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Triumph and Tragedy on the Churchill Line
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On August 7, I heard that the VIA Rail “Churchill” * train headed to Winnipeg had a 40th anniversary unit leading the train. With the current schedule, it would have come into Winnipeg at 13:45, during my working hours. After checking its forecast arrival time using the VIA Rail tracker site,
I found it was significantly late. I decided to try to catch it coming into town, after a quick supper. I ended up catching it in a three way meet with two CN trains.
The SetupI headed up to the CN Rivers subdivision. As I arrived trackside, an eastbound train was heading into the city. I quickly grabbed a photo at 17:54 as it passed under the Perimeter Highway overpass.
CN 5489 EastIt had CN 5489 and CN 2677 leading.
I continued west to Diamond to wait for VIA. I saw that there was another east-facing train in the distance on the north track, but it was not moving. I elected to leave it for now and get VIA framed by the east-facing signals at Diamond.
While I waited, a westbound train came creeping up toward Diamond on the south track. It stopped short, setting up a three-way meet.
CN 2659 coming to a stop outside Winnipeg.
The MeetAt 18:10, VIA 692 came rolling along, threading between the two waiting CN trains.
VIA 6437 navigating through Diamond.It passed the first train on the south track, then crossed over to the north track to pass the second train.
VIA 692 passing CN 2659 WestThe CN crew was on the ground for the quick rollby inspection. VIA 692 had Kokanee Park on the tail end, a relatively rare occurrence for this train.
Kokanee Park passing CN 2659
AftermathOnce VIA passed, the westbound train started moving and rolled past me, with a nice wave from the conductor.
CN 2659 passing byHere’s the meet between the two CN trains. The east-facing train was just getting underway.
CN 2659, meet CN 2199The eastbound train (CN 2199 East) passed Diamond at 18:20. The photograph below shows them about to cross the CP Glenboro subdivision.
CN 2199 about to cross the diamondI waited around for a bit, and after about 20 minutes, another train came rolling along at 18:42, with CN 5700 and CN 8862 in the lead.
CN 5700 on the moveThat was enough for me, so I packed up and headed home. I chalked that up as a success – I got the VIA train I wanted, plus 4 CN trains!
* I know it’s not actually the “Churchill” train at the moment, as the line between Gillam and Churchill is still closed at the time of writing. You’re lucky I don’t still call the VIA Winnipeg-Churchill train the “Hudson Bay”.
I took video of the VIA train, and it’s the first train in this video.
P.S. I just finished reading The Fall of Gondolin by J.R.R. Tolkien. It’s a worthy prequel to The Hobbit and to the Rings trilogy. Fans of minute details will like the extensive notes that Christopher Tolkien included along with the story. Personally, I am a more casual fan and, although I enjoyed the story itself, I skimmed a lot of the pages after the story as they were really “meta” information. It was interesting to read the first mentions of Legolas and Elrond, though!
This article first appeared on www.traingeek.ca
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