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Canadian Railroads > A Farce in Three Acts - Act 3, CN and Bashaw on the Camrose Sub

Date: 09/13/20 09:44
A Farce in Three Acts - Act 3, CN and Bashaw on the Camrose Sub
Author: feclark

Yesterday I posted two distinct acts or phases from a frustrating but ultimately rewarding trip south from Edmonton on Thursday, September 10; the second of those was at https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?15,5102982. The first act was a productive chase, the second act was the classic railfan's nightmare of getting stabbed by track work, compounded by the track work going horribly wrong. Act 3 played out on CN's Camrose Sub, and although it started out as a continuation of the farce, eventually was rescued. Four photos highlight this phase.
Realizing staying on CP's Leduc Sub any longer was a losing proposition, we drove east to get to CN's Camrose Sub, hoping we might eventually catch some action as we worked northward, toward home. Arrival at Mirror found a trio of diesels in the yard, and a stack train south of the yard on what appeared to be a new siding, west of the old single main out of Mirror, if the condition of the ties and ballast was any indicator. There being no EOT on the north end of the cut, it seemed it might be #114, the northbound stack train from Calgary. With no apparent signs of activity, we headed north, toward Bashaw. In less than ten miles, we came across a chilling sight. A swarm of foremen, workers, hi-rail trucks, and yellow track machinery, had a grade crossing disassembled. Continuing to Bashaw, another string of yellow machines had the line filled at the town, although one of those pieces of equipment was in motion. You mean we drove all the way to Camrose to escape a blocked CP line, only to find CN doing the same thing? To quote the immortal words of John McEnroe, "You cannot be serious!" We continued northward, figuring we might have to content ourselves with a few late day hours at Ardrossan on the Wainwright Sub, when the scanner came to life. The detector at MP 73 had gone off, and a train called MP 75 no restrictions. We didn't' know if this was NB running ahead of us, or SB coming at us. As we were processing this information and trying to decide our approach, the Camrose Sub north of Bashaw swings from east of Highway 21 to the west side, the other side of the highway. Almost immediately, SB #115 came into view; we got turned around, stabbed at the crossing, and in a line of vehicles.
1. The train was doing a sedate 28 mph, so we eventually came to a promising township road, 424 (east continuation of Highway 53, which comes into Highway 21 from the west), and set up. Unassisted by DPUs, 3046 and 3148 appeared at 1625, over 90 minutes after we left Blackfalds. There were 424 axles in this train, temperature 25 degrees in gorgeous clear sun. The train was rolling a little slower than we appreciated, perhaps, but we passed on a few other chances to dart in on a township road in the chase. The prize was the elevator at Bashaw, and we were not going to jeopardize that shot. As we worked south, it became clear #315 was also coming our way, and the RTC was coordinating getting all the track workers in the clear at Bashaw, to fleet the pair of SB.
2. When we arrived at the south end of Bashaw, a considerable time lapse occurred to get all the scurrying machinery into the siding. We could see 115 held out in the distance, wished we had chanced another shot or two, but were very happy with conditions. A standing classic elevator was worth it, now run by Bashaw Processors, and in due course, 3046 and train passed at 1705, and I assure you, that clear spot in the grasses was exactly as we found it. How fortunate. Normally we'd have headed off in pursuit, but the pending arrival of 315, and another chance to shoot the elevator, kept us in place. We'd chase the latter train afterward.
3. Of the handful of shots we took of 315, I chose this one to post; more about the elevator and grain cars, than the train. A single unit, 8860, was on the point at 1724, with 8867 pushing on the rear. We had no detector data, but the crew of 115, talking to the RTC, had asked about 315's length, to figure out what track they should take in Mirror, to help out 315. I didn't catch the length in feet, but it was 112 cars of mostly mixed freight, plus a short cut of stacks at the rear.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/13/20 09:52 by feclark.

Date: 09/13/20 09:52
Re: A Farce in Three Acts - Act 3, CN and Bashaw on the Camrose S
Author: feclark

4. Once 315 passed, we headed southwest along Highway 21. Not too far from Bashaw, the tracks bend significantly more westward, and we figured the lighting angle would get too nosy. Plus we needed to head for home, having doubled back already. The best lighting opportunity, with open view, presented itself at Township Road 412, off Highway 21, at 1738. The day was done as far as we were concerned.
To put a finishing touch on the day, about 5 minutes after we'd cleared the crossing at Looma, MP 17.2, the detector at MP 13.5 went off, and 442 called MP 15. We consoled ourselves with the fact that there was no sun angle to work a SB on the line at Looma at this time of day. A perfect, cloudless, warm day that promised everything actually delivered quite a lot, but made us remember and appreciate that a successful day of train shooting really isn't a given, and we'd had to be pretty flexible, and endure a lot of down time between bursts of activity. Thanks for your endurance and patience; maybe too much prose and not enough photos.

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