Saturday, May 30, 2009

Anniversary Saturday

One of my favorite photo locations combined with one of (what used to be) one of my favorite paint schemes offered a great start to the day our wedding anniversary. I mourn for the nose logos on the MAC's.

I had plans to head out early this morning to take advantage of the low sun angle and the beautiful weather. Mrs. L4T chose to hold off until evening on any what she calls "train hunting". The plan was to head west until I found an eastbound, then chase him back to Staples while taking advantage of any photo ops that were present along the way. My first eastbound turned out to be a vehicle train, which is a more uncommon find than it used to be, with a pair of Dash 9's up front, again increasingly rare due to the inroads of GEVO units on the BNSF fleet. Only problem was, this Dash 9 could stand an appointment with the paint booth.

But a train is a train, and a plan is a plan. I sped east and managed to try a shot at a new location for me, at the curve on the fill just east of the Leaf River bridge near Bluffton. I think this shot could work, if only I had a bucket truck or jet pack to help get some elevation.

I beat him to Staples, and shot him as he passed the yard, but I have posted enough photos of faded and peeling warbonnets for one post. So on to the next train.

After watching a westbound manifest pass the depot, I heard an eastbound clear his warrant at Wadena. The dispatcher told the crew they would be yarding that train and boarding the loaded coal train that was sitting in Staples. I decided to head to the west end of the yard and get a shot as they passed under the signal bridge.

Next shot was back at the east end after the train pulled up next to the load that had been sitting there. There appears to be something wrong with "N" on the nose logo of the ACe. The crew had to shuffle some power on the train they were taking out, and it was time for me to head for home, so off I went.

There was quite a collection of M-O-W equipment in the Staples yard on the siding by the LNG cars. The tie project must be getting close to Staples.

I spent much of the mid-day working on our screen porch, a project I have been putting off for too long. I got the old screens ripped off, scraped the areas where the paint was loose or flaking, and primed all the bare and scraped spots. Lots more work to do on that.

At some point I wandered into the house (I think it was when I changed into my painting clothes) and noticed the OMR post about the windmill train having passed Coon Creek about 12:30. I figured if I got done priming early enough, I could make a run and see if I could spot that train. I left home about 2:45 and met him between Staples and Aldrich, making good time. I turned around, gave chase, and barely got ahead of him for a shot at the Wing River.

I was glad to see that train, even if the sun was too high for a real nice photo. It was really amazing to see how much those blades flex as the train bounces and sways on the track. The windmill train had an ES44DC on each end.

After supper I took a look at the ATCS display and saw a westbound passing Philbrook. Mrs. L4T was up for a ride, and we headed east for a little train hunting. Once again I was caught in no man's land, just like I had been by the windmill train earlier in the afternoon, when the train showed up less than a minute before the detector at MP 151 sounded off. The line runs through the woods in this area and you can't really see a train coming until it is right on you. Three nice looking Dash 9's (no "Trash 9's in this consist)were the power for this train, and I decided to shoot him at the Wadena crossovers.

Our wedding anniversary proved to be a productive day for railfanning, although the morning was little light on train traffic. But I saw something I had never seen before (the windmill train) and I managed to share a ride to Aldrich with the Mrs. All in all, not a bad day!

Jim, out


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Steve said...

Happy Anniversary to you and the Mrs. Now for a question, why did that windmill blade train have a DPU at the end? Are the blade that heavy that extra horsepower was needed or is there something else behind the scenes at work.

Jim said...

Steve, I can't believe that the windmill blades are heavy enough to require a DPU for power, but both times I have seen this train (once empty and now loaded) it has had an engine on each end. My guess is that it makes for better train handling and less chance that the blades will be damaged.