Posts Tagged ‘CN locomotives’

Sweeping Through Broom Town

July 1, 2022

Arcola, Illinois, likes to describe itself as “broom town.” That’s because back in the 1920s the area was known for the production of broom corn which led to Arcola being a center for the manufacturing of brooms.

Every year the town of 3,000 population celebrates is broom corn heritage with an annual festival.

Arcola is bisected the mainline of the Chicago-New Orleans route of the Illinois Central Railroad, now owned by Canadian National.

On a Saturday morning a pair of bicyclists watch as a northbound CN manifest freight passes through town.

In the Hole at South Tolono

November 17, 2021

A crew member of a southbound Canadian National manifest freight is on the ground to give a roll by inspection to a northbound at South Tolono on the Champaign Subdivision.

During the days when Illinois Central removed the double track in favor of centralized traffic control and passing sidings every so many miles, the control points were named north and south after the nearest city or town. CN has retained the former IC control point names.

Hence South Tolono refers to Tolono, Illinois, where the IC crossed the Wabash line from Detroit. The ex-Wabash is now the Lafayette District of Norfolk Southern.

Fall Foliage and Street Running

November 10, 2021

Hickory Street in Warsaw, Indiana, is famous for two blocks of street running on the Marion District of Norfolk Southern, which many railfans still like to call the Marion Branch.

A street project that wrapped up earlier this year changed the traffic patterns on Hickory for vehicles but not for trains. The street is now one lane northbound only with the other lane devoted to on-street parking.

Last Friday I chased the 13Q from Goshen to Warsaw with the objective of getting some fall foliage and street running. There were no colorful trees on Hickory itself, but a pair of tees with gold leaves were visible on Fort Wayne Avenue. The latter comes into Hickory at an angle on the north end of the street running at the crossing of East Main Street.

The 13Q, which was led by a Canadian National unit and had a CN unit on the rear as a DPU, is shown in the top image. However, the first train I saw run down the street was the 14J, whose rear is shown about to clear the street running in the bottom image.

Note that in theory through vehicles are prohibited on the tracks and in the easternmost lane. But during my time waiting for trains I saw a number of vehicles straddle the rails while waiting at the stop light to make a left turn onto Fort Wayne Avenue.

Happy 4th of July

July 4, 2021

Old glory waves in the breeze from a bridge in Paxton, Illinois, over the Chicago Subdivision of Canadian National, formerly the Illinois Central.

Shown is a southbound CN auto rack train whose consist also had a few boxcars of, perhaps, auto parts.

The train was captured on July 3, 2021, during a holiday weekend. The train had slowed here for a possible meet with a northbound, but the dispatcher elected to move the meet to the next siding to the south at Rantoul.

First Day of May Delights

May 6, 2021

Nice weather for the first day of May 2021 has railroad photographs out to catch what they could find in Northeast Ohio. Here are a trio of images made on the CSX New Castle Subdivision west of Akron.

In the top image, a Canadian National SD75I leads train Q276 around the curve in downtown Warwick on the single track segment.

In the middle we see AC44CW No. 402 on the point of an eastbound in Barberton.

Finally, GP40-2 No. 6415 sits in Warwick at a new fueling facility. This unit is stored here between runs of local D750. The apparatus visible toward the rear of the locomotive is a plug in for the crankcase heater.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

CN to Order 75 New Locomotives

April 28, 2021

Anticipating traffic growth, Canadian National has ordered 75 locomotives for delivery over the next year.

CN is the first Class 1 railroad thus far this year to order new motive power.

Chief Operating Officer Rob Reilly said the locomotive order is not related to CN’s efforts to acquire Kansas City Southern.

“It’s really based on growth and growth prospects we see over the next 12 to 24 months,” he said. “In terms of timing, we expect to get roughly 25 of those here in the second half of this year, the other 50, first half of next year.”

Reilly said CN could speed up the pace of accepting new locomotives if traffic volume growth exceeds expectations.

The Montreal-based carrier expects traffic to grow between 7 percent and 9 percent this year.

“As we see growth coming, we want to be prepared for it,” said CN CEO JJ Ruest. “We want to be able to move the economy and do our part to enable the recovery post COVID.”

