La Belle Province, the nickname of Quebec, was and is one hell of a place to railfan. With killer scenery, a unique culture and some of the most diverse rail action anywhere (What other place has commuter and intercity passenger trains, heavy haul ore roads, mainlines, shortlines, electrics, EMDs, Alcos, GEs..... you get the idea) Quebec is a great place to spend sometime. And back in the early part of this decade, specifically from 2000 to 2002, you couldn't afford not too with an exchange rate that favored the American dollar. Not to mention attractions like the Cartier Railway, then an all-Alco operation, and the Chaleur Bay Railway with their copper train running along the coast of the Gaspe Peninsula.
Six years later, although it's allot more expensive with a lousy exchange rate, a trip north of the border is still well worth it. So grab a map of Quebec and plan your own trip north as you look a few images from 'La Belle Province.'
Dawn at New Richmond: With a pair of New Brunswick East Coast RS18s, of CP Rail heritage,a Chaleur Bay Railway crew switch the paper mill at New Richmond, Quebec in September, 2000. The mill closed in 2005, one of the last regular shippers on the line.
Rocky coast, rocky future: The as-needed Gaspe copper train crosses the bridge at St. Therese-de-Gaspe along the coast of Quebec. Today the only train to polish these rails is VIA Rail's Chaleur.
Stainless Steel Sunset: Today the only train on the Gaspe line is VIA Rails Chaleur which has changed little since this September, 2000 view. With VIAs Ocean now made up with new European equipment, VIAs 16 and 17 are the last traditional passenger trains in the east.
Fall In Quebec: If there is anytime to go to Quebec, its October, when the Fall foliage is at its best. One of the best places to get foliage and rail action is Canadian National's Pellitier Sub. An eastbound stack train crosses the Boucanee Trestle near Estcourt, Quebec.
The Big Show: If there was one place to be in the early 2000s it would have been the Cartier. An ore road on the north shore of the Saint Lawrence River the Cartier was an all Alco road until 2002. Here we see the southbound Log Train at Milepost 49, in the remote north woods of Quebec. June 2002.
Days Away: After two great trips in June and October 2001, I didn't think I'd make it back to the Cartier before the new GE AC4400s arrived the following year. I was wrong. With the new units just days away from arriving on the road, we made one more trek north. This image of a northbound ore train, seen at milepost 31, would be one of my last of the Cartier as an all Alco railroad. June 2002.
As time goes on I hope to scan more images from my trips to Gaspe and Cartier, in other words, To Be Countinued.......