Thursday, June 11, 2009


I think it was John Denver who sang about sunshine on his shoulders making him happy. For me it is more like sunshine on BNSF's locos makes me happy. And Thursday I finally got a bit of that.

The morning started out with an early trip to Randall for work. The sun was out and a coal train was posing in the Staples yard, creating a combination that was too good to pass up. I grabbed this shot to capture the scene.

I spent most of the day in Randall, either outside along the tracks or trapped in meetings that let me see and hear the trains passing by but with no chance to attempt photos. Since the sun was almost directly overhead for much of the day I guess that was no loss. Street construction had a BNSF section employee on site in Randall and I got a chance to talk with him for a moment. The most interesting tidbits were that the ongoing tie replacement project on the Staples Sub comes at a high price-the total cost for each tie replaced is in the $45 neighborhood. That adds up to a LOT of money. Second, his impression was that traffic is down a bit, and that the change in traffic seems to lag the economy. This means that even as the economy recovers, any increase in train frequency will likely be a few months behind that improvement. Not scientific, just a working man's observation, but it seems the economists haven't been the most accurate when predicting what is going to happen so this probably has as much credibility as anything.

One interesting sighting was a two car business train, with the trailing car being "Skagit River", passing through Randall eastbound Thursday afternoon. Again, no photos as my camera was in the car, and the train was there and gone so fast I had no chance to retrieve it.

I arrived home to company, and after they left I asked Mrs. L4T if she was interested in going out for supper. Of course she was willing so we headed uptown with camera in hand. When I crossed the tracks an empty coal train was crossing from Main 2 to 1. I ran to CR 75 west of Wadena to catch him and I really liked the sky in the shot.

Next we headed for Staples. There was a train changing crews at the CR 9 crossing near Aldrich, and I shot him just as he started to pull. Probably should have changed lenses to try a wide angle.

After getting some "to-go" vittles at the DQ, we headed to the west end of the yard to shoot what I think is a rail welding train. Here are a couple of shots of this contraption, complete with a set of cascade green power, including an SD (40 or 39 or something) in the consist.

Soon Mrs. L4T spotted a headlight approaching from the east and I decided to backtrack towards Wadena to get in a spot where the light was less head on. I settled for a crossing just east of Oink Joint Road for this shot.

With that we aimed for home so I could take a look at what I had captured. Not too bad an evening, as we were able to see some trains and share a ride and a meal. Another fine day along Central Minnesota's iron highway, the Staples Sub.


1 comment:

Steve said...

DQ and trains, what could be better...