Friday, February 24, 2012

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Any serious Canadian railfan knows that this photo was taken at Morant’s Curve. The area was named after famed CPR photographer Nicholas Morant, who took pictures of that railway’s trains from 1929-81. He like taking photos at this location near Banff, Alberta so much that it was named after him.

So there’s your first clue; the answer should be easy to guess. That’s a CN train on CPR tracks at Morant’s Curve!

I don’t know how often this has ever happened, but Grant Bailey was lucky enough to catch it on July 7, 1996. He was driving through Field, B.C. when he spotted an eastbound CN freight train leaving the yard.

Says Grant: “Obviously, CN had some sort of problem because they were detouring trains over the CP. Now this would warrant a stop at Morant's curve, the famous viewpoint between Banff and Lake Louise where world-renowned company photographer Nicholas Morant captured so many breathtaking images of CP trains snaking their way through the 'S' curves along the Bow River.”

After a brief wait, the CN train appeared around the corner and he got the photo.

What is Morant's Curve supposed to look like? Like this:


Or this:

But maybe not this!


(On the other hand, this mirror image sort of looks like a Valentine; it might make a great gift for that special someone in your life.)
Morant's Mirror photo courtesy of Rob Berdan of


  1. Just wondering why there's a CP unit in that otherwise-CN power consist, John?

    I can think of three instances in which CP detoured Montreal-Toronto trains over CN's Kingston Sub, and I'll be posting photos of these to Trackside Treasure.

    Sure makes railfanning more unpredictable. Thanks for sharing,

  2. I wondered that, too. I asked the photographer if he knew; we'll see if he has an answer.

  3. I'm guessing that "CP" unit is one of the Ontario Hydro SD40-2s that were bought for powering the Thunder Bay coal trains. When the contract was moved to CN the power and the CPHX cars went as well. I think you can still see the cars occasionally on CN. Under all the coal dust the Multimarks are still there.

    Some of the SD40-2s went back to CP after being on CN.