Saturday, November 13, 2010

Here a Coal Train

There a coal train, everywhere a coal train. Last Saturday, Mrs. L4T agreed to a quick trip to Brainerd. Luckily, there's a railroad to watch for most of the way.

We spotted a BNSF westbound before reaching Staples, but poor light and a tight schedule prompted me to pass him up in the hope that something more interesting might come along. Sure enough, a Becker load was leaving town just as we passed through. That's not really interesting, but the DPU was, to me at least.

One of the very few MAC's I've had the chance to shoot in the wedgie paint scheme. Not sure if I've shot this one before, but the paint looked fairly fresh so perhaps not. While the exec painted units have always been a favorite of mine, MAC's in wedgie paint are a close second, if not a new leader, especially since the cream and green units have been vandalized by the removal of the nose logo.

Well, that was a nice surprise. We quickly continued on to Brainerd, where Home Depot and Mills Fleet Farm were priority stops. Just a few minutes before leaving Fleet Farm, I though I heard a train blow for the 371 crossing but didn't know which way he was headed. I learned it was an empty as we approached Staples on the way home. The empty was crawling towards town. I quickly made my way to the east crossing and waited for the ACe leader to arrive. He promptly stopped. I responded by taking a picture of the stopped train.

Another eastbound load was heading down the Staples Sub, so I waited for him to pass and chatted with another railfan. All of a sudden a westbound Z sailed into town on Main 1. No wonder the empty was stopped on the Brainerd Sub. The dispatcher was making way for the Z train.

The short, fast moving Z was gone in a flash. Fort Worth quickly lined the switch for the empty, and he approached as the load was still passing. This offered the chance at a shot of the "meet"-the head end of the empty passes by the DPU of the load headed down the Staples Sub.

And that was it as we headed for home. It turned out to be a somewhat productive railfanning outing, even though we didn't start out with that as a primary purpose. Sometimes you see more trains by accident than by design. Keep looking!

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