Saturday, June 6, 2009

Manitoba Junction

Friday morning found me bound for Hawley, with at least a half-day's work to complete before I could think about coming home. Turned out I worked in Hawley until almost 2:00 and it was a lucky thing I did.

When I was leaving town I noticed a worm train headed east across the Highway 10 overpass in Hawley. The sun was high but I though I might watch him traverse the scenic country between Hawley and Lake Park, my next stop. But, by the time I found him again, he was stopped at Manitoba Junction. It was a shuttle train for Ulen.

Having never seen this move before, I was flying blind looking for photo locations. My first shot of him was across an empty field as the power started climbing away from the Buffalo River. This was also the only angle that was lit in a way that was at all acceptable.

Trains entering this spur from the west have to make a very sharp, very extensive turn to get going north. After seeing this curve I have nicknamed it "Northwest Minnesota's Horseshoe Curve". It's the reason I posted the next shot, which was poorly lit but shows the power on the train travelling northwest and climbing the hill while the tail end of the train (just visible in the right side of the frame) is still heading east on the Staples Sub. It's a very drastic change of direction and grade, at least for this part of the country. I would love to get a train here in decent light, whenever that would be.

Since the train was picking his way along, I had time to run up a little further and grab a wedgie towards the top of the grade. Again, this one is is tough light, but I kind of like the effect with the grade, and something else you don't see on the Staples Sub, jointed rail. I have one other shot of a train on jointed rail (not BNSF, either) that I hope to post soon.

Finished up in Lake Park around 3:00, and headed for home. I knew traffic had been light all day and there was a tie crew at work west of Wadena. I saw eastbound empty ballast cars waiting at Richards Spur, but didn't see the power and didn't stop. I was surprised by a full tie crew heading into Perham from the west, and wondered how they had made it so far. Turns out there must be two crews working, as the Wadena crew was tied down when I got back to town. No wonder they are making such great progress. I think they are done to around CR143 near Bluffton, with the west crew having completed some work near Perham.

That's all from Friday, and I expect posting to be light over the weekend. I've started hoping for good weather for the OMR get-together on the 20th in Verndale. Hope some of you can make it to that event. Til next time, keep looking for trains.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In that shot that you termed the horseshoe curve, makes it look like there are no ties there, just rail, great shot!