Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Look Back at 2011

It's becoming a tradition to do a railfan retrospective around New Year's. I like it because you are forced to think back on the year's adventures, and even with the occasional Mullering, by and large this is a great hobby that we share with great people.

So what sticks out for me when I look back on this year? One of the most amazing experiences happened on New Year's Day, when I was lucky enough to witness a monster Amtrak train passing the through the area. What a way to start the year!

Any time spent with fellow railfans is great. This was one of those times. My fingers still get numb remembering it.

Luckily, it was warmer on the day Chris introduced me to the wonder that is Ebro.

"Talk Like a Pirate" Day-what could that have to do with railfanning? Quite a bit, as it turned out.

Sometimes, you don't have to go far to be entertained by the railroad.

Lots of folks seem to remember encounters with blue and yellow locomotives. I had a few myself, and they were memorable. This one, in May, comes to mind, along with this one, the end of June. I was lucky enough to get a sniff of blue and gold out west as well, in the fall.

I spent a lot more time (and money!) on modeling this year, and it provided some good memories as well.

Verndale Rail was once again the high point of the year, as I've come to expect. You that didn't make it this year, be there next year! Should be bigger and better than ever, and with a little luck we might even get a train running into the sun.

I've made some great friends and look forward to making more in the future. Anytime you find a bunch of people who will tolerate a Pentax shooter you can bet you've fallen in with a quality group. So thanks, and I look forward to hearing "Hot Rail" or "IT'S THE YELLOW ONE" hollered out again soon.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Missing Railfan Returns

I've spent the more than a month since my last post doing who knows what? Well, work got in the way, and family issues, and the Holidays, and....

As someone who has gotten used to seeing trains many times a week at a minimum, this interval has been pretty train-free. That's not by choice, but simply a result of where my travels have taken me. However, I did get the chance to shoot a few pictures, this first one in International Falls on November 29. For once, the sun was out, and the MDW was kind enough to park one of their new switch engines where I could get a shot with the engine house in the background.

On December 13, the fog and overcast was back on a day I travelled to Randall for work. As the day went on, the fog just seemed to get thicker. A westbound Z train stopped at the Randall siding just as I left town, and I figured it wouldn't sit for long. I noticed a track inspection truck getting off the tracks at Cushing and decided to wait for the Z in the gloom at the old Highway 10 overpass. It was so dark the shot suffered, and this is the best I could do with the shutter wide open and the ISO cranked up too high. About 2:30 in the afternoon.

And then on December 20, after a quick trip to Perham, I caught up with a rail grinder on the way home. Another of those rare sunny days, and he decided to stop at the west crossing, so why not shoot him? So, I did.

We spent Christmas weekend in International Falls, and I came home the day after with my son. He needed to head back to Grand Forks. A friend was in the hospital in Wadena, and on my way to visit, sure enough, I spotted a headlight. I decided to get a profile of the power as the light was 90 degrees to the track. I wouldn't bore you with it if not for the repainted Dash 9 trailing.

Finally, Wednesday I had to go to New York Mills for work, and I was lucky enough to catch a couple of trains after finishing up. First is the Ferromex unit I shared earlier on Flickr, this time two shots instead of just one.

And then a MAC that has seen better days, but still hard at work doing what it was built to do. That's haul coal out of the Powder River Basin. Regardless of the paint, I'll never get tired of seeing this work done.

So now you are caught up on what this railfan has been up to. Not a lot, from a train perspective, but hopefully the new year holds some new adventures along the tracks.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Rebuild, Part 2

Last time, I included the following photo, showing the existing yard of the WCMR:

It's no longer the existing yard, of course. My last post showed how it was pretty much torn up. Last night and today I got serious about getting the rest of the track down, at least temporarily to see how it operated. As a result, the same area looks like this tonight:

From left to right on the far end you have stub ended classification/storage tracks, the arrival/departure track, the main, and the passing siding. I also left a switch in the passing siding for a (very) narrow flat to serve as one more industry on the layout.

Closer to the camera, the engine service facility is on the left. This has been completly relocated from where it was before and so far I'm a lot happier with this layout.

This change has made the layout seem bigger and less crowded. With the old yard, I had so many trains on the layout it was hard to run one-you had to do all kinds of shuffling to make room. Today, with the exact same rolling stock, I had a clear main and two empty tracks in the staging yard so the railroad was a lot more "fluid", as they say in the industry.

I've got about half the track joints soldered, and somewhere around the same proportion of electrical feeders installed. Things moved along nicely today, and with some luck I may be able to start gluing down track and ballasting before spring!

