Thursday, January 26, 2012

Railfanning Regina

Railfanning Regina, Saskatchewan is not something I have a lot of experience doing.  In fact, I've railfanned Regina three times in thirty years, the most recent time vicariously.  The first two were from trackside, in 1982 and 1986, while the former CP station was still in use by VIA's Canadian.  In June 1982, my aunt and uncle and I drove west from Portage la Prairie to Regina to take in the Farm Equipment Show.  On June 18, we stopped in Indian Head, Saskatchewan, checking out elevator row as VIA No 1 rolled west behind 6507-6607-6611.  The following night in Regina, we stopped by the former CP station, as an eastbound freight behind CP 5999-4706 trundled by at 2048 with van 434504:  
VIA No 1 was next at 2057: 6505-6606-6604-617-124-116-514-5742-Irondale-1377-Elnora-Entwistle-Extew-York-Chateau Levis-Chateau Maisonneuve-Dawson Manor-Kootenay Park:
Chopnosed GP9u  CP 8200 (ex-8615) was in the yard, with 8483 behind, and six other units idling nearby:
Another chopnosed unit GP9u CP 1569 (ex-8625) was down by the station on September 29,1985 (below).  I'd  arrived in Regina at 0430 on the Canadian, which was 3 hours late at Winnipeg.  I stayed in the station until 0500, noticing the vintage doors and tunnels that led from the concourse to other tracks, and as the station was about to close, I headed out to spend two and a half hours occasionally doing jumping jacks to stay warm in the 0 degree Fahrenheit air, huddled in a law firm doorway across from the car rental agency. My patience was rewarded with a free upgrade when the clerk finally opened up.  My Dodge Omni was still at Regina airport, so I was given a Chrysler Fifth Avenue at the same rate.  As the kids say today, "Like!".  I spent a couple of days in my tricked-out ride, exploring elevator towns east and south of the Queen City, including CN's Lewvan Sub.  
A final drive around Regina included RCMP's Depot Division, where I observed my car's Dodge Diplomat brethren's speedometers reached blistering 120 mph, with mine only reaching a sedate sedan 85 mph.  At Regina's station, an assortment of CP switching jobs were arriving to yard their trains, and drop their Angus vans on the van track near the station as the crews disembarked.  GP35's 5019-5012 and 434473 arrived from the east at 1700 (top), then GP38-2 3031, also from the east, kicked its van 434406:
Like most CP terminals, the CP Police were well-represented, so I remained inside the Fifth Avenue while photographing.  An eastbound grain train at 1720 was powered by CP 5965-3022-5015-Conrail 7799 (below), plus three other CP freights before boarding No 2 at 2315: 1925 WB 5907-Chessie 3716-5693-3011-8493, with newly-outshopped van 434309, 1932 EB 6057-5626, and 2043 WB intermodal with 6006-5732-5716, the last two SD's with high multimarks and full nose striping.
After a carwash and before returning the rental, I had posed it for posterity near the front steps of Saskatchewan's Legislative Building on Wascana (name of a CPR diner) Lake.  Classy, unbridled plush luxury fully loaded and built for looks and speed, unexpectedly reserved for an otherwise undeserving Ontario railfan!
Regina railfan and loyal Trackside Treasure reader Elijah Hall helped me with my third railfan visit to Regina in absentia.  While touring the SaskTel building in July 2010, Elijah took these photos of the Regina station (now casino) area as it exists presently.
A model railroad-like view of intermodal equipment, stacked containers and tank cars makes an interesting scene several floors down.  GP9u 1535 (ex-8620) and a van nearly too tagged to read its side number are switching some tank cars.
GATX 58613 and CP 434412:
Elijah also sent along a bonus shot of Last Mountain Rail's motive power west of Bethune, Saskatchewan.  Thanks, Elijah!

Running extra...

While reading Say Everything...How Blogging Began by Scott Rosenberg, I came across this apropos passage, "Most bloggers, in fact, are far more assiduous than the proprietors of other kinds of websites about preserving their outdated material.  They know their own back-catalog[ue] well, and link back into it to support a point, to explain a reference, or just to highlight something that tickles them.  For the great mass of bloggers who would never have jotted down their thoughts in the first place if they didn't have a blog, their posts represent the opposite of oblivion: they are a personal archive that can serve as a bulwark against forgetfulness."  What he said.

Having watched Witness, the 1985 thriller starring Harrison Ford, Kelly McGillis and Czech-born Canadian actor Jan Rubes, due to the year of production, I was not surprised to see at least three unmarked Dodge Diplomats in the denouement, as the murderous plot has been resolved.  Luxurious law-enforcement limos.


Zartok-35 said...

Well done! You've made good use of my pictures, as well as yours.
All sorts of different geeps, even some leased from the northeast roads! The CP power shortage in the mid-1980s must have been very exciting!
That shot with the Century and the Reimer Express trailer is very nice.

Manny said...

Thanks Eric for the nice retro look. Love the 5th Avenue, looking much cleaner than on the mud roads of previous Trackside Treasure writeups. Nice location by the steps as well. Very interesting selection of CP and VIA pix. Seems a bit difficult to find shots of VIA F40s at Regina though. If anyone reading has such pix I would be interested in seeing them. They would be from a narrow window 1986-1990 I guess.

Eric said...

Thanks for your comments, gentlemen.

Elijah, I didn't have to let you know the post featuring your photos was response time on your part. There was indeed a nice assortment of units in the eighties, and I'm preparing a couple of posts on CN's lease units. CP started leasing a few years earlier, but both were large leasers in the mid-90's, the focus of my posts. Thanks again for sharing those Regina photos, which were the inspiration for this post. Watch for more Saskatchewan posts from interestingly-named places like Wartime, Stranraer, Milestone, Conquest and Elbow.

Manny, perhaps someone reading this will indeed have photos you're looking for. The Fifth Avenue was infinitely nicer than the more utilitarian Cavalier I rented the following year. The F40'S headed west in early '87.


Bryan said...

Hi Eric,

An interesting follow-up, in case you haven't seen it:


Eric said...

Had not seen that before, Bryan. Thanks very much for the link. It even includes some of the other places I visited out of Saskatoon. Of those places, I wonder how many still have any elevators onsite...which makes the ones I saw definite treasure found trackside.