Wednesday, July 15, 2009

You Just Never Know...

...what you might see along the tracks.

Business this week has me travelling along the Noyes Sub in far northwest Minnesota. I have been lucky enough to catch the local working this branch a few times in the past, which gave me hope of seeing some action on this trip as well.

Tuesday turned out to be the day of no trains as my trip up revealed nothing all the way from Wadena to Hallock except a MOW crew around Donaldson. Kind of strange to travel all that way, paralleling lines the entire trip, and not see a train.

Wednesday I was in Hallock when I heard a horn, and ran outside to see the train. It was a mixed northbound, and wonder of wonders, the leader on this train was one of the ES44C4's. BNSF 6608 was proudly heading north with Dash 9 trailing. I grabbed a photo under completely overcast skies to capture the moment.


As the train passed, I thought "that picture could have been taken in countless places. I need something to show where it is." So here is a going away shot with the old and new Hallock water towers in the background.


This is one of those experiences that makes railfanning special to me. If you had asked me the likelihood of seeing one of these unique locos on the Noyes sub when I left home Tuesday morning, I would have given you extremely good odds on my not seeing one. I know all the reasons they shouldn't be here. Yet, in spite of the facts that I have never seen 6 axle power on the Noyes local, that there are only 25 of these engines in existence, and that it has been rumored they were bound for high speed service on the southern transcon, here it was ambling north along a dead-end BNSF line on a manifest. You could have knocked me over with the proverbial feather.

That was the last action I was to see on the Noyes sub today. I swung through Grand Forks this evening to have supper with the heir to the L4T fortune, and we drove around town a bit to view the locos at the BNSF terminal. It sure doesn't look like this new GE was assigned due to a lack of 4 axle power, as there were 8 or 10 GP types parked in Grand Forks.

I met a westbound on the GF sub as I headed to Crookston for the evening, but the clouds and my yawning convinced me to continue on to the hotel. So here I am, posting this tale.

And the moral of today's little story is: keep looking for trains. You just never know...

Jim

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