Railfan.net Home Railfan Photos ABPR Archives Staff Safari Photos Railfan Links

Railfan.net Forums Railfan.net Forums Railfan.net Forums
Welcome, Guest. Please Sign In or Register. Feb 19th, 2018, 11:27am
Categories •  FastIndex •  LongIndex •  Help •  Search •  Members  •  Sign In •  Register


Coal train ops in western canada
   Railfan.net Web Forums
   North American Railroads
   CP Discussion
(Moderators: Pyronova, kjohn, KootenayValleyRailway)
   Coal train ops in western canada
« Previous topic | Next topic »
Pages: 1 2  ReplyReply     EMail TopicEMail Topic   PrintPrint
   Author  Topic: Coal train ops in western canada  (Read 687 times)
penn_senseless
Historian
View Profile  

Posts: 333
Coal train ops in western canada
 
« on: Mar 2nd, 2008, 7:16pm »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

pardon me for not being from the region, but can any of you western canada guys tell me a bit about coal train ops on canadian pacific? Its mainly an export coal market, correct, with trainloads of coal moving west from mines in the Rockies to Van for shipping overseas? Im wondering about the electric power industry there, and are there any dedicated coal mine to power generating plant trains over the CP through the Rockies?
 
Am I correct to assume there isnt much on line business in between Calgary and Vancouver, with most traffic is just bridged between the big cities?
 
Thanks for any help


Logged
Pyronova

View Profile  

Posts: 2060
Re: Coal train ops in western canada
 
« Reply #1 on: Mar 2nd, 2008, 8:59pm »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

No online coal customers.
The extreme vast majority of our electrisity is generated by water and gravity ie dams.   Google and google earth the Columbia and Kootenay rivers and check out how many are on them!  
 
Check out this thread for more info on the salt water terminal......
http://forums.railfan.net/forums.cgi?board=BC;action=display;num=1163543206
 
CP most of the time runs a 80-100 car set, with a AC4400 or ES44AC on each end.  Usually a return trip from the mine to the coast and back is about 90 hours.
MarkJ, a regular member here, could fill you in more on the ops as he runs the trains from the mines.....


Logged

Moderator of: Mainline - Rail Safety; Regional Areas - British Columbia & Vancouver Island; Fallen Flags - The Milwaukee Road; & Model Railroading - N-Scale .


TrainMan12
Enthusiast
Posts: 47
Re: Coal train ops in western canada
 
« Reply #2 on: Mar 3rd, 2008, 12:10am »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

I'm a regular "foamer" in that area so I can provide you with some information. But definatley talk to MarkJ, he is a conductor on the Cranbrook Sub which is where the mines are. There are 5 mines: Fording, Greenhils, Line Creek, Elkview, and Coal Mountain. The Fording, Greenhils, Line Creek and Elkview mines are on a branch called the Fording River Subdivision. The Fording River Subdivision junction is located at Sparwood. The fifth mine, Coal Mountain, is located on the Byron Creek Subdivision. The Byron Creek Sub juction is situated at Fabro. The majority of the coal trains loaded head West to Roberts Bank. Some, however head east to points in and around Minnesota, I believe. There are also some on-line coal customers. Exshaw, Alberta is one of them. The Exshaw bound trains are only 10 or so cars long. If you haven't already done so, read this post by MarkJ.  It will tell you all about this area, including the coal mines. http://forums.railfan.net/forums.cgi?board=CP;action=display;num=1113463998;start=
 
I never knew the typical train lengths, so thanks to the above poster.  
The trains (empty and loaded) are ran with two high-horsepower units, usually an AC4400 or an ES44AC as the above poster says. The power consist varies. The remote is sometimes placed at the rear, and sometimes is cut in mid-way through the train. A Cranbrook engineer I talked to said that the grades, near Caithness in particular, are tough on the units since the loads use only two units. Another engineer said that a few trains are run with three units. One up front, one in the middle, and one on the rear.
 
