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Canadian Railroads > Wabamun Wednesday, Plus Edson Sub Bonus Coverage

Date: 07/29/20 15:51
Wabamun Wednesday, Plus Edson Sub Bonus Coverage
Author: feclark

For the last two months, most days in the Edmonton area have been mixed sun and cloud, with rain at some point. The forecast was for dead clear and hot on Monday, July 27, so I hooked up with a buddy to go west on the Edson Sub. I'd only ever shot the causeway over the east end of Wabamun Lake (entrance to Moonlight Bay?) on a fire-smoked day a few years back, so wanted to return to this place where morning sun is on the NE side of the tracks. We worked a fair stretch of the Edson Sub by the end of the day. The first four shots of this 15-shot post may be a bit old hat, but were new for me. Our memory was that we'd shot from a dock at the provincial park, but when we drove in, the look wasn't good. Google Maps took us south, where we headed in on the second road off Range Road 40 as it heads south from Township Road 531A. We felt lucky not to have something sift by us during our relocation.
1. First train of the day sounded like #310 on the scanner, but it was solid grain empties, which suggests #810 (plus we saw a #310 late in the day). My 2018 Trackside Guide says that's Edmonton to Camrose, so I'm not sure. Whatever the case, 3102 and 2957 rolled 169 cars at 32 mph across the longer causeway/trestle (not sure what to call it), with the best angle for the sun putting the boat in the picture. Time was 0801, lens set at 75 mm.
2. The tracks are close enough to NNW-SSE that the broadside photo on the shorter span to the east is also well lit; you can't do much about hydro wires in this area!
3. As the sun began to swing around, we shifted ever so slightly, and set up #736 at 1014, led by 3235 and helped by DPU 3258. The first part of the train was CN gondolas (coal empties?), and trailing the DPU was a string of tanks, adding up to 144 cars, 22 degrees (up 7 from two hours earlier), and 34 mph. The verticals in this series will eventually be rotated.

Date: 07/29/20 16:00
Re: Wabamun Wednesday, Plus Edson Sub Bonus Coverage
Author: feclark

4. Having gotten the preferred shot with the first train, and the vertical on the second, the third EB was house money, with a shift in angle as the sun worked its way around. GE (surprise!) 2943 was in charge of 165 cars of mixed freight on #416, at 1030, assisted by DPU 8961. Temperature had not changed, speed was 32 mph. This was about the limit of good sun angles, as it swung around.
5. These latter two EB had been the hold up for #417, whose location we were unsure of. We pulled out and headed south on Range Road 40, to check out a road parallel to the tracks on the south side. We didn't make it, as the lit-up 417 was headed our way. We turned around, got on the north side of the tracks, and shot 3236 at 1040. This is to show you location and sun angles; it's not a memorable photo.
6. Having shot the east end, we pulled out onto the Yellowhead Highway, went south on Range Road 44, and gained Lakeshore Road, headed west out of Wabamun. Our target was MP 48.5, where you can get a view of the lake with morning EB. We'd shot here a few years ago, but were dodging clouds and had mottled illumination. The first of two anticipated EB was #118, headed by 3882 and assisted by DPU pusher 3151 at 1141. There were 464 axles of stack train, moving 33 mph in 25 degree air. We had been able to hear a distant horn on this one, so were well-prepared.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/29/20 16:13 by feclark.

Date: 07/29/20 16:12
Re: Wabamun Wednesday, Plus Edson Sub Bonus Coverage
Author: feclark

7. Having gotten the first train at what was for us a new angle, we set up for the second EB on the sunlit side of the tracks. This was #186, at 1157, with 3030 and 3884 passing the signal, lugging 590 axles at 26 degrees. I didn't catch the speed from the detector at MP 46. The carriage of sound was such that we heard the crossing bells, no horns, from the cluster of crossings in the distance.
8. Chatter gave us an indication that the next thing to happen would be WB, and this wasn't' the place to be. So we drove west, checking in here and there at various range roads, feeling each time that things were just too tight. We hit pay dirt at Range Road 110, whose crossing is at MP 87.60, barely west of the new east switch Leaman. Not only were things opened up by the revised trackage, but we had a waiting EB as well. Bonus, but first things first. Stack train 141 appeared at 1336, behind 2946 and DPU 2880.
9. Once the tail end of 141 cleared, and we having had the chance to hike down toward the east switch, #116 put on a smoke show for us! It would have been a lovely video, but the still will do. GM 8927 and 2312 were on the point, 3099 was heaving on the tail end, and the stack train was rolling at 1345. The RTC indicated they'd be meeting a pair of WB, and from the one-sided part of the conversation we heard, it sounded like both would be met at Gainford, on the east side of the Magnolia trestle. So we booked if for the bridge, only to see #857 tucked in the siding at Evansburg. Oh, well, missed one.

