Monday, 25 May 2015

Day 11 - Exploring Lethbridge

Today had one purpose: film / photograph trains crossing the Viaduct at Lethbridge. The problem was we didn't know how often it was used.

The first task was to do a spot of grocery shopping, and while the guys were in there, someone heard a train horn - but one like no other. So we high tailed it to the line that branches off to the USA and David saw some lights when we crossed the track. Initially I thought it was a highrail truck, but it turned out to be a track inspection train - one loco, one equipment car and two old coaches. I didn't feel obliged to film it so I let it go - as it turned out, it would re-appear again later in the afternoon.

My plan of attack was simple: go to the yard at Coalhurst, and as soon as it looks as though something is heading east, shoot back to the bridge. We arrived at Coalhurst and one of the trains parked up there looked like it was being prepared for departure - then a van pulls up and two guys jump in the loco. We shot back to the bridge to the same spot where we were yesterday, the light was perfect and a light zephyr was pushing over the tops of the grass. Soon after my prayers were answered and a medium sized manifest turned up.

Video frame capture of the first train filmed passing over the bridge.

Since it didn't look like anything else was due to depart, I walked back to the guys to see if they were interested in chasing it - suddenly this snake slithers across the path 6 inches from my feet. Heart rate jumped to about 240 bpm.

As it turned out, the train only went as far as the Lethbridge Yard where it was spotting and picking up. There was no where to go to see the action so we returned to Coalhurst where an SD60 was being used as a switcher and the crew were breaking up a train. While I was filming this, the scanner burst into life: ".. there's a white Dodge on the road and someone videoing me, can someone check it out please..." "That's us !!"
Post 9/11 fear mongering is still rife in the CPR, and as a result, a guy came tootling up the road to see who we were. He soon realised that we weren't wearing tea towels and he ended up being a gem of information - namely that there won't be any trains across the bridge until 4 pm.

Lunch time.

We returned to the bottom of the bridge to have a snooze and a read and then relocated to the opposite side of the bridge that offered an excellent view at track height.

Lawrie and the bridge.

At almost 4pm on the dot a long grain train came followed soon after by the track inspection train. At about 4:50 a Union Pacific led Canpotex train trundled over. The overcast sky was having a detrimental effect on the light and I decided to almost call it quits - then thunder started rattling the bridge - time to go.

Panoramic view - the only way to photograph the whole thing.

A very filling dinner at the Swiss Chalet Grill.

Tomorrow we head back to Calgary.


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