmered along to Campbell's Soup with end-cupola van 437000.
1556 WB CP 5525-121 grain etys-434131.
1612 EB CN 5231-5014-120 grain loads*-79591.
VIA train 2 behind ex-CP 1405-1961-1402 and 15 cars rolls out of the setting sun at 1634:
The last two trains before suppertime were CN 5269-5009 westbound at 1657 with some mixed freight but mostly empty lumber cars for BC including Mountain Pine Lumber boxcar MPLX 1015, GCFX all-door boxes 862, 869 and 907, and Finlay Forest Products bulkhead flat FFIX 173074 and caboose 79546. This train has just met 30 eastbound grain box loads* behind GMD-1's 1053-1054 and 79763. Sunburnt, windburnt and seeking sustenance, it was time to call it a day, head to Winnipeg with relatives for supper and an after-dinner visit to Symington Yard.Consists of grain trains with * will be featured in an upcoming post.
Just finished listening to Richard Wolffe's Renegade: The Making of a President. An excellent study of the interesting life, dramatic campaign and eventful presidency of Barack Obama. 'Renegade' was also his Secret Service codename.
Just re-elected, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's RCMP code name could be 'Hobby Shop' because he's been known to frequent a Calgary hobby shop to pick up model trains 'for his son'. It's OK Steve, the Canadian public would be alright with knowing the stuff is really for you.
Thanks for all the interest shown and purchases made in our Trackside Treasure Spring Cleaning Sale (If you're reading this, the remaining items are now 20% off.) I'm pleased to see these items finding good homes. Not that mine isn't good, it's just a tad full. Stay tuned for further sale posts for some items you might like, and vote to show what you might like to see.