CP Executive train in Albany

CP Executive train in Albany

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

CP local switching Surpass and Global

I drive through North Albany on my daily commute but rarely ever see C.P. switch the few local industries in the area. That includes the Surpass Chemicals (on the west side of the main line) and the Global Companies fuel distributors (on the east side). More about Global here.

The last time I saw any activity was a couple of months ago, but I was on my way home for a family night and didn't have time to stop and watch. The time before that was in 2020 in the morning on the way to work. I have also seen it work late at night in the past. Frankly, I don't really know what schedule it is on.

That all changed last week (9/01), when as we were driving out on a "date night" to a local food place I saw the headlights and tall cupola caboose of the local heading north in north Albany as we drove over the tracks on I-90. I said we should keep going but my wife convinced me to pull off at the nearest exit and chase it. She argued "what do we have to lose if we can't catch up?" Well, catch up we did!

When we got there I could see one guy in an orange hi-vis vest lining the switch into Surpass, and I assumed that they would be dropping off the white tank car in there.

They did back it down off the main line, but they didn't take it all the way in. They just left it. I later discovered that they were just spotting it off of the back of their train. Perhaps another train will come and push it the rest of the way into the facility at a later date. 

I had a few minutes to watch them perform the above maneuvers and counted at least four crew members (one in an orange shirt, two in yellow vests, and the engineer). Perhaps someone was a trainee. I talked with them and they said that their job signed on five days a week, though they didn't switch every industry every day. Hopefully, once I figure out my new scanner I will need to listen to know when they are working because I can drive here from my house in about 15 minutes.

I looked across the road and noticed that the security gates into the oil distribution facility were open, which meant that I would get to see TWO industries switched! I had plenty of time to figure out where I wanted to watch and take pictures. My wife showed me how to use her smartphone (which I had been using all along as I didn't bring my camera with me) to take videos and pictures at the same time. God, do I love my wife!

Here is a video of the train backing into the facility:

The track backed in and they used the loads to first couple with a string of empties and pull them out. The caboose was serving I guess as a portable bathroom (mandated on all trains) and perhaps as a shoving platform, though it was never on the end of the train. Between it and the engine was a covered hopper, which my wife correctly identified as a safety spacer car which is required when moving propane tank cars.

The train coupled to the empties.

After a few minutes (perhaps to exchange paperwork and such) it pulled the empties out and then left them down the mainline.

Here is a video of the train leaving the facility with the loads closest to the engine, and the empties behind them:

After that the security gates were left open, so I knew that they would then push the loaded cars into the facility. But, by this point I decided we could head out. We needed to get to the food store before it closed, and Harrison was still in a good mood.

On the way home about a half-hour later we drove by the area and saw the local backing slowly southbound for its return trip to Kenwood Yard. I can't recall if the white tank car was with them on the end or not, though I don't think it was.

It was a great evening overall.

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