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Canadian Railroads > 20 Years of Change in New Brunswick


Date: 10/09/21 10:02
20 Years of Change in New Brunswick
Author: cn6218

With the news the Canadian Pacific would be running their business train over the recently re-acquired CMQ, and on to Saint John, NB on NBSR, I made plans to make a trip to New Brunswick to see it.  Chasing it through Maine was not going to be an option, due to COVID restrictions, although I run into one railfan friend from New Hampshire who had all his vaccinations and tests documented, and was visiting Canada for a few days to document the event.  I drove up from Halifax on October 2, staying at a friends place in Fredericton, where we start out bright and early the next morning.  Unfortunately, the business train was running about two hours late, and it was looking dicey as far as getting much daylight in New Brunswick.

To kill some time, we drove towards Saint John, and waited for NB Southern's daily freight 907 to leave for McAdam.  It wasn't until I got back home that I realized I had done a similar chase, except in the opposite direction, almost exactly 20 years ago.

On October 4, 2001, Bill Linley and I were on our way back home from a week on the Gaspé, NTR and in Maine.  We picked up the NB Southern eastbound, 908, at Wytopitlock, ME, and the chase was on.  Some of those images have been posted before, but I think all these are fresh ones.  In the first shot here, 908 has paused at Mattawamkeag to drop some cars for Guilford, and pick up a few empty centrebeams.  The 9800 locomotives were the newest on the roster at the time, former SP GP35s that were deturboed by CLN at Charny, QC, and rebuilt as GP38-3s.  The middle unit is a Helm GP38 which had recently been repossessed from Iron Roads (the operator of the former CP lines west of Brownville Jct.), and then did a few years on NBSR's roster.  At the time, all the NBSR power was 4-axle, and the speed on the former CP main line seemed to be quite fast, between 40 and 50 mph.

908 crossed into Canada at St. Croix, and changed crews at McAdam, but it was foggy there.  However by the time they reached Harvey Sta., the fog had lifted, for the second shot here.  At mile 24, the relatively high track speed meant I didn't quite make it to the crossing at Welsford before the train did, so I had to settle for stopping short and getting this broad going-away view from the middle of NB Hwy. 101.

GTD



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/17/21 11:31 by cn6218.








Date: 10/09/21 10:15
Re: 20 Years of Change in New Brunswick
Author: cn6218

Fast forwarding 20 years, I once again found myself chasing an NB Southern train, although this time it was the westbound out of Saint John.  Even a noon departure from Dever Rd. Yard in Saint John, makes for difficult light, but a cloud wiped out the sun as the train passed mile 24 again at Welsford, at 13:22, making the time moot.  The 958 is a road slug, leased from GATX along with GP40-3M 3050.  The pair had done a stint on Pan Am a few years ago, but seems to have found a home now on NBSR's lines in Maine and New Brunswick.

NBSR has also invested heavily in recent years in 6-motor power, initially SD40-2s, but in the last few months, 3 SD70M-2s have arrived, with 3 more to follow.  These were formerly on the NS roster, and were reconditioned by Progress Rail before coming east.  This going-away view at Blissville (14:00) shows off the fresh green paint nicely (one of the few sunlit shots that day).

Train 907 arrived in McAdam at 16:00.  The crew set off some cars for St. Stephen, picked up a few others, and then turned the train over to the American crew who would continue on to Brownville Jct. later in the evening.

GTD








Date: 10/09/21 10:26
Re: 20 Years of Change in New Brunswick
Author: cn6218

Now it was time to wait for the CP business train, and hope that it would arrive before dark.  907 would stay in the yard at McAdam until the eastbound train arrived.  Quite a crowd had gathered in McAdam, but a few of us went farther west to the actual border crossing at St. Croix, NB, across the river from Vanceboro, ME.  This is the closest I've been to the US since March, 2020.

The clouds were persisting, but just before the train arrived on the bridge at 17:14, they parted, to reveal sun coming straight down the track!  The lighting conditions couldn't have been much worse, but we all made the best of it before hustling down NB Rt. 4 and back to McAdam for a shot of the train posed in front of the grand old stone station.  This time the lighting wasn't great, but at least was off to the side a bit and not directly behind the train.

