Sunday, December 1, 2013

Grain Rush

First glimpse of the string of 40 footers
on the M & M Sub.

Farmers in western Canada may have to come up with a new term for the 2013 harvest--"bumper crop" doesn’t adequately describe what’s coming off the combines.

That''s the view of the Western Producer, western Canada's agricultural newspaper.

“In my 25 years in the grain business, I’ve never seen a crop this big from corner to corner,” said Derek Squair, president of Agri-Trend Marketing Inc.

Heading past my photo location; look--a caboose!

Based on his discussions with farmers, he said that yields are almost unspeakable.

The main challenge now is getting all that crop to port--there aren't enough hopper cars or railway capacity.

Coming into Fort Frances.

Fortunately, that's not a problem on the Manitoba & Minnesota Sub. Grain on the layout is moving just fine.

And since it is always the early 1990s on my layout, some of the grain is coming off of light-rail branchlines in 40-foot boxcars.

Leaving Fort Frances; Peace River
Paper mill in the background.

When I heard a string of them was coming down the M & M Sub., I grabbed my camera and headed trackside to get the photos on this page.

Modern railways are just fine with me, but there's still something about a string of 40-food boxcars . . . .

Headed to Thunder Bay; had to use my
private helicopter for this shot!

Click here to learn more about prototype 40-foot boxcars on CP Rail, including a link to Eric Gagnon's fine Trackside Treasure blog, a link to a YouTube video of the 40-footers in action on the layout, and a bit of info about how I made my string of those cars.


  1. I had to admit I did a double take when I saw the 40-footers, but after reading the rest of the story, I think they are awesome!

  2. Build that train! Move that grain! Thanks for the tip of the hat, John. It was always fun to watch those strings of grain boxes clattering by at Portage, the occasional one with a thin but steady stream of grain leaking from the door. The railfans on the M&M Sub should be trackside to document this grain rush. M&Momentous!