Saturday, April 10, 2010

Something Different

A touch of sunshine and the promise of some rail traffic was all it took to lure Mrs L4T and I out of the house for a bit last Thursday evening. So, once the dishes were done and put away, off we went.

Coal loads were heading east as we made it uptown. Not knowing if the DPU was oriented favorably, I decided to run east to set up for a shot. As I paced the train for a few miles, I noticed that this train had one of the most random mixtures of BN and BNSF coal gons I had ever seen. Every class of coal car that BNSF operates regularly on this line, and even a couple I rarely see, were present. Seemed like it would be worth shooting some video of this train. As a result my plan changed to catching the head end and getting on the south side to shoot the cars in good light.

But as often happens in railfanning, well intentioned plans are tossed to the wind as circumstances change. When I spotted a westbound empty coal train with four units, it became a higher priority after identifying the lead unit.

In all the time I have spent chasing trains on the Staples Sub, the number of sightings of Dash 9's as power on those train could be counted on one hand. Dash 9's and coal trains just don't seem to mix. In fact, the only photo I have that I can put my finger on showing DC motor GE's on coal was shot in Wyoming.

So this train was unique enough to tempt me back west, and I shot him at the Wing River sag. With this under my belt, we decided to meander back to Wadena. We nearly made it, too, but a loaded coal train interrupted us. And so it was back to the same spot, where I shot the leaders as they approached. This train also was a mixed bag of BN and BNSF cars, but not quite as unique as the earlier one. Here's the power.

And with that, we did make it home. Not a lot of action, but we saw three trains in less than an hour, and that beats anything on TV any day.


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