Railfanning a bit in Canada, Aug, 2007
(click on each image to see a larger version -- 1024X768)

Day1: August 11
Near Entwistle, AB Driving West from Edmonton, I passed this Westbound stack train accelerating from a meet. I pulled ahead and quite fortunately found this bridge.

Near Entwistle, AB
August 11, 2007

I drove on into Jasper and checked into my hotel then checked out the town. I knew this was a tourist town, but I wasn't aware it was also quite a railroad town.

I walked down to the Subway to get a sandwich and shot these photos along the way.

Day2: August 12
I LOVE the long days up here! After tiring myself out on a hike I still had time to check out some rail action. This meet (the train coming toward us is a Westbound #303) is about the top of the grade in Yellowhead Pass at a signal called "Geikie".

West of Jasper, AB
August 12, 2007

The wide angle shot of this location is pretty nifty, but the Sun didn't totally cooperate with me (there were storms coming in behind me). It was a beautiful scene to the naked eye, but the camera just couldn't handle the contrast.

Day3: August 13
I didn't take time out today soly for trains, but I couldn't get away from them! I hiked up Cinquefoil Peak and saw plenty about a mile away across the Athabasca River.

Here, an Eastbound thunders toward Edmonton. I took a wider angle of the train to give perspective.

East of Jasper, AB
August 13, 2007

Most of what I saw was Eastbound, but a few Westbounds showed. The lighting angle was the same. Until.....


Just below the top of the peak I found a great spot that looked East toward the approaching Westbounds. Unfortunately, rain began and when a train did appear this was the best I could do.

I really wasn't concerned about that at the moment. I was 800 feet from the top with bad weather making me seriously worry about safely getting down..


The weather didn't last long, it even turned sunny and I stayed to dry out and hope for another Westbound. None came.


Day4: August 14
Today's shots are very similar to yesterday's, but that was intentional. Two days ago I found a little park with a view of the tracks across Yellowhead Lake but heavy rain prevented photography. Today's return only saw one train because of track work nearby and that train wasn't heading the way I'd liked (I think an Eastbound would've shown better from my angle).

Here, Westbound #309 flies past the lake with Yellowhead Mountain in the background. Another tidbit: I'm just a bit across the border into British Columbia so my time is an hour off!

West of Jasper, BC
2:28pm(Mountain Time?)
August 14, 2007

Day5: August 15
Another day of long-range railfanning! I was climbing a peak called Roche Miette and being alone, the difficulty really frightened me. I had plenty of rest stops along the way and aimed my camera when I heard a distant train.

I've paired these photos with the close-up (usually about 200mm digital or 375mm in conventional 35mm) and a wide angle to give perspective

Near Pocahontas, AB
August 15, 2007


Day6: August 16
I'm surprised I took time to railfan today; when I returned to town I was thoroughly exhausted from my attempt on Mt. Edith Cavell.

I was driving West of town in search of more accessible railfanning spots and heard #391 (Westbound loaded coal) call the Geikie signal. That's the top of the grade so he was pulling pretty hard and slow, giving me time for the shot.

West of Jasper, AB
August 16, 2007

West of Jasper, AB

Day7: August 17
Jasper, AB
Tonight I go home so today I plan just to pack, hang around town for a bit, then do the 5 hour drive to Edmonton in an unhurried manner, catching what trains I can along the way.

Did I mention the large tourist parking lot in town adjacent to the CN yard? It makes it easy to watch crew changes and I figured this would be a perfect place to hang out. One problem: the day was quite dead -- no trains whatsoever.

Jasper, AB

I was actually on my way to the highway when I heard #105 call the yardmaster as he was entering town. By the time I got back to the parking lot he was already tied down (left), but I didn't have to wait long for #111 to arrive (lower left). These are both hot-shot container trains stopping to swap crews and continue. For some reason the late arrival got the first crew and took off, lining up the shot below for me.


I decided to try a spot on the West end of town and barely got there before #111 passed -- the photo at left is taken from the car window.


#105 gave me a bit more time to walk around and look at angles and prepare for the shot. From the South side of the tracks I was able to catch a long shot of him coming by the Wynd signal and then a low-angle coming past Mile 1 under an interesting sky.


Both trains conversed with another apparent Eastbound near the Geikie signal so I knew I had something more to wait for. #416 turned out to be a set of light motors, I'm guessing a pusher set, the first I'd seen this week.


East of Edson As I drove East I heard several trains call signals but my inability to navigate local roads caused me to miss them. Somewhere East of Edson I pulled over looking for a spot and just took this shot of the track and the darkening sky.
I drove on, but about 10km East heard, then saw #357 Westbound. I pulled around and back to the previous spot getting there just before his headlight appeared.


As I drove through Entwistle I passed an Eastbound coming across the bridge just East of town. It would have been a GREAT shot had I been there 3 minutes earlier, but that wasn't the end. He pulled into the siding waiting for #347 Westbound so I looked for a spot to catch him in the waning light and came back to this bridge. You'll have to take my word that I was NOT trying to line up the CN logo on each locomotive with that on the bridge! It just kind of worked out that way.
I took this last shot not so much because I like it (I didn't) or it was good light or something (it wasn't), but simply because I KNEW it would be my last in Canada for a while...

Check out my Mountaineering around Jasper here.

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Proud to be an American!
Mack Muir