Saturday, April 24, 2010

St. Cloud and Back

The trip to St. Cloud and back for the Granite City Train Show offered the chance for some more cloudy day railfanning. As we passed the west end of the Staples yard, a parked train caught my attention. A 6600 series GE was the leader on a manifest parked in the yard. U-turn time!

Oddly, the tracks were quiet the rest of the way down. After getting my fill of model railroading at the train show (and some quality shopping time for Mrs. L4T), we were once again northbound. And still the trains seemed to be hiding from us.

Finally, during a brief stop in Randall, I spotted an eastbound between Staples and Philbrook on ATCS. We headed straight for the old Highway 10 bridge near Lincoln and waited only about 10 minutes for what I suspect was a Becker load with a MAC leader. The leaves are starting to pop, giving us hope for some more scenic shots in the near future.

I still think whoever made the decision to peel off all the nose logos should be punished, but as a famous train blogger once said, "whaddaya gonna do?".

Shortly, a second eastbound popped up on the screen, and we decided to try and beat him to the Quicken Road crossing south of Philbrook. I've always wanted to shoot an eastbound here, and today was my (somewhat) lucky day-I got the eastbound, although it was under heavy overcast and in a light drizzle, none of which lessened the impact of seeing a train round the corner at speed.

These NS units are a particular favorite of Mrs. L4T for some reason. She says it's not the paint, but the name sounds neat-"Norfolk Southern"-and she maintains that the orange engines all look the same. You should have heard me try and explain why we needed to stop and shoot the C4 in Staples."But it looks just like all the rest" she said, as I tried to explain the concept of replacing 6 DC traction motors with 4 AC motors, and adding equipment that has the ability to raise the center axle on each truck to increase the weight on the driven axles. I gave up when her eyes glazed over in response to my explanation. Oh well, I'm lucky that she enjoys the ride.


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