Sunday, August 24, 2008

Ian in Staples

As you probably already know from Ian's post, he and I met up for the first time in Staples on Sunday August 17. I am always excited by the prospect of meeting a fellow railfan in person, and this was no different. Mrs. L4T finds it humorous that I get worked up about the chance to get together with other railfans, but as always concerning this hobby, she is unfailingly gracious about it.

Having decided to get together abour 0700 at the Staples depot, I left Wadena with a few minutes to spare, and soon met a westbound grain train behind four GE's. Hoping this was a good omen, I continued on to Staples and found another grain train with similar power passing through the yard just as I got into town. I stopped for a quick backlit shot.

I beat Ian to the depot by a few minutes, but as he has already described, he brought a train with him from the east. Before we could even get acquainted we were both shooting photos of the westbound coal empty he had chased from Baxter as it passed by an eastbound Z train very near the depot. Here's my take on this meet-the unit on the right is the DPU for the coal empty, as you can tell from the FRED strapped onto the coupler.

The next train we caught was a Becker empty headed back to the mines for a reload. I took advantage of this train to satisfy one of my personal quirks-when I have the chance, I try and get a shot of other people fanning. Here's Ian just after he shot the power on this westbound train.

That proved to be the last action of the day for me, as trains were a little scarce this Sunday morning. As I'm prone to do when train action is sporadic, I pointed my camera toward other "targets of opportunity" during the slack time. The pigeons that are slowly making the Staples depot one of the top coops in the state proved to be just such a target this day.

Staples pigeons always look healthy-they must prosper on a diet of spilled grain around the yard and main. Photos don't do the colorful plumage on the birds justice. They still are a poor stand-in for trains, though.

As I needed to get back to Wadena, I bid Ian farewell and told him I expected traffic to pick up once I left, but I guess I was wrong. Anyway, even with fewer trains than we would have liked, it was still an enjoyable time and I hope to have a chance to get together again soon.

Thanks for getting together, Ian.

Jim, out.

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