Sunday, January 24, 2010

Haven't I Seen You Somewhere Before?


I shot the photo above on the afternoon of Labor Day, 2006, when BNSF MOW forces replaced the bridge over the Otter Tail River betwen Perham and New York Mills. I happened to look at it today, and the second unit in the consist rang a bell for me. So after a bit of searching, I learned that I had indeed seen and photographed BNSF 4080 at another time in another location. I caught it a little over two years later crossing the continental divide near East Glacier, Montana.


This got me curious about whether I had more of these "duplicate" locos in my image files. It seems like someone who spends a fair amount of time along the tracks must surely see the same locomotive pass by numerous times. However, when I started looking for these situations, they were much more rare (for me, at least) than I suspected. BNSF has a whole lot of locomotives, and they don't always use the same ones to lead trains. Since my photos are saved with filenames that incorporate the number of the lead unit, finding a match with locos I have shot trailing like the one above is purely a game of chance for me.

But I did find some matches. On April 5, 2008, I headed to New York Mills to try some shots on the curve there. One of the trains I got was a manifest led by BNSF 5383.


On another Minnesota spring day, the 5383 was westbound at the Verndale sag, earning its keep lugging a manifest train across the Staples Sub. This one was taken on May 23, 2009.


BNSF 5724 is another unit I have been lucky enough to catch leading trains in various locations, at different times. My first shot of this GE leading is from a frosty January morning in 2008.


March 14, 2009 found me in Hawley where the 5724 was leading coal empties west, with a MAC in exec paint trailing.


But my all time favorite unit to get duplicate shots of has to be SD70MAC BNSF 9999. I have shot this unit at least four separate times, all in Minnesota, but in different locations. My first shot is from August of 2008, coming out of Frazee with coal loads:


On a cold February morning in 2009, it was resting at the west end of the Staples yard, and I snuck up and took a picture.


Late June found me in Red Wing, prowling the CP River Sub. What to my wondering eyes should appear but an SD70MAC, pushing for all it was worth on the tail end of a COLX train? Why yes, it was the 9999, passing under a bridge in Wabasha.


And only a week or so later, I got her again, this time at the Verndale sag, and this time as a leader.


These coincedental sightings are one of the things about railfanning that appeal to me. Anyone else got a "favorite" loco that they just seem to come across over and over?

Jim

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