Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Week that Was

Work found me travelling West-Central Minnesota this week, with a couple of days spent in Randall and a day in Lake Park as well. Along with last Sunday's exploration in Detroit Lakes, I have been working the west end of the Staples Sub pretty hard.

The first photo I want to share is from Tuesday AM, when I found a short mixed freight train entering Staples yard from the west just as I was also entering Staples from the west. I stopped to take a couple of shots as he passed under the signal bridge at Dower Lake. Here is the one I like the most:

What do I see in this picture? Well, I like that it includes the station sign for Dower Lake. Also, anytime something in the picture can seem to "dwarf" the train, for some reason it appeals to me and in this shot that is what the signal bridge does. Personally, I will also remember this shot because I thought, "what in the world is the BNSF using two AC motors on a 188 axle merchandise train for?" Things like that intrigue me for some reason. Anytime I see something out of the ordinary it sticks in my mind. I know most of the people passing by on Highway 10 just notice two orange locomotives, but to me it is much more than that. Do you suppose the crew wonders about this as well, or do they just write it off to the workings of the big corporation and are thankful they got a new unit to lead in?

Wednesday I had to head back to Randall bright and early, and instead of taking County 7 to cut the corner, I heard there was a coal empty coming off the Brainerd so I followed 10 to check him out. I was glad I did, since he had to stop and wait for traffic which gave the opportunity to shoot the Distributed Power Unit on his train.

I'm not much of an artist when it comes to photography (or anything else for that matter) but I am a little proud of this photo. Once again, though, a question comes to mind. Compare it to this picture-do you notice anything unusual?

They are both DPU's-one on coal and the other on grain. In both cases the ditchlights are off. But in the most recent one, there is a FRED hung on the loco coupler and tied into the train line. On the shot from 2006, no such thing? These are the questions that keep me awake at night. It's also what keeps it fun for me to go trackside.

Anyway, sorry for the digression. We have progressed to Thursday at this point, and I am in Lake Park. Mrs L4T agreed to accompany me and she spent the day in Fargo. When I was done with my duties, she picked me up and we spent some time railfanning the area between Hawley and Lake Park. I know that is a popular fanning area but I have never spent any time there before. I was very impressed with the scenery but track work resulted in not too many trains. I found a location I like very much, up on a hill above a curve as you look east, with the Lake Park skyscrapers on the horizon. You can barely see them in this shot.

The only westbound I shot while I was there:

I told Mrs L4T that I thought we should find the owner, buy the property adjoining this location, and build a house there. She was not so sure that was a good idea. Anyway, it was a new and very appealing location and I will make another visit there someday.

A Friday evening visit to Perham for ice cream gave me the chance to stake out the curve just east of town for a little while. Just as we parked a headlight appeared well down the tracks and I had time to get ready for the approaching train. I shot him as he rounded the curve at speed.

I like the way he is leaning into the curve.

That's all for now, I am heading out to see if there is any action. Hopefully this weekend will give me time to work on part 2 of my coal car study. Thanks for reading this whole thing!


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