Thursday, August 26, 2010

Parked Trains on the Staples Sub

So this week, a Monday morning business trip to Southeast Minnesota began with a trip down the Staples Sub. With the trusty Pentax nestled in the passenger seat, I was ready for whatever quick opportunities the BNSF might be willing to throw my way. It turned out the wait wasn't long for the first shot, as a loaded coal train sailed through Wadena as I left town.

I passed the head end before reaching Verndale, and planned to shoot the eastbound at the big tree just east of there. However, the detector at MP 151 had announced a westbound, meaning there was a chance of getting blocked out by the train on Main 1. As the respective trains approached my location, I speculated on whether or not I would get a shot. Turns out rear end of the short Z train cleared out of the way just in time to catch the power on the coal train passing the tree:

And with that, I was done shooting moving trains for the morning. However, that didn't mean there was a shortage of targets for my camera. The first shot of standing trains was in Staples, where a pair of ACe's rested on loaded coal trains, waiting for their turn to head east.

There was also a grain train sitting on Main 2, waiting for someone to clear somewhere before resuming his journey. I didn't get a photo of that one.

With no action between Staples and St. Cloud, I started to wonder what was up. And then, passing the penitentiary, there was a train, waiting patiently on Main 2. I've always wanted to shoot a photo in this spot, and swung off the road to get this shot:

I couldn't help but think about Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues".

And then, just "a little further down the line", another train popped up, again waiting for permission to continue his eastbound journey. This time the power was an H2 Dash 9, trailed by an EMD product, the second unit dressed in the black paint scheme of the Norfolk Southern.

This BNSF/NS pattern was repeated on the train waiting at Clear Lake. For the third time in about 13 miles, I swung off Highway 10 for a shot of a stopped train. This time both engines were GE products.

Somewhere in here I met a westbound train, but got no photos. I was off to try and catch still another waiting train, after hearing the dispatcher talking to yet another ACe. Here we find the fourth stopped train in a relatively short stretch of track. I suspect this was a Becker coal train but don't know that for sure. This was shot from the Potato Farm Crossing.

Just east of Becker, I cut off for Monticello to get on I-94, so no more trains were spotted that morning. However, I did spend the evening in Red Wing, and got some time to fan both sides of the river. My next post will likely include shots of the CP and BNSF in that area.

All for now.


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