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Canadian Railroads > Train 701 at Wellington

Date: 01/02/22 09:36
Train 701 at Wellington
Author: cn6218

After the MLWs were retired, CN tried out a number of different options for powering the Nova Scotia gypsum trains.  Trios of SD40 variants were tried, sometimes with a GP40-2 subbing for one, and even the LMS Dash-8 leasers made a few trips in the mid '90s.  Eventually the routine settled down to a pair of SD75Is and a train of 75 or so of the old 263K MIL gondolas.  On October 26, 2000 SD75I 5746 and a sister were splitting the searchlights at mile 23 of the Bedford Sub, approaching Kinsac siding.  Although the cars in the train were rated for a gross weight of 263,000 lbs. crews tell me they were frequently overloaded, so a typical train probably weighed more than 10,000 tons.  Eventually the old rotary dump cars wore out, and were replaced by company owned 3-bay 286K hoppers.  That kept the gross weight about the same, but allowed CN to run slightly shorter 65-car trains.

The gypsum trains traditionally had 700-series numbers, like other unit trains on CN.  701 was the morning train, and 703 ran in the evening.  When 50-car trains were the norm, there was a third (705?) later in the day as well).  That changed a few years ago when CN decided to run the gypsum turns as 500-series roadswitchers.  511 is the first gypsum, and 513 the second (if there is one).  Running as a roadswitcher allows CN more flexibility in assigning the crews.  For instance, with the mine shut down over Christmas, 511 has been working in Rockingham Yard instead.


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