Motorcars, Speeders and Railcars

By Wayne Parsons

Southwest Railcar Ltd. - British Columbia 2006

CN main line west bound from Burns Lake to Smithers, BC

July 20, 2006 - This is our shortest day on the track with 90 miles.  The weather dial is set to "beautiful" with temperatures around 90 and high clouds all day.  We will have one passenger and three freight meets.  For much of the day we follow the Bulkley River which, along with the distant mountains, green forests, and flower strewn tracks, provides many photo opportunities.

8:03AM - The line up lead by Pat Coleman is ready for departure.

8:38AM - Just two miles out of Burns Lake it's easy to see what kind of beautiful scenery today will bring.

9:12AM - Palling - freight meet.  Note how everyone is out of their cars and well back.  A two man safety patrol checks all cars and watches for the trains.  Doing this is not only the best safety procedure, but it makes the railroad personnel comfortable about the "speeder train" being here. 


Birthday girl Debbie Armstrong is a good sport wearing this hat while passing out CN pins.

9:54AM - Running along the Bulkley River, the view ahead and behind shows our group spread out along the shore.



11:30AM - Topley at MP 66.5

12:39PM - Switching operation at Barrett yard MP 88.  Both times we came through here lumber trains were being assembled from a mill off left.

1:38PM - Robin Creek at MP 105.  Just 20 miles from Smithers we go in the hole and wait for both this passenger and a freight that will be along in about 40 minutes.  The observation car on the end is pictured at the top of this page.


2:15PM - Robin Creek.  Everyone is out with their cameras to catch a friendly wave from the freight crew.


2:31PM - This work crew is using a back hoe that crawls onto it's own carrier. 

2:56PM - At every road crossing the lead car radios back the location, traffic situation, and recommended procedure (stop and go or slow and go, etc).  The meet coordinator in the last car acknowledges and repeats the information. 


3:00PM - Huntington - MP116.7   Because much of this track runs near rivers, environmental laws restrict the amount of weed spraying.  So, all along the track is an abundance of flowers!


3:15PM Approaching Smithers. 


3:28PM - mill just outside of Smithers.

3:34PM - Smithers station.

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