The coal trains proceed west to Fort Steele. This is the junction between the Windermere Subdivision and the Cranbrook Subdivision. Coal trains take the Windermere Sub to Golden, junction with the Mountain Sub. An extra unit is added for the Mountain Sub, and in turn is removed at Ducks, on the Shuswap Subdivision where the train runs, again, with only two units. The trains then run on the Cascade and Thompson Subdivisions to Roberts Bank, where the train are unloaded.  
 
I never knew the whole trip only takes 90 hours! That's pretty amazing!


« Last Edit: Mar 3rd, 2008, 12:18am by TrainMan12 » Logged
cn2220
Historian
Posts: 3101
Re: Coal train ops in western canada
 
« Reply #3 on: Mar 3rd, 2008, 3:28am »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

on Mar 3rd, 2008, 12:10am, TrainMan12 wrote:       (Click here for original message)
The trains then run on the Cascade and Thompson Subdivisions to Roberts Bank, where the train are unloaded.  
 

 
Not all of the coal trains go to Roberts Bank. Some CPR coal trains go to Neptune Terminals in North Vancouver on the CNR. CN crews get on the train at Boston Bar/North Bend and take it to North Vancouver.  


Logged

Tyler

Long live the GE`s!!!!
penn_senseless
Historian
View Profile  

Posts: 333
Re: Coal train ops in western canada
 
« Reply #4 on: Mar 3rd, 2008, 11:48am »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

thanks to all for the super responses!
 
I thought so...ops are like the eastern US tidewater lines with export coal, . I shouldve guessed about the hydro power!
 
Superb threads and photos. I have to visit here more often !


Logged
missthealcos
Historian
Posts: 630
Re: Coal train ops in western canada
 
« Reply #5 on: Mar 3rd, 2008, 1:54pm »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

Do they not also still haul coal to Ontario?

Logged
TrainMan12
Enthusiast
Posts: 47
Re: Coal train ops in western canada
 
« Reply #6 on: Mar 3rd, 2008, 5:36pm »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

Possibly... If the used to they probably still do.

Logged
Con_23
TRAINing
View Profile  

Posts: 10
CP coal circut.
 
« Reply #7 on: Mar 4th, 2008, 1:02am »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

CP Coal trains in the Kooteny to Port circut officially start in Golden, BC as empties. Golden is the safety inspection location(SIL) for these trains, they recieve a brake test, and a safety inspection, bad order cars are replaced, the power is serviced, and the train is ready to go. Steel sets leave golden with 114 or 115 cars, and aluminum sets leave with 124 cars. The latest locomotive configuration is one unit on the head end, and two mid train, departing golden.  
 
As mentioned, the train travels south to Fort Steele, then east to the mines. Once loaded, it heads west, then north back to Golden. As also mentioned a fourth unit is added to the loaded trains at Golden to help the trains up over the heavy grades at Rogers Pass on the Mountain Sub, Eagle pass (immediately west of Revelstoke) and Notch Hill on the Shuswap sub. Once over the grades the second unit in the head end consist is usually set out at Geddis, east of Kamloops BC. From there it's all river grade to the Port of Vancouver. Trains unload at Roberts Bank or Neptune, then return to Golden. By my math it's about an 1150 mile circut and as was allready said, CP's goal is to cycle them through in about 90 hours, Golden to Golden. But of course this is only a goal.
 
I believe CN's coal trains operate in a similar manner starting from Kamloops and heading northeast to load somewhere just off of the Edson Sub? But I work for CP not CN so athough we handle their trains I don't know much about them.
 
Hope my little essay doesn't step on anyone's toes.


Logged
kjohn
Moderator
Historian
Posts: 790
Re: Coal train ops in western canada
 
« Reply #8 on: Mar 9th, 2008, 11:25pm »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

I don't have any "official" input here, but I still see coal trains coming and going in eastern Saskatchewan on the CP mainline, coal east, empties west.  An engineer told me some years back that the ruling grade between Moose Jaw and Regina was around McLean.  They would have three SD40's on a coal train into Broadview, then take one off.  I saw the odd, odd train out here with a helper in the middle, but very seldom.  
 
