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Canadian Railroads > Wainwright Wednesday - Dodging the Clouds Near Viking


Date: 07/22/20 13:17
Wainwright Wednesday - Dodging the Clouds Near Viking
Author: feclark

This 15-shot post documents a day trip on Monday, July 20, headed out the Wainwright Sub toward Viking, Alberta. A few verticals may post funny until the Chris can rotate them. I made the tracks near Uncas around 0700, and on the drive to Viking encountered 5 westbounds, none of them photographed. A cloud bank made things less than ideal, a few were surprises, so I wrote them off. The first four were being held for #806 which was just short of Uncas, so I hoped to catch a break in the cloud by Viking. East of town, I set up at Range Road 223, MP 180.20, because the morning angles for EB would be fine.
1. Of course, what happened first was another WB, #116 behind 3261 with DPU 8102 and 508 axles of stack train, doing 40 mph at 0843. Not ideal, but at least action and sunlit (the tracks run SE/NW, so early morning WB still get decent flank light).
2. Although I'd expected 806 might be my first EB, I was surprised to get #318, with a short cut of mixed freight, then a long string of P&H grain cars. Any GM in the lead is a treat, even better to see 8101, former EMD demo, plus 2971 at 1005. Temperature was up to 19 degrees, 772 axles meant 190 cars, and speed was 47 mph. I was able to capture a bit of canola in the field on the south side of Highway 14, and the body of water has a nice slick of pond scum, driven to one side by the prevailing westerlies. This would have been a bit better an hour and more earlier. I obviously passed this train somewhere along the line without seeing it, so likely it had been at Lindbrook, where you're not hard by the tracks.
3. At last the expected 806 appeared at 1023, 202 grain empties behind six locomotives doing 37 mph. I only got the number of lead 8024 (nice to get the high headlights), with another GM and four GEs. Doing the math, it had taken this train nearly 3.5 hours to do the less than 70 miles from where I saw it in the distance near Uncas. This was about the limit for good light here, and I'd been lucky so far, catching all three trains at a break in the clouds.








Date: 07/22/20 13:32
Re: Wainwright Wednesday - Dodging the Clouds Near Viking
Author: feclark

4. It was quite a gap until something useful showed up. When the sun went track parallel, and deadly for WB, I drove in to Viking to see what was around, then back out to a lovely location I discovered last year. Township Road 472 takes you just off the highway, and it's pretty quiet, a nice place to park out of the way (of traffic and your own photos). It's at MP 178, so you get the detector at 177 telling you the particulars of what you shoot, and WB call MP 175, no restrictions, so you get good warning. In the driving, I lost grain train #821 at 1107, no useful sun angle to work (tangent track for 60+ miles), then at 1144, #863 sifted through here, again not a good enough angle to post the going-away shot. Of course, all the traffic seemed to be WB. Argh! In due time, 1218, #186 appeared behind 3237, with DPU pusher 3002. The temperature was up to a very pleasant 21 degrees, and 548 axles rolled through at 41 mph. The countryside east of Viking is quite interesting, with lots of rolling hills creating short cuts and fills that make the unrelieved tangent workable. The abundant rain we've had in this area has allowed the colourful wildflowers/weeds to thrive, and here they aren't above the railhead.
5. I got stabbed by a cloud for the coming shot, but clear for the going-away photo of #111 at 1249, 482 axles of stack train with DPU pusher 3857 rolling at 54 mph. This location is also nice, situated about halfway between Viking and Kinsella, because passing trains will often call "Advance clear to stop", or "Clear to stop (maybe with "take siding")", so you get a sense of upcoming traffic they'll be meeting. Sadly, the clouds don't know when to stay the heck off your sun patch.
6. Between the Wainwright Sub and the highway, lots of lows are filled with water to help out a photo; this is especially the case this year, as it was last year, with consistent rain. I can't say what the state of them is in a dry year. Of course, sun still being nose lit for EB, the WB parade continued, but at least this time the sun was out for #141, with 2270 and 2196 moving 468 axles of mostly empty well cars at 1301, clipping along at 43 mph.








