Posts Tagged ‘CN motive power’

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

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.

CN Says it is Recovering From Service Issues

May 17, 2018

Canadian National said this week that its service continues to recover from various operational problems and that traffic is up 14 percent so far this month.

CN Chief Financial Officer Ghislain Houle told an investors conference this week that the carrier has been performing better than it thought it would, which has made management optimistic about the second half of this year and 2019.

Houle said average train velocity, terminal dwell, and car-miles per day are all moving in the right direction after several months of deterioration due to the effects of severe winter weather and an unexpected volume surge.

However, CN’s service metrics continue to trail where they were a year ago. Terminal dwell time is still 10 percent above last year and average train speeds are 15 percent lower. Car-order fulfillment is 70 percent, about 20 points below where it was a year ago.

To bolster its service, CN hired and qualified 400 conductors in the first quarter and expects to have another 400 qualified by the end of June.

It is leasing 130 locomotives and next month will receive the first 10 of 200 new locomotives it has ordered from General Electric Transportation.

The new units are expected to be delivered at a pace of 10 each month for the rest of the year.

Based on revenue ton miles, CN traffic volumes were up 5 percent in April and 14 percent in May after declining 4 percent in the first three months of the year.

CVSR Locomotive North of the Border

August 21, 2017

Many of you are aware that some of the locomotives used on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad once operated used in Canada. A few were even built there.

In this image, it is June 1972 in Toronto and Canadian National No. 6777 (now on the CVSR) sits at Toronto Union Station between assignments.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Pair of Canadians in Berea

March 3, 2017

berea-1

berea-2

Motive power from Canadian National and Canadian Pacific is not rare in Berea, but it is not a given, either.

CP has a pair of run-through trains that use CSX between Chicago and Buffalo, New York, and it is not unusual to see them in Berea during daylight hours.

Given how the North American Class I railroads share motive power, seeing a CN unit is not an unusual thing on either CSX or Norfolk Southern.

But what was a out of the ordinary during a recent railfanning outing in Berea was seeing two westbound NS trains with Canadian motive power on the lead as shown above.

Photographs by Craig Sanders

Day in Durand: Part 1

November 15, 2016

The first photo of a train that I made in Durand, Michigan, last July was one of my favorites of the day. A local is coming around the connection from the Holly Subdivision to the Flint Subdivision to head to Flint.

The first photo of a train that I made in Durand, Michigan, last July was one of my favorites of the day. A local is coming around the High Wye from the Holly Subdivision to the Flint Subdivision to head to Flint.

One in a periodic series of images that I made last summer

Back in July we made a trip to Michigan to visit with some of my wife’s relatives in Flint. While she and her cousins went shopping I drove to Durand to spend a day at one of Michigan’s most famous railroad junctions.

Three railroads serve Durand, but there is no guarantee that you’ll see all three on a given visit because two of them are short lines that might have one or two trains a day, if that.

I sort of saw the Great Lakes Central. From the Durand Union Station I saw a GLC locomotive come to the far end of the yard for head room.

But the GLC road job that works in Durand and takes interchange traffic to the Ann Arbor in Howell, Michigan, went north out of Owosso on the morning I was in Durand.

A local railfan told me that meant that by the time that job came through Durand it would be dark. So much for seeing the Great Lakes Central.

The other short line is the Huron & Eastern which shows up pretty reliably on weekdays in the afternoon.

And then there is Canadian National, the primary railroad in Durand. The CN tracks once belonged to the Grand Trunk Western, which actually was a CN property for several decades before the GTW identify began disappearing in favor of the CN brand.

Interestingly, the first train I saw on this day was a local led by a former GTW GP9r still wearing its Grand Trunk colors and markings.

It was leading a local headed for Flint that I was told had originated there last night. The train goes east from Flint, works its way to Detroit via Mt. Clemens and returns to Flint via Durand and the Holly Sub.

I had timed my visit to reach Durand in time to get Amtrak’s westbound Blue Water, which arrived early and had to wait for time to depart.

The local railfan I was chatting with said that typically a westbound intermodal train follows Amtrak into Durand.

There was a westbound not long after Amtrak departed, but it was a manifest freight. The intermodal must have been running ahead of Amtrak and I never saw an intermodal train during my approximately nine hours in Durand.

Because I was in Durand so early, it’s tough to photograph a westbound because of the lighting conditions. I tried to get the westbound CN manifest freight as a side shot with the depot but it didn’t work out that well.

If you’ve spent time in Durand you know the CN traffic is about the same level as that of the CSX New Castle Subdivision through Akron. There are going to be some long gaps between trains.

It would be about two hours before the next train arrived, a Powder River coal train bound for the Huron & Eastern.

It came into view with two BNSF units on the lead. As is standard procedure, the coal train ran east past the westbound home signals and backed up on the Port Huron Connection.

The CN crew tied the train down and cut off the BNSF motive power. The H&E would use its own power to deliver the coal to a utility plant.

The CN crew could either run light to Flint, where they would go off the clock, or they might be directed by the rail traffic controller — CN speak for dispatcher — to make a pickup in Durand.

I’m sure the crew would rather run light to Flint because it would mean less work. But that would not be the case on this day. They had work to do in the yard.

It would be another hour before another train passed the Durand depot, an eastbound CN manifest freight.

Ten minutes later the CN crew that had been picking up cars in the yard appeared on the Port Huron connection and headed for Flint. Another nearly two-hour gap between trains was getting underway.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Former GTW No. 4623 would be the only locomotive I saw on this day in GTW markings.