CN did not say which manufacturer will receive the locomotive order.

The last new locomotives CN acquired were part of a 200-unit order placed in December 2017.

The last of those were 60 ES44AC units built in September 2018.

There Was Still Some Fall Color

November 30, 2020

I wasn’t expecting to find any colorful fall foliage when I set out in mid November to chase trains on the Champaign Subdivision of Canadian National in east central Illinois.

So I was pleasantly surprised to find some maple trees still showing off their October best.

Better yet they formed a line of fall foliage along the former Illinois Central mainline.

Shown above is a southbound grain train passing through Pesotum, Illinois.

CN Unveils Heritage Fleet

November 18, 2020
Canadian National CEO stands in front of his company’s fleet of heritage locomotives

One of railroading’s worst kept secrets is now official.

Canadian National on Tuesday announced that it will operate a small fleet of locomotives in the liveries of some of its predecessor railroads in observation of its 25th anniversary of transitioning from a government-owned Crown Corporation to a private entity.

The locomotives wear liveries of the Illinois Central; Wisconsin Central; Elgin, Joliet & Eastern; BC Rail and Grand Trunk Western.

CN issues an initial public stock offering o n Nov. 17, 1995.

“The privatization of CN was anticipated with widespread skepticism, but executed with startling success and today it is the source of enormous pride for our employees and all those involved over the years,” said CN CEO J.J. Ruest said in a statement.

“It allowed CN to unleash the powerful creative and competitive forces of our railroaders. I want to thank everyone who contributed to this success as well as our employees for their dedication to safely moving the economy for our customers and for the communities where we operate.”

The first CN train led by one of the heritage units left Toronto’s Macmillan Yard on Sunday with ET44AC No. 3115 in the BC Rail red, white, and blue “hockey stick” livery.

Other CN heritage units include Grand Trunk (No. 8952); Elgin, Joliet & Eastern (3023), Wisconsin Central (3069), and Illinois Central (3008).

A GP40-3 and slug sethas been repainted in the pre-1961 CN green and gold livery.

It Just Looks Like Fall

November 11, 2020

My day of railfanning in east central Illinois was winding down as I drove north on Interstate 57.

As I crossed the Canadian National tracks at Pesotum I looked to the north and saw a headlight of a southbound in the distance on the former Illinois Central mainline.

There was time for one more train. I got off the interstate and drove into town, parking next to a former IC passenger station in a park that is bisected by the CN Champaign Subdivision.

There was still some fall color left, although much of it was muted. Still, that color combined with the fallen leaves gave the appearance of autumn.

Being late afternoon, the some sunlight was being blocked by a line of trees on the west side of the track that resulted in shadows being cast over the rails.

Yet the resulting shadows in their own way showed that it was late day and created visual tension in the scene.

The image above showed the most sunlight on the nose of the lead CN locomotive.

The muted colors, the light and shadows, the leaves on the ground all combine to say “it looks like fall.”

Had this been my last image of the day I would have been quite pleased with it.

But it would turn out that I still had one more train to catch and it would yield what might have been my favorite photograph of a day that had been, overall, quite productive and enjoyable.

You’ll see that image tomorrow.

CN to Unveil Veterans Tribute Locomotives

November 11, 2020

Canadian National today will show off two locomotives that it has painted in tributes to veterans of Canada and the United States.

The veterans tribute locomotives will be rolled out on Veterans Day in the U.S. and Remembrance Day in Canada.

Each locomotive features camouflage paint on the long hood.

On the engineer’s side is a the message “Thank You For Your Service” in English and a “support our troops” yellow ribbon.

The conductor’s side has the same message in French and an image of a poppy and the words “Lest We Forget.”

CN will recognize veterans with two minutes of silence in its offices, yards, and shops. Locomotive engineers on the road will ring the bells of their locomotives.

A CN spokesman said the veterans units will enter revenue service in the coming days.

The Montreal-based railroad also plans to support the Legion National Foundation’s  Digital Poppy Campaign in Canada.

In the U.S. CN is making a $10,000 donation to the American Legion.