Sunday, May 17, 2009

Another Sunday Night in Staples

Seeing how Sunday night is "date night" in the L4T household, we are always discussing where to go for supper that evening. Strangely enough, the destinations almost always turn out to be somewhere along the Highway 10/BNSF corridor through central Minnesota. This last Sunday night was no different.

Since we had been hitting the DQ circuit pretty hard, Mrs. L4T hinted that a different atmosphere might be appreciated. Not wanting to risk my reputation as a gentleman, I graciously agreed. And so it came to pass that we headed for The Spot in Staples on this glorious May evening.

As we approached Staples, I spotted a headlight in a location that usually indicates a westbound is coming out of the yard. Sure enough, another string of GE's was easing an H train out past the signal bridge on Main 2, so I swung into the Dower Lake crossing to grab a photo.

Before they made the crossing, they stopped and radio chatter indicated they might be dropping cars in the yard. Given that they would be working for a while, we headed to The Spot and enjoyed a sit-down supper in view of the Staples Sub. Not a train passed while we ate.

When we finished, the H train was still at the west end of the yard, having set out two Dash 9's in the yard. In a moment, a coal empty off the Brainerd called asking to enter the Staples Sub. The dispatcher told him to wait for the H train to leave, while at the same time an eastbound was approaching on Main 2. I ran out to the west end of the yard to grab a shot of the coal loads as they passed the waiting manifest. This Superior bound train then stopped in front of the depot to wait for the empty to make room for him on the single track Brainerd Sub.

As the manifest got underway, I headed back to the 6th Street crossing and set up to shoot the empty as he swung onto the Staples. Finally, some EMD's to break the monotony of the GE parade I had been stuck on, with the exception of the ACe third out on the loaded train. These MAC's had obviously seen serious duty and could stand a trip to the wash rack.

While all this was transpiring, I heard another train clear a warrant at Wadena and decided to try and find a spot where an eastbound might have some light on it. The county road out south of Staples offers a view of the tracks across some muskeg, and I decided to try a long distance profile. It's a real long ways, and this is a spot where a 300 mm lens might offer some help. But heh, it's a different view, and a somewhat lit up eastbound in the evening. Not all bad.

A final note: when I passed the depot in Staples, I noticed there were two bucket lifts and a carry-all type vehicle parked just east of the building. It made me suspect that the long-rumored roof replacement project might just be close to happening. I'll keep an eye on things when I get the chance to pass through and update you on any Staples depot progress.

Jim, out

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