Date: 07/22/20 13:44
Re: Wainwright Wednesday - Dodging the Clouds Near Viking
Author: feclark

7. An iffy shot to post, but it illustrates the day, which we've all experienced when the cumulus clouds are rolling. With so few EB at an EB location, when 198 showed up at 1342, it was time to hold my breath. The train outran the clouds, so rolled into the last 3 or 4 seconds of shade (drat!); I had set myself open one exposure number, from my usual 11 to 10, and it helped. For the record, 3112 and 3055 on the point, and DPU pusher 8870 were moving 458 axles at 44 mph, at a lovely 22 degrees.
8. The purist in me hates to resort to shots of pushers, but the tail end of the train was now in full sun, and I thought this angle of the grade crossing with Township Road 472 would work.
9. That train was due to stop in Wainwright for the crew to book off, and they were told of a meet at Irma, so I had a rough idea as to timing of the next WB. Ears peeled for the MP 175 reading, I walked the three minutes east to set up this gap in the trees and another "lake". In perfect light, 2705 brought #117 into view at 1445, with DPU pusher 3188 helping to hustle 440 axles of mostly empty well cars at 50 mph. I don't use a polarizing filter, but my goodness, the Nikon did a nice job with the clouds, which I now loved like my best friends! Hypocrite! When I showed this photo to my wife, she commented on liking the orderliness of the stacked containers, even saying, "They have the right social distancing!" We've been in this pandemic too long, I think. I was struck by the empties running WB, loads EB, so I guess the economy is picking up to the point we are importing stuff again, but not shipping out yet. Or am I reading too much into two trains?








Date: 07/22/20 13:57
Re: Wainwright Wednesday - Dodging the Clouds Near Viking
Author: feclark

10. Eastbound #358 came through at 1531, stabbed by the clouds, who were back in my bad books. Fickle railfan! At 1602, #199 arrived behind 2848 and 2809, with 416 axles of stack train doing only 38 mph. My suspicions were confirmed when it announced Clear to stop at Viking, or perhaps it was Torlea, so I knew an EB was due. This dictated a shift in location, a short distance west but still east of Viking, where the canola fields show up nicely behind the Wainwright Sub. Township Road 472 crossed the highway between Range Roads 122 and 121; I was headed for a little pull-off between Range Roads 124 and 125.
11. At about the appropriate time, #142 laboured up the grade at 1628, behind 2256 and 2851, bathed in sunlight, along with the canola. Temperature was 23 degrees, total axles 452, but the speed was much lower than the number attained by MP 177, about 5 miles east.
12. I eventually decided to head home, to Edmonton, but at Viking heard 108 call "Clear to Torlea". So I got turned around and sped back east of town to Range Road 124, then walked a short distance west (not quite as far west as the previous shot) to get #108 at 1718, assisted by DPU 3265. I didn't catch the detector's readout. When I was set up here, I thought how lovely it would be to shoot this with a drone, so that the vast canola fields would be more prominent. Also, it you shot from south of Highway 14, you could get yellow fields, highway, train, more fields. It would be quite stunning. No, I don't have plans to get a drone. Just sayin'.








Date: 07/22/20 14:12
Re: Wainwright Wednesday - Dodging the Clouds Near Viking
Author: feclark

