Sunday, May 17, 2009

GE Potluck

With business in North Dakota again this weekend, Mrs. L4T and your humble correspondent ventured west once again Saturday AM. Sun in the forecast and a bit of free time today raised high hopes that traffic would be as heavy as it had been the previous Saturday, when poor weather and a tight schedule prevented any photo ops.

Alas, it was not to be. Having met only a Z train near Frazee, and not having a good spot to grab a photo of him, I arrived at Dilworth with the camera still in the bag. Chatter on the scanner and a headlight on the main indicated an eastbound was likely, however, and we staked out the overpass near Northern Grain to wait for a shot.

With a strong northwest wind and a temperature hovering near 40 degrees, this shot took a toll on Mr. L4T. I certainly hadn't come equipped with gloves in late May, but I could have used them as I waited for the train to arrive.

As you can see, this consist was a mix of GE products, with the GEVO units getting ever more common as time passes. All but coal trains have become almost exclusively GE powered as the recession allows BNSF to store the less efficient power in hopes of a better day. What started with stored SD40-2's has progressed to the Oakway SD60's, Green Giant SD60M's and even the warbonnet SD75's apparently having been laid up. The only EMD's left on the Staples Sub are the MACs and ACes on coal, and 4 axle power on locals.

One unusual (to me) move I noticed as we passed through Moorhead was a loaded coal train passing west through town, headed for the Hillsboro sub and I suppose ultimately Clay Boswell. Is that normal, or does coal for the Grand Forks sub normally swing north in Fargo? Seemed unusual to see coal moving west.

As we headed home in the evening, I stopped and grabbed a few shots of the Stockwood Fill, with no trains anywhere to be found. After finishing up with that, I headed for Hawley, and soon heard BNSF 6130 (I think) get a warrant for Richards Spur-Wadena. The dispatcher asked if he was one engine, and the conductor came back, no we are 6 units light power. Huh? I sped up to maximum authorized speed plus a bit, and finally spotted this consist nearing DL. I was able to just keep up, and when we made it through town I finally caught him leaving Frazee as the light gave way. This is a going away shot of the mixed bag of GE's going...somewhere.

And that's all there was to see on a long day, Wadena to Fargo to Grand Forks and back. Traffic was light, but as always, if you look long and hard enough, you will find something that surprises.

Jim, out

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