Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Ever seen a windmill train? We did for the first time yesterday during our automobile trip around Lake Superior. While driving along the Trans-Canadian Highway between Ripple and Coldwell, Ontario, we pulled into a wayside just above the Little Pic River Gorge, where the Canadian Pacific Ry. main line curves around a cliff just above Lake Superior and across a bridge below.
A young man listening to a scanner in a parked automobile waved and said, "The train's coming!"
It was, he said, carrying nineteen complete wind turbine assemblies from Colorado to Maine. "It's got to go the long way around to the north through Canada because clearances farther south in the U.S. are too tight for the long rotor blades," he added.
Naturally I unlimbered my camera and long lens and got ready.
Within minutes CP 8871 East rounded the curve, a General Electric ES44AC in the lead, and put on a show of one of the most unusual cargo loads I've ever seen.
The train trundles across the Little Pic River bridge, bringing the round rotor hubs into view.
Long rotor blades and generator housings follow the rotor hubs.
There is enough play in the supports at both ends of each rotor to allow the cars to negotiate a curve.
Several miles farther east, on the road at the entrance to Neys Provincial Park, we stopped for a closeup view of the train. Here come the rotor hubs on bulkhead flatcars.
Next come several flatcars bearing generator housings.
Each rotor blade spans most of two extra-long flatcars.
The photos at the Little Pic gorge were taken with a Pentax K20D and a SMC Pentax-DA 55-300mm, and those at the Neys Provincial Park with a Pentax K-5 and a Sigma DC 17-70mm at varying focal lengths and apertures.