13. Okay, the indications were things would be pretty quiet for WB, so it was time to head home. In passing by the town of Bruce (which is behind me, to my right), I saw EB lights in the distance, and pulled off just before this short bridge to shoot EB molten sulphur tanks at 1748, pulled by 8021 and 5757. My most recent Trackside Guide shows #774 as a likely candidate, Ram River AB to NS in Chicago. I got no scanner chatter to confirm. The distant signals control the east end of the long rail siding named Bruce. A thin sheet of cloud had built in behind the sparse cumulus, so a one-exposure opening to 19 seemed in order.
14. Once I got west of Tofield, I headed north on Range Road 194 to get to the former location of east switch Lindbrook. As I arrived, I could see the stationary tail of #199, and heard #808 call "Clear at Lindbrook." Nuts! I hustled across the grade crossing, and as I came to a stop the gates started coming down. I couldn't quite get into position, so I shot this cluttered view of 8802 and IC 2711 at 1839. Of course, this meant its tail was clear of the west switch, so #199 started to pull.
15. The Wainwright Sub goes cross country, whereas Highway 630 heads north from here, then west. Usually you haven't a chance, but the slow pull meant I beat it to the grade crossing on the 630, and easily cruised in to the signals at Township Road 524, MP 245.63 grade crossing. The cloud was thickening, but still leaving lots of light, as I renewed acquaintance with #199 at 1907, 67 miles and just over 3 hours after my first encounter. CN really could stand to eliminate the single-track bottle necks along the Wainwright Sub to boost EHH's beloved train velocity.
A nice day with its downsides, 12 hours at the tracks, 21 trains, one photographed in two locations, and six not photographed at all. Add three more stabbed by ill-timed clouds. Still, retirement beats working, after 22 days.
Fred








Date: 07/22/20 16:57
Re: Wainwright Wednesday - Dodging the Clouds Near Viking
Author: upbuddyboy

All very very 👍

Posted from iPhone



Date: 07/23/20 00:23
Re: Wainwright Wednesday - Dodging the Clouds Near Viking
Author: BoostedFridge

Is this kind of traffic typical for daylight hours there?



Date: 07/23/20 07:43
Re: Wainwright Wednesday - Dodging the Clouds Near Viking
Author: EL833

Nice series of photos. A couple locations look familiar from when I passed through the area on my drive back from Alaska last September. Very busy railroad to say the least !

Roger Durfee
Akron, OH



Date: 07/23/20 10:30
Re: Wainwright Wednesday - Dodging the Clouds Near Viking
Author: feclark

BoostedFridge Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Is this kind of traffic typical for daylight hours
> there?

I've only been out twice this year, one half day (six trains in three hours, then a pending gap of several hours), plus this day. It used to be typical, but I didn't know what to expect with the economic downturn. To be honest I was pleasantly surprised to see things "normal". Maybe a few less manifest freights.
Fred



Date: 07/24/20 06:36
Re: Wainwright Wednesday - Dodging the Clouds Near Viking
Author: inCHI

Thanks for posting the train details, it is very interesting to see what the traffic is. I known nothing about that the trackage there, but it is interesting that despite so many intermodal trains, most of the train speeds were around 40mph. Is that because of all the meets and underpowered giant trains? By contrast, if I was to go alongside a flat portion of BNSF's transcon in Illinois, the stack trains will be mostly doing 60-70mph.



Date: 07/24/20 17:38
Re: Wainwright Wednesday - Dodging the Clouds Near Viking
Author: ns1000

Nice pics!!



Date: 07/25/20 23:08
Re: Wainwright Wednesday - Dodging the Clouds Near Viking
Author: feclark

inCHI Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Thanks for posting the train details, it is very
> interesting to see what the traffic is. I known
> nothing about that the trackage there, but it is
> interesting that despite so many intermodal
> trains, most of the train speeds were around
> 40mph. Is that because of all the meets and
> underpowered giant trains? By contrast, if I was
> to go alongside a flat portion of BNSF's transcon
> in Illinois, the stack trains will be mostly doing
> 60-70mph.

The maximum on freight appears to be 60 mph regardless of train composition, at least, that's the highest reading I've ever heard on the detectors. This particular area east of Viking is a bit undulating, even though it's straight, so there are many short grades to crest, then troughs to run down into. You don't see the headlights for very far. West of Viking, toward Edmonton, it really flattens out, and the 59-60 running is more common (meets excluded).
Fred



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