Saturday, February 28, 2009

Staples, where SD70's go to Rest

The last day of February 2009 (my goodness, is the year 1/6th gone already?) dawned clear and cold, with this week's fresh coat of snow bright and shiny. Seemed like as good a reason as any to try a little railfanning.

Since I wasn't sure what the traffic levels would be, and the sun is getting around far enough to make Staples a better photo location than in the dead of winter, I decided to head east and check out the Staples yard. As I arrived at Dower Lake, I could see three MAC's parked in the yard, 2 coupled together and 1 alone. There was also an ACe on the rear of a loaded coal train. The MAC's were in the orange scheme.

After taking a look at the east end of the yard, I decided to shoot the power there. Two loaded coal trains were side by side, with a third farther down in the yard. The first load had an ACe up front, trailed by a Grinstein MAC, and the second train had a pair of the cream and green units up front.

The scanner indicated an eastbound that had just cleared MP 203, near Frazee (the dispatcher had him rolling up his warrant for some reason) and with only a westbound that had passed earlier for traffic, I decided to try a shot of the power on the west end. Not wanting to cross the tracks I walked in from the south to shoot first the coupled pair of MAC's:

And then a unit I have shot before, the highest numbered loco in the BNSF fleet, 9999, taking a break along with a bunch of other MACs in the Staples yard:

Soon the eastbound cleared up his warrant at Wadena, and I decided to shoot him from the 6th Street crossing. Turns out it was a coal load for Superior with another pair of Exec painted MAC's up front, and one more pushing. That makes 11 various SD70 types in Staples at one time on this February morning.

I was pleasantly surprised when the "whale" car rolled by about a quarter of the way back in this train. This is the first time I have seen it live, although photos by Chris and Dave Schauer have certainly raised my interest.

Since the train had slowed way down passing through Staples, I had no problem getting to a spot where I could shoot the shady side of the car as well.

And I decided to run up a little further and grab another wedgie of the front end power near Motley.

All in all, it was a day for SD70 fans to rejoice. And just like any day railfanning, I came home with not only photos but memories as well.

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