At one time, when this coal was being taken to Ontario, Toronto reportedly wanted to send their garbage back to dump in the mountains.  Nice try!!


Logged

1st generation EMD preferred!!
Mark J
Railfan
Posts: 177
Re: Coal train ops in western canada
 
« Reply #9 on: Mar 16th, 2008, 1:42pm »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

The vast majority of our coal does go to the beach at Deltaport for asian steel markets as the coal from this region is among the cleanest in the world with its low sulfur content.  A percentage of it does go east on the CP system, there is a generating plant in Thunder Bay,  ON that does regularly take lower grade coal from us, at least I think it is still a customer of Elk Valley Coal.  Also there is a steel mill in the Chicago area that takes coal from us.  These are the  coal trains you see in the praries kjohn.
 
Coal trains from and destined for the east present some challenges at Sparwood as the the trackage is set up for westward traffic.  As such the trains need to be turned in order to head north up the Fording River sub to load at one of 4 mines along that 35 mile subdivision.  This isn't a big deal tho as all these trains have tailend remotes and all that has to be done is reverse leaders and all the appropriate tests etc which does take some time.
 
In years past there were special coal trains referred to as "blenders".  These were trains that would be half loaded at one mine then ran to another mine to finish loading.  This was done to meet the specific needs of customers but as this was a time consuming process we no longer do this as the different grades of coal are now blended at the port I believe.
 
As mentioned, the most recent power configuration is 1 + 2 midtrain.  For a while they tried 1 + 1 mid train + 1 tailend.  DPU "A" mid train and DPU "B" tailend.  There were quite a few delays associated with communication problems that prompted the company to go with just one DPU link with the two remotes together mid train.  (DPU = distributed power, on CP we call it locotrol... whatever)  For a while they ran them with only 2 units empty out of Golden with a third added at Golden once loaded for the grades on the mountain sub.  A total of 3 units west of Golden. The company had a revelation that if they powered up the coal sets by adding an extra unit in the cycle they could move the coal more fluidly with less delays and could move more coal with less sets in the circuit.  For a while they were really pushing fuel conservation but now it is accepted that the benefits of the extra unit out weighs fuel conservation.  Obviously its nicer for us as we get over the road quicker which is what they want as well.
 
Cheers
 
Mark J


« Last Edit: Mar 16th, 2008, 8:00pm by Mark J » Logged
TrainMan12
Enthusiast
Posts: 47
Re: Coal train ops in western canada
  IMG_1354E1.jpg - 127063 Bytes
« Reply #10 on: Mar 17th, 2008, 11:23pm »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

I have some pics here too.  
 
This is at Crowsnest. Train is yarded on "the main". Eastbound loads, one more AC44 DPU on the tail end. It seems to me that all of the eastbound loads use the "junky" steel bethgons. The westbound coal loads from Sparwood use the nice new aluminum bethgons. Sorry about the wires, they totally kill the scenic value of this pic.


http://Forums.Railfan.net/Images/CP/IMG_1354E1.jpg
Click Image to Resize

Logged
TrainMan12
Enthusiast
Posts: 47
Re: Coal train ops in western canada
  IMG_2252E.jpg - 140187 Bytes
« Reply #11 on: Mar 17th, 2008, 11:34pm »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

Westbound loads at mile 27 (East siding switch Hosmer). This train had two DPUs cut in mid-train.
 
PS: does anybody know how to get rid of glare like on the windshield? I tried editing it with Elements by selecting the the area and changing the levels but it just looked worse than before.
 
thanks.
 
