Friday, August 15, 2008

Southern Minnesota Swing

Many of the pictures I would like to share with you this time are in my mind. I just completed a swing through the southern part of the state that had me hanging around in TCW land for a couple of days, took me through the heart of DM&E country, across the Uncle Pete (twice), and provided an evening along Lake Pepin. Great trainwatching opportunties. However, did I mention that any train I saw was preceded by a cloud that seemed to travel along with it, that I had a bad back, and that road construction season is in full swing here in Minnesota. Oh by the way, my back was acting up as well. And the *$%&# clouds just wouldn't leave me alone whenever a train was anywhere nearby.

Even with all of this to deal with, your intrepid correspondent still managed to grab a few photos that, given the lack of competition this week, have been judged worthy of the electrons spent to post them. Interestingly, all of the shots from this week, spanning four railroads, two great river valleys, and two states, were shot within a span of about 5 hours. I sucked it up and gave it the old college try on Wednesday evening, plotting a course that would take me through New Ulm, Mankato, Faribault, Lake City, Wabasha, Bay City, WI, and Red Wing, to maximize opportunties. I spotted 6 trains on the move, a few engines at rest, and one bald eagle. Now that I have spent sufficient time whining, on to the photos.

The Hanska Farmers Elevator in New Ulm provided my first opportunity, with ex SOO GP9's 123 and 124 at rest as I passed by. I swung in a grabbed some "unique" angles with the hope that the overcast skies would be less obvious. The first one was meant to show off the consecutive numbers on these units.

A second shot shows off the roof mounted air tanks with the Eagle Roller Mill Company power plant in the background.

Someone needs to make a model of this building. It seems like the ideal prototype for a layout set anytime from the 1920's on. Just a neat looking building with a sign that shows the owners were proud to claim it.

Next up was a quick stop in Mankato. I need some help identifying this contraption which was sitting where I have previously photographed a Pro Rail switcher. Any ideas what this is called?

I apoligize for the poor angle, my spine was protesting any further movement to try and take a better photo, especially in the poor light present.

Next up in this march of mediocre photos is a shot of the CP along the Mississippi River south of Lake City. While a lot of the line was a bit tough to see, in this location it opened up nicely for a shot from the Highway. I was in no condition to go bushwacking, so I set up here for a few minutes and was rewarded with a CP stack train southbound behind a SOO SD60.

There are some GREAT photo opportunties in this area, and I plan on returning when I can. Both sides of the river have nice locations, and they are a huge change from the prairie around Wadena. The next shot I have to offer up is from Bay City, WI, marking the second week in a row that I have shot train pix out of state. Wow, a world traveller.

It wouldn't have made the grade except for being out of state, but I said earlier the pickings were pretty thin this week. At the time that train showed up I had been hoping for a southbound coming round this bend. An ACe roaring out of the gloom would have been cool.

And that's all I have to offer for this week. My next stop was at the Kwik-Trip in Red Wing, where I enjoyed a Polish off the roller grill for supper and headed for my motel. I have to say, that store has a fighting chance to make my future Top 6 list of Minnesota Convenience Stores. But that is for another day.

Jim, out.

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