Saturday, April 28, 2007

Great Thundering Trains!


....in Thunder Bay, of course!
September 13: We started the day by heading to a Future Shop to buy a bigger CF card for the camera. At the checkout, we asked the clerk if she could recommend a good place for lunch. She replied that the old train station on Water Street had a nice restaurant in it.

Geez, is it that obvious? I mean, do we have "RAILFAN" tatooed on our foreheads, or something? (I don't recall that I was wearing a train T-shirt that day).

So here's where we had a pretty good lunch, on a terrace overlooking the park and marina:

The station is also home to a couple of shops, and to the Thunder Bay Model Rail Association (which unfortunately for us, is only open to the public until Labour Day) . As we were strolling around the park, a stack train came down from the north on the track behind the station -- and stopped, blocking most of the access roads to the park. Fortunately, there was still one exit open, so we left to commence our serious railfanning for the day.

Not knowing Thunder Bay at all, we adopted the strategy of just driving around wherever our map (a road atlas that includes pretty good street maps for just about every town in Northern Ontario) showed railway tracks. Here's a couple of the things we found:

Grain terminals, of course -- the waterfront is stiff with them -- and the accompanying grain cars.

At the Keefer Intermodal terminal, (below) this passenger car with an unknown logo on the side. What on earth is that, and who owns it? More cars for VIA, awaiting delivery and conversion?

We spent a good long while on the Central Avenue bridge, which spans the north end of the yard. Here's that stack train -- a good kilometer away from the depot -- headed by a SD90MAC and an AC4400CW:

Another pair of AC4400's popped out of the yard, apparently to confer with the incoming train crew:
This is a view looking south along the yard:

After this, we drove along the rail corridor, stopping again somewhere down the south end of town where we found several engines parked near a grade crossing that gave public access without trespassing on the property. Here's a brace of GP9u's:

Below are some interesting yard locos, which we saw in operation earlier that day. Each unit consists of a SD40M-2 (right) and a "control cab" (left) -- a SW1200 with the engine removed. I assume the idea is that the set can be driven from either cab, allowing the operator good visibility, whichever direction they are moving.

A little further along, we found this MOW equipment.

Snow plow:











OK, what the heck is this thing? Flanger? I'm not up on all the wierd-looking machines they use to maintain track.










Don't let anyone tell you that pre-fab sectional track isn't prototypical!











A couple of attempts to be artsy: I love the S-bends created by the crossovers, especially when fore-shortened by the telephoto lens.

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