 
 
 
Oh and another thing that I found kind of cool is the extra unit added to eastbound coal loads for the McGilivray hill. The unit (I think it's usually an SD40-2 but i've seen a few SD40-2Fs as well) is added at Sparwood. I think (I'm not positive though) it's added on the rear and MU'd to the tail-end robot. Once the coal train arrives at Crowsnest the extra unit is removed and yarded. To get the unit back down to Sparwood from Crowsnest the unit is added to any passing westbound train and in turn taken off at Sparwood. For quite a while I could never figure out why there was always an older unit sitting in the yard until a crew member explained to me that they are used for the coal trains. As an added bonus it's nice for me because they use an older unit which makes for good pics because they seem to be rare in road service out west.  


http://Forums.Railfan.net/Images/CP/IMG_2252E.jpg
Click Image to Resize

« Last Edit: Mar 19th, 2008, 1:35am by TrainMan12 » Logged
Mark J
Railfan
Posts: 177
Re: Coal train ops in western canada
  IMG_2252E-2.jpg - 144494 Bytes
« Reply #12 on: Mar 19th, 2008, 10:21pm »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

How's this?

http://Forums.Railfan.net/Images/CP/IMG_2252E-2.jpg
Click Image to Resize

Logged
TrainMan12
Enthusiast
Posts: 47
Re: Coal train ops in western canada
 
« Reply #13 on: Mar 19th, 2008, 11:58pm »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

Wow thats awesome. How did you do that?
 
Thanks, that looks great.


Logged
TrainMan12
Enthusiast
Posts: 47
Re: Coal train ops in western canada
  IMG_2681E.jpg - 131839 Bytes
« Reply #14 on: Mar 20th, 2008, 12:20am »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

Here's a pic of at train ferrying the helper back down to Sparwood. Guess which one was an ex-Holiday train leader.

http://Forums.Railfan.net/Images/CP/IMG_2681E.jpg
Click Image to Resize

« Last Edit: Mar 20th, 2008, 12:21am by TrainMan12 » Logged
Mark J
Railfan
Posts: 177
Re: Coal train ops in western canada
 
« Reply #15 on: Sep 20th, 2008, 7:30pm »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

on Mar 2nd, 2008, 8:59pm, Pyronova wrote:       (Click here for original message)
...No online coal customers...

 
Although there isn't any power plant customers out west there is a few plants which use coal around, such as the TechCominco smelter in Trail as well as a customer in Ashcroft, and the plant in Exshaw.  
 
The coal for Trail is ran as a "mini",  usually 25 cars or so of the flat bottom CP 351XXX series.  They run it as required, usually one a week, and is sometimes called out of the Cranbrook yard.  The coal for the other two customers are just a set of 10 or so cars tacked onto the headend of  a regular coal train and I assume set off in Golden.  


Logged
kjohn
Moderator
Historian
Posts: 790
Re: Coal train ops in western canada
  Gravelourg_b_x-2.jpg - 86714 Bytes
« Reply #16 on: Dec 25th, 2008, 12:41am »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

Great info and pics!!  Don't forget the ten unit trains a week that end up in Gravelbourg!!!1  Just kidding!!!!


http://Forums.Railfan.net/Images/CP/Gravelourg_b_x-2.jpg
Click Image to Resize

Logged

1st generation EMD preferred!!
JordanConrad

Posts: 32
Re: Coal train ops in western canada
 
« Reply #17 on: Dec 29th, 2008, 3:56am »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

Have they had any of the ECP trains in the circuit yet?

Logged
Mark J
Railfan
Posts: 177
Re: Coal train ops in western canada
 
« Reply #18 on: Jan 1st, 2009, 11:25pm »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

Yes, there has been one Electically Controlled Pnumatic brake (ECP) set in the export circuit since November I believe.

Logged
JordanConrad

Posts: 32
Re: Coal train ops in western canada
 
« Reply #19 on: Jan 2nd, 2009, 12:35am »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

I was reading about it and apparently with the electronic control you can have a partial release and stopping distances reportedly reduced by 30%-70%.
 
Have you actually seen it?


Logged
Pages: 1 2  ReplyReply     EMail TopicEMail Topic   PrintPrint

« Previous topic | Next topic »