Saturday, July 5, 2008

A Chase on the Brainerd Sub

Greetings again from L4T headquarters here in Wadena. This past week found me scurrying about Northern Minnesota with barely a moment to stop and spend any time railfanning until Wednesday afternoon on my journey back to Wadena. I spent most of Tuesday up in the Bagley area with no opportunities to get trackside, then headed east for Grand Rapids to spend the night before continuing on to Virginia.

When I arrived in Virginia Wednesday morning I took a spin by the DWP yard to see if anything interesting was out and I came across a few of these "Mega Log Haulers". I grabbed a quick shot as this is something I have not seen before and who knows when I might see it again. As long as I was there I also photographed some of the conventional log cars that were in the train as well.

Upon completion of my meeting that day, we took lunch at the restaurant nest to the tracks in this area. I can't remember the name of it but it used to be called the Northern Lights. During lunch my companions took great delight in my phoaming as an empty Minorca limestone train passed behind a Maroon DMIR unit trailed by a noodle. I just didn't have time to get outside and limber up the camera but the image is seared in my mind!

I elected to swing by Iron Jct on my way back to Wadena, but no traffic was moving and I heard the dispatcher giving track and time to MOW people so I continued on toward home. About the time I reached Aitkin I heard a coal empty get a warrant to continue west all the way to Staples. He was about 20 miles behind me so I waited for him to show up between Aitkin and Deerwood. I shot him first at an S-curve, then in the cut as he approached Deerwood.

He was making about 48 mph as he called out signals approaching stations, and I thought I might be able to make it to the bridge in Brainerd in time for a shot. As I entered town, I saw the crossing gates begin to flash. Luckily I made all green lights, and pulled over on the street just east of the 210 bridge. A mad dash out onto the bridge got me there just as the SD70MAC rolled across the bridge. I fired off a magazine of shots and this is the one I liked the best:

Interesingly, there was no DPU on this train. I continued west and arrived at Motley just as he crossed the highway, and headed on home to Wadena without pestering this poor train anymore. There were no targets of opportunity in Staples and I made it home with no further stops.

Not a lot of action this week, but I did get a train in a couple of new (for me) locations, and that makes it a success!


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