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The weather forecast in Saskatoon was calling for clouds, so I decided to go for a drive north. I'd shot so many trains on this trip that I wasn't shooting any in cloudy conditions unless it was something extraordinary (like a shortline or a CN barn on a branchline). The drive north on this day had a few motivations: 1) something to do on a dreary day in Saskatoon 2) I've never seen a moose, and thought I might as well go try (saw about a million deer, no moose though); 3) head through Prince Albert and maybe bump into the Carlton Trail Railway; 4) keep heading northeast and check out the bridge in Nipawin and at the very least drive across it, as I have been fascinated by it for some time now. I got to Prince Albert pretty early, but nothing was happening for Carlton Trail. I kept heading onward towards Choiceland, home of the Torch River Rail, and noticed it was actually quite sunny out (was told it was indeed cloudy in Saskatoon all day). When I got to Choiceland I pulled off the highway to hopefully grab a shot of Torch River's power. No sooner when I pulled up did I see the headlights of a GMD-1, pulling ahead at the elevator to head east. I scrambled, got my camera, got in position for some shots, and the chase was on - seeing a moose would have to wait. I followed them from Choiceland to towns along the former CP White Fox Subdivision such as Garrick, Love, and White Fox as they headed towards Nipawin to set off the hoppers in the CP yard. The chase was in sun the entire way, much to my delight, and they moved so slowly I had a chance to scope a shot at every crossing. I was selective in where I chose to shoot, but at the end of the day I still came away with 7 or 8 shots that I would be thrilled to be posting here in any other circumstance. Anyone familiar with this line knows that the bridge in Nipawin, known as the Crooked Bridge, is the shot however, so for now, this is the one I will share. Here, you see 1432 and a string of 25 hoppers heading across the bridge into Nipawin. Below the rails is a single lane for vehicular traffic, controlled by stoplights on either end. It was a thrill to drive across the bridge, and even more of a thrill to shoot a train on it. From what I have read online, this is an interesting little shortline that has been a success for farmers in the area. This was easily the best chase of my railfanning days to date - a lone GMD-1 on a prairie branchline hauling 25 hoppers for the local farmers, and then to get the cherry on top with this iconic bridge. Of the two rails I checked along the way, one was dated 1909 and the other 1938. I am not sure how often Torch River runs, but I was told my some people more local that it isn't all that often. So to have lucked out like this is truly exceptional, though they do run more often than the four trains reported by Matt Watson that CP ran in 2007 before selling the line to the Torch River.
Copyright Notice: This image ©James Knott all rights reserved.



Caption: The weather forecast in Saskatoon was calling for clouds, so I decided to go for a drive north. I'd shot so many trains on this trip that I wasn't shooting any in cloudy conditions unless it was something extraordinary (like a shortline or a CN barn on a branchline). The drive north on this day had a few motivations: 1) something to do on a dreary day in Saskatoon 2) I've never seen a moose, and thought I might as well go try (saw about a million deer, no moose though); 3) head through Prince Albert and maybe bump into the Carlton Trail Railway; 4) keep heading northeast and check out the bridge in Nipawin and at the very least drive across it, as I have been fascinated by it for some time now.

I got to Prince Albert pretty early, but nothing was happening for Carlton Trail. I kept heading onward towards Choiceland, home of the Torch River Rail, and noticed it was actually quite sunny out (was told it was indeed cloudy in Saskatoon all day). When I got to Choiceland I pulled off the highway to hopefully grab a shot of Torch River's power. No sooner when I pulled up did I see the headlights of a GMD-1, pulling ahead at the elevator to head east. I scrambled, got my camera, got in position for some shots, and the chase was on - seeing a moose would have to wait. I followed them from Choiceland to towns along the former CP White Fox Subdivision such as Garrick, Love, and White Fox as they headed towards Nipawin to set off the hoppers in the CP yard.

The chase was in sun the entire way, much to my delight, and they moved so slowly I had a chance to scope a shot at every crossing. I was selective in where I chose to shoot, but at the end of the day I still came away with 7 or 8 shots that I would be thrilled to be posting here in any other circumstance. Anyone familiar with this line knows that the bridge in Nipawin, known as the Crooked Bridge, is the shot however, so for now, this is the one I will share. Here, you see 1432 and a string of 25 hoppers heading across the bridge into Nipawin. Below the rails is a single lane for vehicular traffic, controlled by stoplights on either end. It was a thrill to drive across the bridge, and even more of a thrill to shoot a train on it.

From what I have read online, this is an interesting little shortline that has been a success for farmers in the area. This was easily the best chase of my railfanning days to date - a lone GMD-1 on a prairie branchline hauling 25 hoppers for the local farmers, and then to get the cherry on top with this iconic bridge. Of the two rails I checked along the way, one was dated 1909 and the other 1938.

I am not sure how often Torch River runs, but I was told my some people more local that it isn't all that often. So to have lucked out like this is truly exceptional, though they do run more often than the four trains reported by Matt Watson that CP ran in 2007 before selling the line to the Torch River.

Photographer:
James Knott [237] (more) (contact)
Date: 08/30/2019 (search)
Railway: Torch River Rail (search)
Reporting Marks: 1432 (search)
Train Symbol: Not Provided
Subdivision/SNS: White Fox Sub (search)
City/Town: Nipawin (search)
Province: Saskatchewan (search)
Share Link: http://www.railpictures.ca/?attachment_id=38756
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12 Comments
  1. Thanks everyone. And thanks for the additional info, Matt. That does sound like a nuisance for CP.

  2. Wow, everything about this shot is wonderful!

  3. Perseverance pays off !!

  4. Great catch for sure !

    While they do run way more often than CP did, they sometimes still go weeks between runs. So I’d say you had the horse shoe with you for this one.

    When CP ran the line it was with crews and power from Sutherland (Saskatoon), while the train to Nipawin that would bring the cars and power up would use Wynyard crews and power. So there were more logistics and I don’t think CP really cared too much about it.

  5. Bammmmm

  6. You lucky….! Fantastic capture of (as I know it), an infrequently used line. This shot is on my bucket list. Good job driving through the countryside and coming across a set of headlights meandering down a rusty right of way. Well done!

  7. Thanks both.

    Steve, your comment about the patch on the nose reminded me of something. I saw no actual reporting marks on the unit, other than simply 1432. Older shots of it show RIMX spray painted on the side, but that’s no longer there.

  8. Fantastic shot!

  9. Excellent work. I was thinking initially.. CN??? but the patch on the nose and your caption certainly corrects that thought!

  10. Thanks guys. Larry, I was thinking the same about the number of hoppers and how well that fit the shot.. Everything fell into place seamlessly, including that. As you can see in this shot too the clouds were rolling in up here by this point too, but fortunately the sun was unobstructed in the moments they were on the bridge and when they were pulling into the CP yard. Was fully clouded over for their return trip (which I did not stick around for) and even started raining at one point.

  11. Very awesome!
    Right number of hoppers for this scene. :-)

  12. Love this shot!
    I always wanted to visit that bridge when I was out there years ago.

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