Railfan The Scenic North Shore of Lake Superior
Come up to the North of Superior Tourism region on a 7 day railfan adventure and take some breathtaking scenic photos like the ones seen here of the Canadian Pacific Railway as it makes its along the rugged shores of Lake Superior. The scenic north shore of superior has been featured by Railfan and Railroad Magazine in their November 2008 Issue
and by Rail Innovations in their Superior Railroading
2 disk DVD collection which includes “CP Rail North of Superior” and “A Superior Winter” dvd’s.
If you are interested in the opportunity to get some amazing scenic shots along this route like Railfan and Railroad Magazine and Rail Innovations have than follow the suggested itinerary provided below.
Note:*Suggested here is a week long trip along the Northshore but depending on the amout of time you have this itenerary can either be condensed into a weekend or expanded into 7+ day trip*
Day 1- Arrive Thunder Bay by plane or car and railfan around the City of Thunder Bay at various locations. The City of Thunder Bay is home to both the Canadian Pacific Railway(CPR) and Canadian National Railway(CN), CPR being the busier of the two railways with approx 14 daily scheduled freights plus various grain, coal and potash trains that terminate in Thunder Bay and than head back out west empty. CNR has 2 daily scheduled freights plus additional grain, coal and potash trains. In addition to all of these scheduled freights there are also various yard assignments moving in and around the city serving the various industries (grain elevators, paper mill, etc). With all of these freight and yard movements there is never a dull moment in the Thunder Bay area the trick is being in the right place to catch it all. There is no central location in Thunder Bay where you can see all the action rather there are several different locations to view the action from. These include:
1. Current River- which has two active grain elevators and CP’s Nipigon Subdivision Mainline.
2. Marina Park- which has the Old CN Fort William Station and a great view of CP’s Nipigon Sub as it passes the old town of Port Arthur
3. Central Ave Overpass- the location of a diamond between CP’s Nipigon subdivision and CN Kashabowie subdivision. It is also the location of CN’s Port Arthur Yard. Heading down Central ave towards Lake Superior is also the old Iron ore dock and the Intercity grain elevators.
4. Hadistry St- follows right beside CP’s Nipigon Subdivision and is right across from CPR’s E yard and shops.
5. CPR’s Fort William Station- is the crew change point for trains passing through Thunder Bay. It is also the location that yard power sits between assignments. Located close to CPR’s Fort William Station is also Kaministiquia River Heritage Park which hosts a VIA railway F unit as well as 3 VIA rail passenger coaches. Across the River from the Kaministiqua River Heritage park are two railway lift bridges located along the line into Thunder Bay Terminals Limited where CPR potash and coal trains are dumped as well as CNR coal trains
6. Westfort Yard Pedestrian Bridge- a steel pedestrian bridge that makes it way across the west end of CPR’s massive Westfort Yard and CPR’s Kaministiquia Subdivision. Yard power is also located here between assignments
7. James St Swing Bridge- not far from the Westfort pedestrian bridge is the James St swing bridge which is both a road and rail swing bridge used by both CP and CN yard movements heading to Cargill and Mission Terminals elevators and the Bowater Sawmill. CN potash trains also use this bridge when heading over to the Valley Camp dumping shed.
8. Neebing Ave- Traveling along Neebing Ave one can see an over under between CN’s Kashabowie Subdivision and CPR’s Kaministiquia subdivision, the massive Bowater Sawmill(serviced by CPR 2 times daily), Bombardier which builds new passenger coaches and CN mission spur which sees CN coal and potash trains as well as locals.
Photo’s from all of these locations and more can be seen at:
With all of these locations spend the whole first day and part of the second in the Thunder Bay area so that you can visit all of these spots. If you wish to spend a couple days in the Thunder Bay area and then follow this suggested itinerary as you please.
While touring around the Thunder Bay area stop in at Tom Thumb Hobbies
to pick up your railfan magazines and model railway cars/accessories. Also be sure check out the railway display at Founders Museum & Pioneer Village
. After touring around the City for the day catching all the action spend the night and the track and Lakeside Prince Arthur Hotel
a world-famous CNR Hotel built in 1911 located along Thunder Bay’s waterfront Be sure to request a Lakeside room so that you don’t miss a second of the action on CP’s Nipigon Sub.
Day 2- Wake up early to catch Thunder Bay’s usual morning rush of traffic. After catching the morning rush make your way east on HWY 11/17 to get some breathtaking shots along CP’s Nipigon and Heron Bay Subdivisions. As you make your way along HWY 11/17 towards Red Rock there are various side roads that take you into the tracks but here I will suggest ones that offer the best photo opportunities.
1) Mackenzie Station Road. Make a left off of HWY 11/17 and a quick drive down this road will bring you to the east end of Mackenzie Siding which provides a good shot of east bounds in the morning as they make their way through the thick Northern Ontario forest. This is also a good location in the afternoon for westbounds.
