Saturday, August 16, 2008

2 Hours Along the Staples Sub

I made the customary Saturday morning trek to Staples today and was greatly rewarded for the effort. BNSF showed no signs of any slowdown this morning as train action through Staples was fast and furious. With a bunch of photos to share, let's get right to the action.

The scanner and signals were eerily quiet as I left Wadena a little before 0700, with no sign of train action in any direction. I had heard an eastbound pass through town before I left, but figured I had no chance of catching it. So you can imagine my surprise when, just after leaving Aldrich, I spotted the tail end of what looked like a Z train. At the speed I was closing the train had to be stopped and sure enough I passed him before Dower Lake and pulled into the nearest crossing for a shot. Before I got in position the crossing signals started to sing their train song for another Z train, this one a westbound. I shot him backlit and waited for him to pass so I could get the stopped train.

Just a note-this picture was stamped 0712 AM in the camera. My first shot of the day. Here is the tail end of the meet with the stopped train. The employee getting on had just given the westbound a good roll-by.

The stopped Z was anxious to get underway, and the dispatcher told them they would have to wait for one more westbound. Might as well get a shot of that train as it comes through town, even though it will be backlit. Turned out to be a worm train. Here he is passing another string of BNSF grain cars in the Staples yard.

OK, now it's time to cut the Z loose. He gets crossed over to Main 2 for the run to Philbrook. I know I've spent way too much time shooting trains coming through the curves at the depot, what can I try that is new? I decided to head east of town and see what he looked like across the little lake between the Brainerd and Staples Subdivisions. There wasn't much wind, so I kind of like how it turned out.

By this time I can hear the dispatcher has that inflection in her voice that says "What the heck am I going to do with all these trains?". Not so nice for her, but I don't mind. And here comes a coal load, BNSF cars staying on the Staples Sub. Probably a Becker train.

I had heard him clear a warrant at Wadena, along with another MAC. One of them has to be for Superior, no? Why, yes. Here comes a DEEX train with a pair of Grinsteins on the point, and he just gets a warrant on the Brainerd as he rolls by the depot. I shot him out east of town.

Time stamp on that one was 0816, traffic is pretty good this morning! 8 minutes later another eastbound rolls through town. Here is a study of conventional horse versus iron horse. The gates were going down as the buggy crossed the tracks.

Here is another one, this time featuring the iron horse instead.

By this time I am almost frazzled from trying to keep track of the action. Next train up was another westbound grain train, this time with a single unit leading. Since I suspected a DPU, I waited for the shot and found that there were a pair of Dash 9's pushing. I needed to get home anyway, so why not chase him and get another different shot? Off I went to Wadena, and grabbed him going away as he rounded the curve near Bluffton.

Figuring I was done for the morning, I started for my truck, when I heard the contrasting noise of two different horns. I waited a couple of minutes and sure enough, I could hear something approaching from the west. I got my final shot of the morning at 0911.

Stats for the morning: 1 hour 59 minutes between first shot and last shot, 8 trains photographed, 1 very delicious breakfast sausage in a bun and 1 20 ounce Diet Coke from the Staples Express consumed. A great start to a fine weekend!

Jim, out.

1 comment:

John said...

A lot of action Jim! Glad you were able to take it all in and grab some photos. A busy day like that easily makes up for those days when traffic is hard to come by.