By now the remaining sunlight was getting questionable, but we headed for Harvey Lake as the train left McAdam for one last try.  This time we lucked out, as the sun sank beneath the clouds, and found a slot to illuminate the train, before it finally slipped below the horizon, It was 18:42 by now, with official sundown happening about 19:00.

GTD



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/09/21 16:54 by cn6218.



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Date: 10/09/21 11:42
Re: 20 Years of Change in New Brunswick
Author: newtonville150

Great stuff Geoff!

...jr



Date: 10/09/21 14:22
Re: 20 Years of Change in New Brunswick
Author: CPR_4000

Funky nose and number boards on 958; it's a chopnosed ex-N&W GP40 built with a high short hood.



Date: 10/09/21 17:05
Re: 20 Years of Change in New Brunswick
Author: cn6218

There seems to be some artistic license with that numberboard.  For the headlight, it looks like they just mounted the original between the numberboards, horizontally, the same way it had come from EMD.

Although the radiator fans were removed during rebuilding, they left the screen for the radiators in place, along with all the hood doors.  Usually these areas all get plated over.

GTD



Date: 10/09/21 18:36
Re: 20 Years of Change in New Brunswick
Author: stlrailfan

Good stuff
 Mark Mautner



Date: 10/09/21 22:51
Re: 20 Years of Change in New Brunswick
Author: feclark

That's a marvelous, well-thought out post, Geoff. Great work. Your stills of the business train really highlight what digital can do under awkward lighting, that K64 would have pooched.
Fred



Date: 10/10/21 03:02
Re: 20 Years of Change in New Brunswick
Author: Roadbed

Nice series. What is that short car at the end? I would have expected a theater or observation car on this otherwise sharp train. But the video showed more of a box car with a couple of windows bringing up the rear. Do tell.



Date: 10/10/21 03:43
Re: 20 Years of Change in New Brunswick
Author: ghCBNS

Roadbed Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Nice series. What is that short car at the end?
> I would have expected a theater or observation car
> on this otherwise sharp train. But the video
> showed more of a box car with a couple of windows
> bringing up the rear. Do tell.

Looks like a former CN/VIA Steam Generator Unit.....repurposed to provide HEP ??



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/10/21 04:01 by ghCBNS.



Date: 10/10/21 03:50
Re: 20 Years of Change in New Brunswick
Author: ghCBNS

Very nice Geoff!!

Passenger trains appeared in that colour scheme for years passing through McAdam before Budd Stainless Steel was assigned to the Atlantic Limited.



Date: 10/10/21 03:58
Re: 20 Years of Change in New Brunswick
Author: ghCBNS

Roadbed Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Nice series. What is that short car at the end?
> I would have expected a theater or observation car
> on this otherwise sharp train. 

If you look closly the theater car is right behind the power at the front.....so probably at the rear westbound.

And right behind that in the video is the exSouthern Pacific low-profile Dome Car. Probably the first dome car on this route since the Park Car on VIA's Atlantic (discontinued in Dec '94) 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/10/21 04:02 by ghCBNS.



Date: 10/10/21 08:52
Re: 20 Years of Change in New Brunswick
Author: cn6218

ghCBNS Wrote:

> If you look closly the theater car is right behind
> the power at the front.....so probably at the rear
> westbound.
>
> And right behind that in the video is the
> exSouthern Pacific low-profile Dome Car. Probably
> the first dome car on this route since the Park
> Car on VIA's Atlantic (discontinued in Dec '94) 

The train was deadheaded to Saint John in reverse, because (like Halifax) there is no place to easily turn it.  There is a wye just west of Dever Rd. Yard, but only long enough for an engine and a few cars.  Since it was a deadhead move (no VIPs), it didn't really matter that it was backwards.  The Atlantic (in the CP years) was never turned, just the engines and baggage car.  The Skylines had flop-over seats.  At least some of VIA's Skylines have facing pairs of seats now, so running those ones backwards would not really be a problem.  Unfortunately, you can't get a front facing, front seat in the dome in either direction with those cars.

Selkirk, the full length dome, is likely the first dome car on this route since the Acadian last ran in 2002.  The 'boxcar" generator is CP 95, an old CP express car that has been rebuilt as a HEP generator.

GTD



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