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DPU technology has invaded most parts of the CN system, however, Niagara has largely been exempt from that. Great for balancing weight in trains, they are also great for lengthening consists, and killing off trains. Whether this will be the solution to CN 330 and 331's demise will be answered in the coming weeks. A couple nasty hills around St. Catharines (the infamous Jordan and Glenridge dip) and Niagara Falls have claimed dozens of knuckles over the years, and have made running large trains quite difficult. Nonetheless, this 421 was massive, and very heavy. The trip from St. Catharines took well over an hour, where as 330 was able to travel this distance in 40 minutes usually, indicating 421 was probably down to a crawl while climbing the grade into Niagara Falls. 2524 serves as the DPU as 421 rounds the curve at Po rt Robinson West. The track in the foreground is the CN Thorold Spur, and the skyline on the high right is Niagara Falls.
Copyright Notice: This image ©Daniel Odette all rights reserved.



Caption: DPU technology has invaded most parts of the CN system, however, Niagara has largely been exempt from that. Great for balancing weight in trains, they are also great for lengthening consists, and killing off trains. Whether this will be the solution to CN 330 and 331's demise will be answered in the coming weeks. A couple nasty hills around St. Catharines (the infamous Jordan and Glenridge dip) and Niagara Falls have claimed dozens of knuckles over the years, and have made running large trains quite difficult. Nonetheless, this 421 was massive, and very heavy. The trip from St. Catharines took well over an hour, where as 330 was able to travel this distance in 40 minutes usually, indicating 421 was probably down to a crawl while climbing the grade into Niagara Falls. 2524 serves as the DPU as 421 rounds the curve at Po rt Robinson West. The track in the foreground is the CN Thorold Spur, and the skyline on the high right is Niagara Falls.

Photographer:
Daniel Odette [155] (more) (contact)
Date: 04/16/2016 (search)
Railway: Canadian National (search)
Reporting Marks: CN 2524 (search)
Train Symbol: CN A42131 16 (search)
Subdivision/SNS: Mile 23.3 CN Stamford Subdivision - Port Robinson West (search)
City/Town: Port Robinson (search)
Province: Ontario (search)
Share Link: http://www.railpictures.ca/?attachment_id=24306
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Photo ID: 23157

Map courtesy of Open Street Map

Full size | Suncalc
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9 Comments
  1. 422, does not often leave Pt. Rob with more than 8,000ft. After it leaves Aldershot, its generally 11,000-12,000ft.
    Westbound trains for Sarnia are limited in train lenght to less then 10,000. They may be over 10,000 departing Mac Yrd or Aldershot, but they are restricted to less than 10,000 crossing into the US because the 4 tracks in Pt. Huron can not handle big trains and when they pull as far west as they can to Tappan, the rear of the train blocks other tracks and prevents easbounds from Pt. Huron from departing. If there is a train larger than 10,000, its usually recrewed with US crews in Canada for the trip west.

  2. Snake’s got the idea. Yeah, it wasn’t actually that long in terms of car length. From what I remembered, there were about 70 autoracks, and 20 autoparts cars. Plus 331′s 80 ft petroleum tankers. Besides a few hi-cube 60 ft boxcars, I couldn’t really spot any of 422′s mixed freight.

  3. Lately when footage is given in and around ear shot of Aldershot – the lengths seem to cap out around 11,500 – to 12,000 feet. 158 cars could contain 40 or 50 auto racks; 435 some days from Mac yard to Aldershot is 12 K; another ball buster is 399…counting the actual cars is around 170 – 190 most days, and many auto racks in there. 12K seems to be cap around here.

  4. 158 cars? that’s it? 422 and 421 have been nearly 800 axles on multiple occasions lately – in the mid 700′s.

  5. Thanks guys. Interesting. I know CN 422 last Saturday was 158 cars long, and that covered the entire distance from Canby Street to Allanburg Road (11700 feet). If just one car was added, one of the crossings would’ve been blocked. So, there are quite a few challenges facing CN with increased train lengths. I will probably be using my drone more often as it offers more photo opportunities, especially ones that aren’t backlit.

  6. Missed that, thanks for sharing though snake. Only saw the tail end of 421 passing thru Niagara Falls at 10:20 yesterday.

    Great drone shot Daniel.

  7. Daniel 421 leaving Aldershot 0825ish with Montreal commuter engine 4th (gray ) CN 2945 leader NO DPU

  8. Fingers crossed that I have never had a knuckle at Jordan or St Catherines…lol I did get one however last summer while going over the seaway and had boats waiting to get through the locks. Ouch.
    Nice drone shot Daniel, this is the first DPU train I have seen. The Pt. Robinson crews are not trained in DPU so I am wondering if they had an engine service officer with them.
    The 532 I had last week was very heavy at just over 13,000 tons and 570 was just under that.I am not sure if DPU operations are in the future for the Niagara area as the Grimbsy Sub is very flat compared with say the Kingston Sub and marshalling of these trains are not always easy. As you say. Only time will tell.

  9. I had a feeling we’d start to see DPU’s down here now.

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