By David M
I’ve always wanted to get a picture of a train on the Renfrew Spur going over the Mississippi River. Recently, I had a Wednesday morning off and decided that I would chase CN 589 to get that picture.
Early on Wednesday morning, I started scanning these frequencies [Stand By: 160.545, RTC Call-In: 160.860, RTC Call-In: 160.290] on my radio scanner. Around 8:30am, I overheard the clearances. I then hopped in the car and drove to Carling Ave. and March Rd., in Kanata, to meet 589 at 9:00am (where I’ve seen it there many times at 9:00). When I arrived there, it was nowhere to be seen. I thought that perhaps it was earlier than usual, so I then proceeded to the crossing at Terry Fox Drive and then the crossing at Huntmar and Old Carp Road where I didn’t see it. By now, it was 9:30 and I still hadn’t made contact with it. I then proceeded to Carp to see if it was there, which it wasn’t. I decided to park on the side of the road near the Diefenbunker (picture below) and decided to wait for it.
Since 9:00, the scanner had been quiet. At 10:00, the scanner became active again with additional notifications for the crew. Two minutes later, I heard a distant whistle coming from Carp. Finally at 10:11, first contact was made. Once you have found 589, it is very easy to chase since it only travels 5 mph. I was then able to catch it easily at five other locations.
I decided to leave the close chase and get ahead of it to ensure I had sufficient time to set up for the shot of it crossing over the Mississippi River bridge. I chose to set up on the bridge on Mohrs Road. The shoot turned out to be difficult since, in my rush out the door, I only took an 11-16mm wide-angle lens and a 55-200mm zoom lens. When shooting from the bridge, a 35mm would have perfect as the 55 was challenging to get it properly framed, and the wide angle gave a bit too much.
Rail fanning on this line is challenging because there are no signals that you can sneak a peak of, or any hotbox detectors that give you a heads up when a train crosses over it. The main advantage of rail fanning on this line is that once you’ve found the train, you have many opportunities to see it because it travels so slowly.
All in all, it was a good chase. The next time, I will try to chase it in the other direction. If anyone has a favorite place to shot along the line, or any pictures of the train on the Renfrew Sub, please post a comment with a link to the pictures, because I’m interested in seeing them. (So am I! - Michael)
Many thanks to David for his story and photos. Stay tuned for more from David in the next little while. - Michael