Saturday, March 20, 2010

Cloudy Staples Sub

Last Tuesday found me Owatonna bound. Travel from Wadena to Owatonna allows one to fan a good section of the Staples Sub, although the cloud cover on that day did tend to take a bit of the fun out of the adventure. Still, a train under cloudy skies is still a train. So, I remained intrepid as I patrolled the tracks.

While a number of trains were out plying the rails, my first photo was of an eastbound manifest stopped near Clear Lake. Once again, I caught a C44 with an unmatched nose door. Seems like they are common as hen's teeth once you notice.

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I hadn't made it 5 miles when the next train popped up-this time a coal empty headed west for more black diamonds. It was led by an ACe, and I grabbed a shot from the side of the highway to document its passing.

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I soon overtook another stopped eastbound. Although the photo makes this look like a worm train behind a pair of SD75's, there were a bunch of other manifest cars tacked onto the end of the train out of sight around the corner. It was kind of pleasant to see a decent looking pair of warbonnets on a train. The paint on these has surely held up better than the Santa Fe scheme on the GE's.

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After that, it was "petal to the metal" all the way to Owatonna, to make my scheduled session. Oddly, the UP blasted a northbound through town as I was getting out of my vehicle less than a block from the tracks, but I didn't get a chance to shoot the train. For as much time as I spend in Owatonna, I still don't have a decent shot from there. I hear trains frequently but never seem to get the chance to break away and shoot them.

I made my way home by Thursday, strangely enough, by way of Two Harbors. Again, I saw no trains until reaching Staples, where a loaded coal train was heading onto the Brainerd Sub. I got the DPU, again under heavy clouds, just as he left the Staples Sub. The dip in the Brainerd Sub is very apparent in this shot.

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And that was it for the week. Hopefully I will get a little time to fan on Sunday afternoon, as the weather sounds good and there would be no better way to usher in spring than a railfanning adventure. Til next time,
Jim

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