Friday, 20 July 2012

Turning a Passenger Train

On May 13, 2012 the first passenger train in over a year reached New Carlisle.  I was there on the following Saturday.  Hard to believe. but in all my trips to the Gaspe I had never seen a train turn on the wye before so I was happy to finally do so.  I didn't realize it at the time, but this meant seeing a lone F40PH running without any coaches.

The work on the double bridge in Cascapedia-St Jules is complete, although honestly nothing visibly has changed.  The Pabos bridge is still under repair but work on the pillars is not yet complete.  I wonder if the slow order on this bridge be lifted now?

The process for turning the train is actually quite simple.  The train must be turned in two sections however, as the wye will only hold three coaches and the locomotive.  First the passengers hop onto a motorcoach for the second leg of the trip.

The entire train is first pulled east to clear the passing siding.  

The two sleepers are dropped on the passing siding while the two coaches and the baggage car are left on the mainline.

The locomotive then couples onto the sleeper cars and pushes them backwards onto the wye.

Once clear both the east and west legs, the train heads out in the opposite direction and sets the two coaches onto the mainline.

The neatest part, in my opinion, is when the locomotive runs back over the wye to pick up the remaining three cars.  The rear riding platform would really come in handy here...
The whole operation takes a little over an hour, provided everything goes to plan.  The train actually derailed on the wye however during the first week of June, just days before my second trip up this year.  It happened when the locomotive was running back alone to pick up the remaining coaches.  As is the case with much of the line to Gaspe, there is a permanent five mile per hour slow order on the wye.  The locomotive made it about halfway up the west leg when both rails spread apart and the rear wheels went on the ground.  It took a 100 ton jack and one of the SFG's cranes, but several hours and some new ties later the train was back on the rails.

In any aerial photos, a large pond is visible between the yard and the bay.  Years ago, CN dug shale and sand from the area to build up an embankment.  Brackish water from the bay eventually seeped into the hole.        The area around the wye itself was soft to begin with and the tracks sink as the train travels over it.  The last solid ground towards the bay is the the site of the former car shop on the west side of the yard and the site of the old Texaco oil tanks to the east.  Today a single stall engine house rests on the northeast corner of the old shop floor and all that marks the old oil tanks is a rusty fence.

Thursday, 19 July 2012


I apologize to my few readers about the lack of posts lately, but from here on out I am going to try and stick to an at least once a week schedule.

I have been pretty busy with work and June saw some great fishing so I had little time for the model railroad.  After that I made several runs up to the Gaspe but those are over for now.  I saw some great VIA action beginning with the second run of the train from Matapedia to New Carlisle in over a year.  I was also very fortunate to see some classic CN power shunting cars, or "friggin' around" as my dad would say, in Campbellton, NB.

In the past week however, I've been bit by the model railroading bug again and I've begun to work on some projects again.  It might be the month long drought that has caused the fishing to literally "dry up" or even all the travelling. In three consecutive evenings, I've partially painted and decalled an RS-18 for myself, as well as an SD40-2W for a client.  I also managed to find a few more projects I've been considering for a while on ebay, so in short lots of work.

All in all, the summer's over half gone and then the real model railroad season can begin!


For some reason I didn't take a photo of the best engine of all on that yard train, a narrow cab 4700 series GP38-2. Here's a video of the same train, minus the GP9, taken by a Youtube friend.  Also if you look close at the GP40-2W you can see the green paint, showing through from its GO Transit days...who knows, with any luck, my uncle drove it at one point.