Monday, July 27, 2009

Southern Swing

I was off to New Ulm this morning bright and early, with visions of some DM&E action dancing in my head. When I arrived I noticed a shuttle train was loading at the elevator. So, after I was done with my meeting, I swung by the New Ulm yard for a look at the power for this shuttle.

I have heard in the past that these trains run with 4 units (including an ACe, a pair of Dash 9's, and an ES44DC in this case) in order to make the grade leaving New Ulm headed west. Rumor has it they have stalled in the past with three units climbing out of the Minnesota River Valley.

As you can see in that shot, there were many clouds about. That affected my next photo negatively. When I made it to Mankato, a train was headed south out of town. I'm not very familiar with the trackage, and I didn't see the power but I made a u-turn and chased the slow moving train down. As the UP line winds out of the valley it passes through some scenic territory. This shot doesn't do it justice but you can get an idea of what the stretch of track is like before they make it up to the plains again.

Very pretty area, I really like the rock retaining wall the train is passing by, and I got a friendly wave from the engineer (you can see him waving if you look close). You can tell how the designers of this line wound it around to help the trains beat the grade out of town. Still, these AC units were really working hard lifting the train up the hill.

As my final destination was on the north side of the cities, a swing by Northtown Yard seemed in order. I made it about 4:45 and got a couple of shots of the deadline south of the St. Anthony Boulevard bridge. There were 19 GEVO's lined up with their stacks capped. I suspect that these units require turbocharger inspection prior to being operated again. Makes the lines of SD75's a little shorter than I have seen in the past. It was good to see the Green Giants again-I sure hope they get back on the road soon.

That was it for today. Not a lot, but way better than nothing. Maybe I will have a little time to get out tomorrow evening, if the weather holds and I don't end up with too much work to do after tomorrow.


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