This is somewhat of a unique video since much of the video centers around the operations at Prince Rupert, in western Canada. This is an area seldom visited. We were there in 1996, and have now decided to release this for others to enjoy. We begin with an afternoon visit to the CN yard along the waterfront and find GP9 rebuild #7001 switching freight cars. There is nice afternoon sunshine during this plus some of the 567 engine rumble from time to time. We even see some car-kicking, whereby the brakeman uncouples the car on the fly and the engine stops and allows the uncoupled car to go on its own to the designated track. During this process one of the CN(Canadian National Railway) brakeman informed us they would be working the next day on the barge from Alaska that was coming in before dark.
We also see a variety of fishing and other boats from the shoreline, as we wait for VIA Rail’s “Skeena” passenger train from Jasper to arrive.
While waiting for that train we saw the barge from Alaska. We finished our day with shots of the barge, and finally the early evening arrival of the “Skeena” passenger train.
The next morning we are down at the slip for the barge from Alaska. This is the CN’s “Aquatrain” which takes 10 days roundtrip between Prince Rupert and Alaska. Therefore our timing was lucky to get this operation which takes place only 3 times a month. The 7001 collects 5 or 6 idler flat cars and they reach up over the ramp into the barge to collect each row of freight cars, and pull them down the ramp off the barge. There are several tracks and I believe the barge holds 48-50 freight cars depending on their lengths. There are 2 tracks leading to the barge and after one track is emptied a winch is used to pull the barge sideways to align the next track with the ramp track. After all the cars are unloaded, the 7001 brings the cars from the yard it had been switching the afternoon before, and begins the process of loading the barge. It is a process that is kinda slow but is seldom seen.
After the barge loading we get a couple of shots of 7001 switching the docks and harbor where wood products and containers are shipped in and out.
Now we leave Prince Rupert and have a couple of odd shots in Wynyard, SASK of a diesel finishing switching and tying up for the day. This was in June of 1999.
Next we head to southern British Columbia and catch a unit coal train on the Canadian Pacific from Sparwood that is seen at Fernie.
This train had a remote control mid-train helper. After this we are in Cranbrook and watch another freight depart headed west and to the U.S. Border of Eastport-Kingsgate, Idaho. This manifest is chased as far as Yahk and we get several scenes along this lightly used, but scenic line along the southern CPR line. There is also a really nice reflection location. This segment was also shot in 1999.
Finally we wrap things up with two BNSF freights near Sand Point, Idaho in what is called “The Funnel” near the U.S. and Canadian Border.
Check out the preview to get a better idea of what we just described.