Former GTW No. 4623 would be the only locomotive I saw on this day in GTW markings. It is coming around the connection from the Holly Sub to the Flint Sub.

Amtrak's Blue Water leaves town en route to Chicago but its next stop will be in East Lansing. It was the first time I had seen those signals beneath P42DC No. xxx in operation.

Amtrak’s Blue Water leaves town en route to Chicago but its next stop will be in East Lansing. It was the first time I had seen those signals beneath P42DC No. 126 in operation.

After going about two hours without seeing a train the sight of a BNSF locomotive, or any locomotive for that matter, was welcome sight. A Power River coal train eases its way into Durand.

After going about two hours without seeing a train the sight of a BNSF locomotive, or any locomotive for that matter, was welcome. A Powder River coal train eases its way into Durand.

Backing up on the Port Huron connection to deliver loaded coal hoppers to the Huron & Eastern.

Backing up on the Port Huron Wye to deliver loaded coal hoppers to the Huron & Eastern.

In case you were wondering where I made this photograph here is a big clue.

In case you were wondering where I made this photograph here is a big clue.

As the coal train crew worked in the Durand Yard an eastbound manifest freight rolled through town on the Flint Subdivision.

As the coal train crew worked in the Durand Yard an eastbound manifest freight rolled through town on the Flint Subdivision.

Coming out of the Durand Yard with a load of freight cars.

Coming out of the Durand Yard with a load of freight cars.

And away to Flint we go.

And away to Flint we go.

Home Sweet Homewood

July 24, 2014

Looking through the fence towards the water tower. The apparently "headless" man waiting for a Metra electric train is an illusion. He has his head bowed and his white baseball cap blends in with his shirt.

Looking through the fence towards the water tower. The apparently “headless” man waiting for a Metra electric train is an illusion. He has his head bowed and his white baseball cap blends in with his shirt.

“Home Sweet Homewood” is the slogan on the water tower in Homewood, Ill., a Chicago suburb located along the former Illinois Central (now Canadian National) mainline between Chicago and New Orleans.

I’ll take their word for it since I live in Ohio. After a morning at Blue Island, it was off to Homewood to spend a few hours at this former IC location.

The town’s IC heritage is celebrated in a couple of different ways, one of which is a stuffed and mounted ex-IC geep and wide vision caboose.

The geep is fenced in, so I just tried to work the IC logo in with the water tower. One of the draws these days at this location is you’ll see just about anything pass by.

I saw CSX, BNSF, and NS power in the few hours that I was there along with a sample of the CN “family” roads.”

Article and Photographs by Roger Durfee

IC8408homewood02

Amtrak's slightly late southbound "Illini" en route to Carbondale, Ill., is pulling into Homewood.

Amtrak’s slightly late southbound “Illini” en route to Carbondale, Ill., is pulling into Homewood.

A pair of BNSF ACe's haul coal south at Homewood, passing the IC display unit. Sorry about the wire shadows, not much could be done about those. I am on the Amtrak platform; that's the Metra high level platform to the left.

A pair of BNSF ACe’s haul coal south at Homewood, passing the IC display unit. Sorry about the wire shadows, not much could be done about those. I am on the Amtrak platform; that’s the Metra high level platform to the left.

Yard power this day was interesting, a CN GP-40-2W and two EJ&E SD's, seen passing the CSX powered train.

Yard power this day was interesting, a CN GP-40-2W and two EJ&E SD’s, seen passing the CSX powered train.

A closer view of the yard power with the "J-balls."

A closer view of the yard power with the “J-balls.”

Roster view of the 9424. These were some of the original North American "comfort cabs", it was neat to see it still up and running. Many of these were part of 100 CN units Conrail leased during 1976 and 1977 to ease a power shortage. Back then they were a breath of fresh air in an all standard cab world.

Roster view of the 9424. These were some of the original North American “comfort cabs”, it was neat to see it still up and running. Many of these were part of 100 CN units Conrail leased during 1976 and 1977 to ease a power shortage. Back then they were a breath of fresh air in an all standard cab world.

CSX power up front- including CSX 5000 with it's "Diversity in Motion" decal 2nd out. In the background a CN former LMS/BCOL pair wait with an NS unit back in the yard.

CSX power up front- including CSX 5000 with it’s “Diversity in Motion” decal 2nd out. In the background a CN former LMS/BCOL pair wait with an NS unit back in the yard.

I shoot a lot of CSX in Ohio, but not with electric MU's a few tracks over.

I shoot a lot of CSX in Ohio, but not with electric MU’s a few tracks over.

A mural on a building close to the pedestrian underpass highlights the railroad heritage of Homewood. Steam, Green Diamond, CN, and Amtrak fill the “roundhouse.”

A mural on a building close to the pedestrian underpass highlights the railroad heritage of Homewood. Steam, Green Diamond, CN, and Amtrak fill the “roundhouse.”

Smaller painting on the wall leading down the underpass stairs; again, the Green Diamond is the subject.

Smaller painting on the wall leading down the underpass stairs; again, the Green Diamond is the subject.

Closer view of the Green Diamond door.

Closer view of the Green Diamond door.

Although faded, this Illinois Central Gulf grain car's lack of major tagging required a photo.

Although faded, this Illinois Central Gulf grain car’s lack of major tagging required a photo.

The caboose on display features the mid-1960s IC split rail "I ball" logo.

The caboose on display features the mid-1960s IC split rail “I ball” logo.