MWR - Railfanning the Rocky Mountain West!
August 11, 1999 Railfanning
This was another action packed day with a lot of miles on the road.  The day began in Golden, B.C. and ended in West Glacier, MT with a little trip back through Alberta.  For those of you who live in or have visited Canada, you know how much I'm missing here.  This trip was just a little to rushed but I still enjoyed the railroad action that I did see.
Golden, B.C.  | Spiral Tunnels to Field, B.C.  |  Morant's Curve, Alberta
Cranbrook Sub, B.C.  |  Whitefish, MT

CP 9573 and friend in Golden.
Golden, B.C.
This westbound grain train was idling away in the morning sun at Golden while we were looking for a place to eat.  We found a nice little cafe near the tracks and just by chance the train crew was also enjoying breakfast there.  Thus, it was easy to figure out when the train was leaving for the west.  Along with the two units on the point, there was a single unit about 2/3rds back in the train.
This is the view of Golden from the Trans-Canada highway.  In the foreground are the tracks of the Mountain Subdivision.  In the distance, just beyond town is the north end of the Windermere Subdivision.  This is the farthest west I made it in Canada.  I know I should have one farther west but it just didn't happen.  Hopefully I'll remedy that this coming year.
Golden, B.C.

Yoho, B.C.
Yoho, British Columbia
CP 5867 and 5801 roll downgrade between the upper and lower Spiral Tunnels with a westbound manifest.  This was the only train we through the Spiral Tunnels this day.  Of course there were four trains in just a half hour the previous evening when photography was difficult.  Murphy's first law of railfanning, I guess.
Here the same manifest passes through the siding at Cathedral which is the next siding after the Spiral Tunnels.  It was great to see two older CP units, especially one with the multimark.  Most all the other motive power I saw was newer GE units.
Cathedral, B.C.
Definitely Mountain Railroading.
The Canadian Rockies definitely are spectacular.  This location is just a few miles (kilometers? ;-]) east of Field, B.C.  At Field, a new crew will get on the train to take it on west across the Mountain Sub.  Ironically, Kicking Horse Pass across the Continental Divide and the Spiral Tunnels are not on the Mountain Sub but on the Laggan Sub.  I guess you need to break it up somewhere.  I'd like to see the natural occurrence that led to the concrete snow shed!

Morant's Curve, Alberta
Is this the most photographed location on CP?  I figured if everyone else took a shot here I might as well take a whack at it too.   CP 9511 leads two SD40s on a westbound manifest.  I like the variety on the manifests with everything from tanks, boxcars, and autoracks to intermodel tacked on the end of the train.
CP 9511 West
Famous location, wrong direction.

The day before it was crystal clear with plenty of sunshine but no trains.  So, I had to take what was available.  Even though it was overcast and the tops of the mountains were hiding in the clouds, I still like the shot.  The squealing of the flanges on the railhead was almost deafening though.

Cranbrook Sub, B.C.

This empty coal train was parked in a siding near, I believe, Galloway.  This was the only train we saw on the Cranbrook Sub but I did like that three of the four CP units had the new "beaver" paint scheme.
Waiting in the siding.

Whitefish Depot
Whitefish, MT
Both of these grain trains pulled into Whitefish just a little after we arrived from Canada.  Along with the two units on the front, there were also two distributed power units on the end of the train.  To the right is a Great Northern yard engine which wears the paint scheme that was the inspiration for the Heritage I and then Heritage II paint schemes seen to the left.
Of all the new paint schemes of BNSF, the Heritage I scheme is my favorite.  The Heritage II scheme (behind BNSF 1004 and to the far left above) just has too much orange in my opinion.
BNSF 1004 in Whitefish, MT.
Whitefish Yard
This full view of the east end of the yard gives an idea of the local traffic - lumber.  There were a few four axle units switching the yard full of boxcars and centerbeam flatcars while the crews were changing on the through grain trains.

Whitefish is my favorite little spot on earth, in fact, I hope to move there very soon.  One of the great things about Whitefish, other than the people, Glacier Nat'l Park or the railfanning, is the local Great Northern Brewing Company and their fine line of beers under the Black Star label.  Next time your in Whitefish, stop by the brewery in the afternoon when the tasting room is open.  You can enjoy a fine beverage while standing out on the deck and watching the trains roll by the depot one block to the north.  Visit their website by clicking on Black Star icon.  If there was an official beer of MWR it would be Black Star.


All but one of these images were captured with a Sony FD-91 digital camera.
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