Thursday, December 27, 2007

Railfanning 23 Dec 07

On the 23rd I went to the Campbellton yard to see what's going on but to my dismay there was nothing going on, NBEC(?) 4203 was sitting infront of the NBEC shops it didn't look like it was running infact it looked like it had been sitting there for quite sometime. Later I went to AC Cell I heard on the scanner the shunter was there, when I arrived it had left, so I missed it. (Shouldn't have stopped for coffee first) However I have some pictures to share. Also back in the days of coal and steam there were a number of coal chutes all over Campbellton, I'm wondering if anyone knows if this is one of them. It sits just off or on the AV Cell properity it looks to me like a coal chute however I have been wrong in the past not very offten but I have been. So if anyone knows let me know. So here are the pictures from the 23rd.
At AV Cell, just before the crossing. Box cars and S02 Cars waiting to be shunted or taken away.

At the NBEC Yard in Campbellton.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Projects for Early Spring and Summer 2008

As any part of Canada my home community has a railroad history and so does Campbellton NB which is across the Restigouche River. I live in Listuguj a First Nations Community of a little over or under three thousand residents. In the mid late nineteenth century two brothers had decided to build a lumber mill on the bank of the River which in it's hay day was a major supply line for lumber mills in Campbellton and communities along the river for supplying local mills with lumber, in the winter lumberjacks would cut trees deep in the forests of Northen New Brunswick and along the Gaspe coast and along the Matapedia river and run the logs down river to Campbellton and to Listuguj where the Chapadoux lumber mill was situated behind what is now known as Saint Anne Church. The Catholic Church at the time had ceaded the land behind the church yard to the Chapadoux Brothers to build their lumber mill. The mill was built sometime between 1895 - 1900 The Casapedia Subdivision was built around roughly between 1908 - 1911. A spur line was built to the lumber mill to what was known then and still today as "Old Mission Point"

The Mill built booms all along the shoreline of the Community and they lasted for many many years till sometime after the mill had closed when they were dismantled for safety reasons I'm sure as the Community's chief industry is fishing on the Restigouche for it's world renown Atlantic Salmon.

As part of the several projects I have planned for the early spring and summer of 2008 I am going to post pictures and some history behind this rail spur and other local lines that have been either abandoned or long since been out of use to show what kind of railroad history the area had at one time. The spur which ran from the Cascapedia sub to Old Mission point a shunter would come from Campbellton and pick up the lumber and bring it all the way to Matapedia cross the Restigouch River on the main CNR(At the time) and bring it to Campbellton to ship by rail either to Halifax or Montreal to be shiped from there till sometime in the 1900's when the Chapadoux mill had built a small warf where they could load their lumber onto ships directly from the mill, the spur line was still used for several years till the mill closed.

In Campbellton the CNR had built a half a mile long spur to the warf where lumber could be off loaded to waiting ships and have raw matreals shiped to places all over the world, the chief export was forestry products mostly lumber and paper after the opening of the Fraser mill in Atholville in 1929. (Today is now known as AV Cell)

The Chapadoux mill as well as many other major industries and business's through out the world were hit hard by the great depression which began in October of 1929 and the depression continued on into the 1930's. The Chapadoux mill was hit hard like other mills because of the huge drop in the world market for lumber and other forestry products. Between 1930 and 1939 the mill was closed due to lack of supply and demand and shortly after being closed was burned by either vandals or by other causes. To date I don't know the full story on why the mill burned however I do know it burned down not long after it closed.

Today all that remains of the Chapadoux mill is a few concrete structures one of them locally known simply as "The drum" which it was back in it's opperation a peeling drum to peel bark off the logs that came down river durring the spring log drives. Also a large degrading concrete box of sorts and a few foundations of the mill it self are all that remain of the mill today.

I'm not sure when the spur line was abandoned and the tracks pulled up however my Dad who was born in 1943 recalls when he was young (Around 9 or 10) remembers seeing the rail line where it once was but he could not remember any trains going over it in his time. He isn't sure when the tracks were pulled up though. About eight or ten years ago I was out in the fields walking my Dog (She was a Border Collie) when I came across something that I had seen all my life but never made much of it till I had decided to take a closer look, I noticed something different about some ditches that were dug in the ground and again all my life I've seen them but never made any sense of it nor did I even care till I became more involved in the local history in railroads. I had came across the track bed for the spur line that ran from the Cascapedia sub down to the Chapadoux mill at the old mission point. This spring I'll be sure to take pictures of the track bed however it is now all grown over (Obviously) after seventy years or so of being abandoned. Till then I'll keep you all posted about my other projects that I have in mind as for this summer goes as well as revisiting the former St Quentin Sub. That particular line has a very long and rich history which I will share at a later date. Till then keep chaseing those trains and keep it safe.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Why I chase trains.

Last night at work a co-worker had asked me what I had planned for the evening, I told him I was going to "Chase a train tonight." He gave me that look, "Why in Gods name would you chase a train?" look. So I obviously had to tell him what I had meant by that.

