Friday, May 16, 2008

North by Northwest

I'm not sure how many of you have had the pleasure to visit Hallock, but even for someone who has spent the great majority of his adult life in places like Baudette and International Falls, Hallock is "up north". So when duty called and I needed to be in the area for a couple of days this week, I headed out early which means well before 6 AM, and pointed the Escape west on Highway 10, then north on 59.

It seems that everytime I pass this way I am in a hurry to get somewhere. Wednesday was no different, but I still manage to keep an eye open for a CP train traversing the rolling land north of DL. I made it out of the hillier country (side note: one of my favorite train pictures was shot in that area, this one by Christopher S. Muller. I have long been jealous of catching something just right like that)before I came across any traffic. I finally spotted a CP southbound behind a pair of GE's and took a long range shot from the hiway.

The scenery is starting to get close to green, if we could ever get some warm weather.

Work for me that day started out in Stephen, after I had passed a string of MOW equipment in Euclid. Looks like the BNSF has plans to keep the Noyes line active from the amount of machinery they were preparing for the day. However, it did make me doubt that I would see much traffic that day.

So you can about imagine how surprised I was when, after lunch at the Victory Lane Cafe in Stephen, we heard a train horn and watched this unit head north:

As my lunchmates are not railfans there was a lot of speculation as to what a "trolley" car was doing on this line. I always like to expound on my railfan smarts when the opportunity presents itself, so I was happy to explain that this was a Federal Railway Administration car out doing whatever it is those guys do when they are in the far reaches of Minnesota. I got the photo at a crossing just north of town, and I shot him going away due to the sun angle. It just so happened he was headed directly away from the sun so not much chance for a photo but when you catch something like that on the Noyes line you need to take a picture. Thanks to Dave for humoring my little side trip to the north to get this shot.

My evening in Hallock, while offering a fair amount of train action. The southbound local stopped to switch the elevator and reblock his train but offered few photo ops as the clouds were out in force. I still ambled out to watch the action for awhile, though.

After more meetings the following day, a stop in Warren gave me the chance to try for another view of the switcher at Northwest Grain. The sun was little dodgy, but I got a shot of him from the head end this time.

While I was snooping around the area, I came across a couple of hoppers that had seen better days and shot them from a number of angles.

I don't know the whole story, but I do know that is stunk like rotten grain and that these two hoppers have likely hauled their last load and will go to the high speed line in the sky where the only cargo is marshmallows and all draft gear is extra cushioned.

And lo and behold, while I was shooting this what did I hear but the Northern Plains westbound? I hustled back towards the highway so i could shoot this shot of the ex-CPR SD's in charge of a long string of covered hoppers with one lone tank car in the string:

And again for good measure just west of town, because I hardly ever get the chance:

The last action of the day on the way home centered around a lone hopper on the outskirts of Ogema. I fear that this one may join those in Warren as part of the unit train to eternity:

With only a little way to go until I made it home to Wadena, I tried for a couple more shots on the Staples Sub, but only one pleased my eye at all. I caught a DAPX load headed east just outside of Perham and got a backlit shot.

And that is about all I have time to offer now. If the weather cooperates hopefully I will find some time this weekend to look around. Until then, keep looking 4 trains!


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