Monday, May 31, 2010

Staked Out in Staples

After an email from Ian a few days earlier, Saturday morning was arranged for a two railfan meetup at the Staples depot. Anytime something like this is planned, you hope for good weather and lots of trains. We got at least half of this combination right that Saturday AM.

I left Wadena sometime after 6:00 AM with clear skies above. Leaving the house I heard a train blowing for the crossing in Wadena. Turned out to be a westbound Z-I saw the tail end as I approached the Jefferson Street crossing. Peering after the train revealed the headlight of an eastbound, so I decided to shoot my first target while sitting across from the depot. Here, what I think was a Becker load passes in front of the Leaf River Ag fertilizer plant.

A chase to Staples seemed in order, and I hadn't even reached Verndale before meeting a coal empty-this train was also led by a faded MAC/ACe combo. I would see three trains with this power set in my first hour of the morning. My shot at getting the DPU of the empty and the leaders of the loads didn't quite work out, so next stop was CR 9 east of Aldrich-the same spot where Ian shot this train, later in the summer. As you can see the sun angle crosses the tracks for just a couple of months a year in this spot.

Off to Staples, where a westbound managed to stab us by just a few moments. Just the thing you don't like to see happen, but it means there is traffic moving I guess.

Anyway, after a short wait, ATCS showed another eastbound lined to cross over at Dower Lake and enter the Brainerd Sub. Most likely a MERC coal train, and sure enough it was. Here Ian stares it down with his dimunitive new camera, waiting for the slow moving train to get a bit closer.

And here's my shot of the second coal load, as he twists along the curve in Main 1. So kind of the railroad to put a curve here to add interest to photos.

My last train was a stacker lead by an H1 GE. This one was on Main 2 as he was staying on the Staples Sub (of course).

With my son home for the weekend, I needed to head home. I wished Ian luck and ran back to Wadena, never seeing another train although I expected one anytime.

Thanks, Ian, for the company and great conversation. This little encounter really whetted my appetite for Verndale Rail. Can't wait to see many of you there in a few weeks.


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