Here! Catch! Sorry. Moncton-style.

Last Sunday, Taylor and I met up with Luc for a terrific day of trains and just general screwin’ around.

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CN’s SD60 #5476 was on duty as yard engine in Moncton. I believe it’s the first time I’ve ever seen an SD60 and while I’m not normally a fan of large diesels, there’s something in those very utilitarian lines that I find attractive. Perhaps, once an engine finds itself as a switcher it becomes something worth paying attention to?

While watching 5476 working the yard, the crew assigned to work the Caledonia Industrial Park customers climbed into the cab of their GP38-2’s, #4732 and #4800. The yard was getting rather full and 5476 was, if I understand correctly, some braking issues so the Caledonia crew joined in on the yard work. In the above photo, they’re working the opposite end of the yard to both access their cars and aid 5476’s crew in marshalling cars.

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We weren’t in the yard long when CN’s train from Miramichi arrived. With CN GP40-2 #4708 in the lead it might have been easy to overlook the real treat, former GO Transit #708 (now CN 9675) is trailing. With this arrival, there are now three trains on duty in the yard and it starts to become apparent that Moncton has “just enough” track. Lots of radio chatter as everyone learns their place on the floor.


Among the container well cars and auto racks there were some fantastic gems waiting to be found. I regret that the Grand Trunk covered hopper that, while moving, never got close enough to be photographed. That said, some terrific cars did punctuate the day’s moves including that pair of Tropical containers (note the puddles on the roof – never seen that modelled before!) and a set of four potash hoppers (first time I’ve seen the real thing).

Watching the local crews working away was an absolute pleasure. First a modeller, I often found myself taking mental notes on things that I think I’d like to represent when I’m operating models in similar situations. I wonder how they establish each crew’s territory within the yard so each can complete their work?

More than just a chance to watch trains, it was a chance to add a few more photographs of the place itself to my files. I’d like to set my own model railway around this time of year and during a fall like the one we’re currently enjoying. Photos not just to record details but also texture and colour, hopefully from perspectives that better approximate my viewpoint when looking at the models.

Balancing a terrific day trackside was the invitation to see Luc’s model railway. In previous conversations, I’d heard of his plans for the layout but I had not actually seen it. It was terrific to finally have a chance to spend some time exploring and seeing what he’s been up to. Luc is an extremely talented model maker and it’s that attention to detail and clean execution he brings to layout design and construction. It was a real pleasure to see the layout and learn about his next plans for its design and construction. I am already looking forward to going back soon.

I had a thoroughly enjoyable day in the company of some really great friends. Thank you Luc for the invitation and to Taylor for finally getting me to go – I have no excuse and really should have gone sooner. Thank you to Luc and Susan for their gracious hospitality, welcoming us into their home and feeding us. You guys were simply terrific company.

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4 comments

  1. Sounds like a great time at Gordon Yard! I agree that watching yard crews do their thing is pretty cool. I spent a lot of time at Miramichi watching the ex CP MLW’s moving around.

    Good communication and staying on your “own” tracks is a must when multiple crews are working!

    1. It’s that ability to mark out a territory in the yard that I’m still so fascinated by – even more so when I think about how hard it is on a model railway to get operators to agree on territories!

      MLW switching. Now that’s a play worth attending and something I’ll never tire of watching.

      /chris

  2. Making the yard work. Not always easy. Teamwork. Capacity. Movement in the moment. Under gray skies. Priceless.
    Thanks for sharing this seemingly mundane operation which is decidedly not as mundane as we may think.
    Eric

    1. So much purpose and experience masked in those steady movements within the yard. To the casual observer, it would be easy to forget that the equipment bears as much mass as it does. It’s always a joy to watch a master at work.

      Thank you

      /chris

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