Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sunday in (all-of-a-sudden) EMD Land

A couple of westbound trains mixed in with Sunday afternoon's lovely cooler weather and the sun peeking out from between clouds created the perfect environment for a trip to the Staples DQ to treat Mrs. L4T to supper. We tried timing the trip to get the food between trains, and were somewhat successful.

The first westbound was passing through Staples as we left Wadena, which seemed to create an opportunity at the Verndale sag. I shot him a number of times but the sun was positioned so that the glare off the windshield was atrocious until the locomotive got pretty close, so here's my image of a lone execu-MAC bringing a "Slot Machine" out of the Wing River dip.

The radio revealed that a loaded coal train had just taken the Brainerd Sub, and a manifest was passing though town staying on the Staples Sub as we arrived. I didn't get a chance to see the power, but a few minutes later I heard BNSF 8184 call the signal approaching Philbrook. Drat!

By this time we needed to hit the DQ drive thru so we would be fortified when the second westbound arrived in Staples. Then, just as we were ordering, I heard BNSF 6821 clearing up at Wadena. Interesting.

So we went back to the depot with our chow to see who would get their first-the westbound or the SD40-2. Turns out the old-timer won the race by a hair, with the meet happening within spitting distance of the depot. First shot is the pair of 40's approaching the depot, then the meet between that pair and a stack train led by an SD75I.

The 8300 was leading yet another EMD product, this one some variety of spartan cab SD wearing a black paint scheme. Let's hope that the eventual mega-merger won't result in us shooting black across the country on a regular basis.

Since we had to be home by 7, a chase back west seemed in order. I beat the stacker to the Dower Lake crossing and shot him just as a sucker hole passed over. The shot 10 seconds earlier is dark, but this time fate smiled on me.

Fate was on my side in more ways than one, since a loaded coal train was working at blocking my shot at the westbound, but again, I was on the winning side. I needed only to turn around to shoot yet another meet.

Since we were headed for home, and in the process once again got ahead of the stack train, seemed only right to shoot him once more. Sadly, I wasn't as lucky with the lighting this time. The high haze combined with my poor timing on the shadow from the abandoned grain elevator did a number on this shot.

And even then we weren't done. A scratchy detector call just outside Wadena suggested another eastbound, and sure enough he came into view just as the stack train passed. Now, since I had to be home at 7, and I still hadn't stopped at the Fresh Freeze, there is no photo of this train. A man has to have his priorities in order, you know. I will tell you this-I waited long enough to see that this coal train was led by an ACe, making for the fourth different EMD model in some type of BN or BNSF paint we had spotted during this short outing. Add that to the radio call from the SD60M and the Staples Sub was thick with various 6 axle EMD's this night. Outstanding!


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