It took me a couple of good seconds to really come up with a good explanation on why I chase trains for a hobby. So I decided to give him the long story as to maybe clear up a few questions.
It started out as a child way back when CN used to be the largest employer in Campbellton and surropunding areas. CN had several daily freights, the Campbellton yard was a very busy place, where I live I have the CN yard in Campbellton and the Casapedia sub that runs through my community about a good five minute drive from where I live. Since I was a child I would hear the train coming long before I could see it, so I would hopp on my bike and peddle as fast as I could to the crossing and wait for the train to come. I would offten excite my self with dreams of chaseing the train when I got older and follow it to it's destination, while taking photgraphs of the train along the way. Of course in Campbellton I would always get excited as any child would when the train would go by, I love trains, since I was a young child I have always liked trains, the sheer power those loco's have and the enomous weight they carry, the verious types of cargo they transport...Everything about trains has always had a great interest in me. So now that I am older and I have my own car and my own camera now I can take stills and video, (Moderen technoloigy) CN has long left Campbellton and the yard is all but dead and the Casapedia Sub is all but abandoned, where I live the forestry industry is pretty much the main industry and well we all know how that's working out in the market so that tells you pretty much you need to know about local rail transport. When I was a kid the trians through here on the Casapedia Sub were long trains, they would either come from the Mont Joli sub from Montreal or from Halifax and transport good to the Gaspe, and from Gaspe to Halifax or Montreal. Today the trains that go over the Sub are short trains usually consisting of four maybe five boxcars and a few flatbeds or some tanker cars that's ususally it. And of course twice a day VIA Rail Chelaur would rumbble by around 0600hrs and again around 2200hrs, durring the day two freights would fly by with a small train behind it. Since CN left Campbellton back in 1994 the trains through here are pretty small and don't usually consist of much since the chief export on the Gaspe Pennsula is forestry products. But my howle point is, I chase trains because it's a fun little hobby of mine and some of you may have seen my video of me being really close to a passing freight at a crossing, well that's the dangerous part to this hobby of mine, however it can be fun and safe, I won't make that same mistake again, because of my constant fears of being tramppled by a derailling freight.

It's a fun hobby, I plan on doing a lot of rail fanning this weekend, hopefully fuel up the car and head down some highway and wait for a freight or catch one of the Oceans rilling by.

I know it's not a throughal explantion on why I chase trains but just to give you an idea on why, it's just fun ok! I like it, and the trill of the chase is always rewarding. It's always fun to look at the pictures of the trains afterwards and to review the videos as well.

NBEC train #403

Sorry I haven't written in awhile, I haven't been doing much railfanning, I work till about six thirty at night and the only train due around that time is the 403 heading from Miramachi and well these past few nights since Monday December 17th (My Birthday!) I've been heading out of work early to catch the 403 in Dalhousie Jct however I can never seem to catch it, I know it leaves Miramachi around 1500hrs or 1600hrs however it usually arrives in Charlo around 1900hrs, so by the time it arrives at my usual spot in Dalhousie Jct it's about 1930hrs.
This week except for tuesday has not been a good week, I haven't caught it once this week at all, I've been going to my spot around 1830hrs and 1900hrs and I would stay there till about 2030hrs after that I just give up and go home. Monday night I figured it was late due to the storm we had last weekend so I didn't think much of it. The 403 has to stay ahead of Ocean 15 but nothing all week, now I know it's possible I could have missed it once or maybe even twice but I don't think I could miss it everyday this week since I know I'm ahead of it when I get there. So I'm just curious now with the perminate closure of the UPM mill in Miramachi if that really affected the train times.
I spoke with a few people and they've all told me the same, the train hasn't changed it's departure time from Miramachi however maybe I'm getting there late! I don't think so, When I leave work to go on the chase I pass by the NBEC yard in Campbellton and I don't see no train there only the yard shunter and a few cars sitting on the sideing.

On another note on the same topic of sorts, Monday night before heading off too Dalhousie Jct I had decided to stop by the yard in Campbellton and see what's going on and take a few pictures, well because my camera sucks at taking stills at night, I took some of a really odd looking rail car, I didn't know what it was, I had seen all kinds of strange things transported by rail but never what I was looking at. I was very certin I was looking at a jet engine, it really did. So I took some crappy pictures of it and went on my way to Dalhousie Jct. The next morning when I went for my morning coffee run I had decided to see if that "Jet engine" was still there and sure enough it was. I took much more better pictures than the previous night and I emailed the pictures to Steve Boyko, he was able to make more sense of it than I had, it was not a jet engine but rather a huge hot water tank of sorts, he also sent me a link explaining what it was. It's actually cargo for a factory somewheres out west. Also I'm going to put the pictures up of that particular cargo, it was my mystery of week I guess. Well that's what it's been like for me this week, I just heard NBEC #402 on the scanner and is now leaving the yard in Campbellton heading to Miramachi, in about fifteen minutes or so It'll trip the "hotbox" detector in Dalhousie Jct.

Lastnight was not a total loss however I did catch the Ocean arriving in Charlo, I have a few videos of it, arriving in Charlo, leaving Charlo and passing through Richardsville, outside of Campbellton NB. Anyhow keep it fun and keep it safe. See you's all later and hopefully I'll have a much better week than this past week.

Here's the link Steve had sent me.