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Canadian Railroads > Snow? What snow?

Date: 03/11/19 22:41
Snow? What snow?
Author: Parkcar

In December of 1985, word was received that not only was a fresh snowfall expected in the mountains over the next few days, but that snowplows would be running daily in the Roger's Pass, east and west of Revelstoke.  Booking off work, loading tall winter boots, lots of ballast in the truck box and plenty of granola bars, off I went in search of working snowplows.  The pics of that are for another day but I recall waking up at the hotel in Revelstoke, to see about 2 1/2 feet of fresh snow on my truck.  What I hadn't counted on is that virtually every highway pull off was plugged tight with snow and thus opportunities to pull over were minimal, making snowplow photos difficult to obtain. What I would have given for a pair of snowshoes!
On my trip west from Calgary to Revelstoke, I followed a westbound mixed west of Banff. The closer I got to the divide between Alberta and BC, the more snow accumulated until it looked like the most beautiful alpine wonderland. The trees had held on to all they could possibly withstand, to the point of breaking branches.  This shot of CP 5823 West at the Divide, with the train probably partly in Alberta and partly in BC as it crested the border between the two provinces.
I knew that it was going to be a good few days of shooting, if the sun would just come out.  This pristine alpine setting contrasts nicely with the grain train headed for the wetcoast.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/11/19 22:45 by Parkcar.

Date: 03/12/19 06:33
Re: Snow? What snow?
Author: Trainatic

Most beautiful indeed. Thanks for posting

Date: 03/12/19 07:07
Re: Snow? What snow?
Author: sarailfan

Indeed, that train is about half in BC. The signals about 15 cars back are for the switch at Stephen, which is the west end of the double track up from Lake Louise. The summit is between Stephen and the crossover at Divide, a little over a mile east of Stephen. Nice shot, and if you think finding a winter pullout for railfanning is hard, try finding a spot to park a semi truck for the night in the mountains!

Posted from Android

Darren Boes
Lethbridge, AB
Southern Alberta Railfan

Date: 03/12/19 09:57
Re: Snow? What snow?
Author: TCnR

Interesting story. Agree with the no pull-outs during the storm, just had that happen way down here in California. During the storm the main concern is simply plowing the road and they build up a huge berm along side the road. Eventually they clear it all out and there does seem to be some magic number for when there is action on the RR and places to pull out.

There's also the idea of where the flat spot next to the road had been before the storm, if you guess wrong you would be very stuck, if you guess right all you need is a train to come by. Also agree with snow shoes being very handy.

Thanks for posting, great photo and story.

Date: 03/12/19 16:54
Re: Snow? What snow?
Author: spdaylight

IOTD candidate!


Date: 03/13/19 10:18
Re: Snow? What snow?
Author: eminence_grise

I totally agree about the lack of pull outs on winter roads.

What I wasn't expecting was how dark and gloomy British Columbia can be in the winter.  Although Rogers Pass gets huge amounts of snow, it comes from thick clouds which remain in place for weeks about 500 feet from the valley floor.

Most of the valleys will get a huge dump of snow followed by a warming trend as rain.

Occasionally there would be spectacular sunny days, but the days of 1/60 of a second at f2 on Kodakcrome 64 far outnumbered them.

Most of my winter railroad shots in BC. were shop track pictures ankle deep in melt water.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 03/13/19 18:38 by eminence_grise.

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