Date: 07/29/20 16:23
Re: Wabamun Wednesday, Plus Edson Sub Bonus Coverage
Author: feclark

10. We've shot Magnolia trestle many times, but usually later in the day, from the north side of the Yellowhead Highway. So this called for the other afternoon vantage point to shoot 8927 and 2312 rolling #116 toward the siding at Gainford, at 1447. There had been some delay due to some signalling issue (I couldn't catch the details while walking from the car to this location next to the busy highway). We got lucky, with no semis on the EB lanes as the train passed. Having taken this shot, we now had a WB ready to go, and rolled back toward Entwistle. We knew a #792 was going to be switching there after the WB passage, so drove in on the east side of Entwistle.
11. This is stack train #107, behind 2866 and 3226, at 1514. The background is the loader at Pinnacle Renewable Energy, which produces wood pellets for fuel.
12. The delay in #116, and the delay imposed on 107, meant that #792 (not a train number in my edition of the Guide) rolled down the main later than ideal, and the sun angle was going to pieces. Units 3100 and 3222 crept by at 1533, to the east switch. We don't know the count, but several dozen covered hoppers would be switched into the plant and the whole operation would tie up the main for close to two hours; the remainder of the train, holding the main, comprised grain empties. We knew of no way to get down to the east switch to photograph the moves, so it was time for us to leave and set up at a better location for whatever was to come next.

Date: 07/29/20 16:37
Re: Wabamun Wednesday, Plus Edson Sub Bonus Coverage
Author: feclark

13. Our late-day go to has been Carvel, with great curves past the lake's west end. We came down Range Road 24, which doesn't cross the tracks, and found tight vegetation; it had been many years since we'd shot here. We eventually caught some chatter to indicate there were two WB that would be coming, not too far down the road. We hiked about 2/3 of a mile into a field that used to give a glorious overlook of the lake. In the years since our last trip here, trees had grown up in the dip and taken the view away. So we hiked back to Range Road 24, fortunately in time, for #311 at 1837. Lead unit 3225 and DPU 3234 hauled 646 axles of mixed freight, including auto racks, through the curve near MP 34, tripping the MP 36 detector at 38 mph.
14. The lighting was terrible, so I let #792 pass without record. I could not resist the next EB, #310 at 1853, because it was dragged kicking and screaming through the curve by smoking 880x, along with 5720, 30xx, 2821, and 2815, plus an unrecorded DPU back in the train. The detector announced that the temperature was 27 degrees (seriously? Our sweat said otherwise, and of course, in Alberta it's a dry heat), the axle count 776 (thus 185 cars?), and the speed was 8 mph! That's not a misprint! The only trains I've seen going anything like that slow were WB on Notch Hill, and EB climbing under the TCH between the Spiral Tunnels. It's a pity about the sun angle.
15. Some frantic work with the manual hedge clippers between WB, as 310 was passing and the second one was announcing Carvel, cleared the crossing up for this photo of 2871 leading #119 at 1855. Assisted by DPU 2876, 576 axles rolled through at 29 mph, and our day was done. Besides missing #857 at Evansburg, we'd seen stone train #725 at Wabamun, unannounced and so missed by us. Not a bad day; it beats working. Thanks for your patience!

Date: 07/31/20 22:40
Re: Wabamun Wednesday, Plus Edson Sub Bonus Coverage
Author: ktm-450

Fantastic series. SO many great photos. I couldn't choose one. They were all splendid. The narration makes me feel like I was there. Great job, thanks .

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