Saturday, June 27, 2009

Red Wing Day 3-or "How I Drove 225 Miles to see a BNSF Coal Train"

Any of its few faithful readers will know that one of the most common subjects of this humble journal is the BNSF coal train. Living in Wadena and travelling the Highway 10 corridor gives me almost countless opportunties at shooting these trains, which are commonly powered by EMD SD70MAC locos. One of the attractions of shooting along the River Sub was the chance to broaden my horizon, so to speak, by working other roads into my photographic gallery.

On this, my last evening along the CP, (see the first day here, and the second day here)I decided to once again visit the Maple Springs area. After arriving there, I settled down with a novel to wait for the arrival of a train. I waited for over an hour before the eastbound signal lit up green, which forced me to head to the other end of the curve and prepare for a backlit shot. Imagine my surprise when this old friend rolled around the curve and out of the trees. This is one of the COLX trains that we see so often on the Staples Sub between Dilworth and Coon Creek.

I clicked away madly as he made his way around the curve with the heavy train. This image is probably my favorite from the whole trip. I love the contrast between the shaded and sunny sides, the glow of the greenery, and the way the right side of the image is framed by the tree.

After a quick run to Wabasha chasing this train (bonus-the DPU was BNSF 9999, one of my faves), I headed back to Maple Springs to wait again. After about half an hour, with no action, I decided to call it a night. However, just to the north, I came across a CP train waiting in a siding. I figured this meant a westbound was coming so I high-tailed it back south just in time to catch this.

Once again, the chase was on. I decided to have a go at him at my old faithful curve south of Red Wing, but ran out of light.

All in all, my impressions of the area are as follows: the scenery is gorgeous, and there are numerous spots to get great shots of trains passing through it. Traffic relatively steady, and Amtrak might be passing through during daylight, especially if you head far enough south (for #7) or are shooting in the morning (#8). Scouting the area will pay dividends in getting good photo angles. There are many shots that I don't have any idea how to shoot, for example, areas where the track is below the highway or the trees are so thick you can barely see the trains.

It's a great part of the state, and I can't wait to get another chance to visit.


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