2) West Loon and East Loon Rd- Make a left off HWY 11/17 and a quick drive down these roads will take into Loon Siding or to station name sign loon. Pictures from loon can be seen at the link below
3) Black Sturgeon River Trestle- Turn right off HWY 11/17 onto Everard Rd. A short drive down this dirt road will bring you to CP’s Nipigon Subdivision. Cross the tracks and turn left immediately and you will pull into an open area between CP’s Nipigon Sub and CN’s abandoned and ripped up Kinghorn Subdivision. Just beyond the open area both railways have rod iron bridges that traverse the Black Sturgeon River.
Again a great a spot for eastbounds in the summer early morning hours and then good for westbounds for the rest of the day.
4) The next scenic location and final location of the day is located in Red Rock. Turn right off HWY 11/17 and make your way into the town of Red Rock. The road into Red Rock will bring you up along side CP’s Nipigon Subdivision and than will cross it as you head into the town of Red Rock. Just before crossing the tracks is the Red Rock to Nipigon Hiking Trail
. If you decide to hike along this trail there are some breath taking vista from which you can shoot CP trains as they make there way along the Nipigon River.
After getting some great shots along the Nipigon River hike back out to your car and make the short drive to the beautiful Red Rock Inn
eat dinner and spend the night here. On your way towards the Red Rock Inn you will cross over CN’s abandoned and ripped up Kinghorn Subdivision. Redrock was home to a large paper mill that CN serviced and as such CN had a yard and spur into the plant which has now all been removed.
Day 3- Wake up a make your way to the Red Rock Marina to get shots across the Nipigon River of CP freights as they make there way along the Nipigon River. Then head back out to HWY 11/17 and turn right to head towards the town of Nipigon. Drive into the town of Nipigon itself to shoot trains passing through town. Also make your way to the massive Nipigon River Bridge where CP’s Nipigon Subdivision traverses the Nipigon River and CN’s abandoned Kinghorn Subdivision.
Shooting here is good in both directions, morning till afternoon and then the evening is good for west bounds from the HWY side of the bridge. After or during spending time in the Nipigon Area make your way to the Kama Cliffs picnic area located approx 15 minutes from Nipigon. You will notice you are approaching the Kama Cliffs area as the HWY will climb up a massive cliff side. At the top of this cliff side on your right is a sign for a picnic area. Pull into the picnic area park your car and walk towards the fence. From up on top of Kama Cliff you will see a spectacular view of Lake Superior and down to your right you will see CP’s Nipigon Sub making its way though the forest and along the shores of Kama Bay.
After getting shots at Nipigon and Kama Bay head towards the town of Rossport getting some other spectacular shots along the way. Spend the night at the trackside Rossport Inn
so that you don’t miss a second of the action. Pictures from the Rossport area can be seen at the link below.
Day 4- After spending the night watching freights chug past your hotel room window. Continue your trek westwards to the crew change point of Schreiber, Ontario. Upon arriving Schreiber make your way to the depot to see if anything is around. Pictures from the Schreiber Area can be seen below
If nothing is close head to the Schreiber Railway Museum where a CP MLW S-3 sits restored along with other restored railway equipment.
After spending sometime in Schreiber make the short drive to the town of Terrace Bay. Pictures from Terrace Bay can be seen at the link below.
Drive through the town and just as you are about to head out of town make a left onto Station Rd. Follow this road down to the east siding switch Terrace Bay and where the Terrace Bay Paper Mill yard is located. If you are interesting in driving in towards the mill to catch their switcher make a left back onto the HWY andafter crossing over CP’s Heron Bay Sub turn left onto Mill Rd.
After spending some time in the Terrace Bay area head towards Neys Provincial Park located just outside of Marathon Ontario and stay at the railfans dream campground! Before heading out on this railfan adventure I would suggest booking a lakeside campsite through Neys online booking system. If those sites are all ready reserved try sites located close to the Little Pic River boat lunch area.
Amazing pictures from the Neys Area can be seen at the link below.
Day 5- Spend the day at Neys getting shots of trains from the beach and trains going over the Little Pic River Bridge. Also be sure to make your to the Little Pic River Picnic Area located just off the HWY by the Little Pic River Highway Bridge to get morning shots of eastbounds snaking they way through Neys.
On this day around the Neys area also be sure to head into the wonderful little town of Marathon. Shots from the Marathon area can be seen at the link below.
Day 6- After spending your second amazing night at Neys Provincial Park take a drive to White River another crew change point on the CP main line and the termination point of VIA Rail's Lake Superior Budd Car Service. White River is also home to a railway museam which includes a restoredstation, CPR caboose as well as other railway artifacts. Pictures for the White River area can be seen at the link below.
http://www.railpictures.net/showphotos.php?city=White River&country=Ontario, Canada
After getting some amazing shots around the White River Area spend the night at the White River Motel.
Day 7-Wake up after an enjoyable stay at the White River Motel head to the White River Station to see what is around and then make your way back to Thunder Bay stopping the various scenic locations you missed getting shots at or want more of!
Go on your scenic north shore of superior railfan adventure today and take some breath taking shots that will captivate you for a lifetime and keep you wanting more. For more information about this itinerary visit or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
* A note to railfans if you are equipped the North Shore is completely ATCS compatible. As well for a list of scanner frequencies required and detailed information about each subdivision be sure to pick up a Canadian Trackside Guide at Tom Thumb Hobbies in Thunder Bay or from