Stay tuned for more WCMR updates, and maybe even some railfanning shots if the weather and the trains ever dovetail with work.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Rebuild

One of the topics I frequently emphasize in any training I do is the need to adapt to constant change. Change seems to be one of the constants in my industry. It's also a constant in my hobby.

When I set out to build what is becoming the West Central Minnesota Railroad years ago, it was envisioned as what is now known as an ISL, or Industrial Switching Layout. Small 4 axle switchers would be the order of the day, along with lots of boxcars and tank cars serving a paper mill. As a result, tight radius curves and #4 turnouts were designed in, as everything I envisioned would operate nicely even with those limitations. A couple of years later, things changed when I decided to model something that would involve bigger equipment, 6 axle locos, and unit coal and grain trains. The newer part of the layout was built with this concept in mind, but the original section still had a lot of tight curves and sharp turnouts. Friday I decided to change part of that.

Here's an end view of my old yard. On the left you can see three "classification" tracks, served from either end. The switch lead is connected to all three through a ladder as well as to the main through a crossover. The main is the second track from the right, with the passing siding the far right track. The engine terminal was crammed against the wall. The track leaving the yard on the far end makes a very sharp 90 degree curve as it parallels the basement end wall.

You can also see that the main is stuck right to the foam top, with no sub-roadbed to build it up above the yard tracks. That was done purposely, but with a different concept in place it now looked foolish to run the main at the same level as the yard. I also needed more space for all these cars I've been accumulating, and when I gapped the rails prior to DCC, the gapped areas made for problem trackwork. All in all, I just wasn't happy with the whole thing. So Friday, it started to come out.

Some of this was already ballasted, and glued down with diluted matte medium, which is not water soluble. I was worried about trying to save a bunch of switches. Then I remembered having read that ammonia will dissolve matte medium. Well, it's true. If you can stand the fumes. I did, and am no worse for the wear. I was able to get all the switches and about 90% of the track taken up in reuseable condition, which made my wallet happy.

This afternoon and evening I finished pulling up the old stuff and started to lay a new main through the area. This one will be elevated on pine roadbed I sawed myself. In this photo you can see the main, which has so far been polished by a single train. Lots of feeders and rail joints to solder, but at least it's in place.

There are 5 switches off the main in this area now. As you travel from the far end to the near end, you will come to the east switch for the arrival/departure track (will be the first track left of the main), the east siding switch, west A/D switch, west siding switch, then the switch for the switch lead. I contemplated leaving the last one out, but stuck in a #4 anyway. Better than installing it later. There will be 2 double ended yard tracks left of the A/D, then 2 more stub ended yard tracks. The engine facility will sit roughly where it is in this shot, with access off the switch lead so no switchback is needed. In addition there will be a crossover from the switch lead to roughly the middle of the A/D track, which can be used to run around a car if needed.

So thats the story of the rebuild of the WCMR yard. Hope to get some more time to work on it soon, but don't expect to have all the track laid before New Year's.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Chase

Sometimes things just come together. That hasn't been true for me lately, for reasons as diverse as the weather, work, and interference from darned model trains. As a result my railfanning has been essentially non-existent for more than two weeks.

Today changed that. After spending my working hours in Tyler, I headed back to Marshall for the evening. I always take the longer way back instead of the back road just in case there is some action along the Marshall Sub or on the DME. It was a pleasant late afternoon so it seemed only appropriate to sit a bit at the Florence interchange, just north of the namesake town.

Less than 10 minutes after arriving, sure enough, a headlight appeared to the east. A DME train was working its way into the sun.

A quick text to Jer told me what had to be done. My message about a land barge bound for Lake Benton brough the almost instantaneous response of "WHAT!? SHOOT IT!". Off I went, trying to track the progress of the train with an occasional brief glimpse between the hills as the track twisted through the countryside.

With a lead on reaching Tyler, I looked for a likely shot. The sight that greeted me was horrifying, as an eastbound rolled into view. Now what? Not knowing the area, I had no idea where the meet would be made or how long it would take. Heck, I've even seen DME trains tied down near Florence and for all I knew they wouldn't proceed. It was time for a u-turn and some exploring. I flew down the blacktop, then gravel, roads at top speed and overtook the eastbound. Sure enough, the first train spotted was slowing for a meet at what turned out to be the Florence siding. Here are the two trains as they approach-both are moving.

I had to fire off one more. After all, how often can you get 10 active SD40-2's (OK, yellow unit on the westbound looks like a 45, sorry) in one frame in this day and age?

Thankfully, the westbound quickly switched his lights back on and got underway, accelerating quickly with all that power at hand. In this shot the tail end of the eastbound is just about out of sight, the switch has been lined, and the 6200 is ready to roll.

The sun was going away fast, and despair was rising as the glowing orb fell, but I continued on in hopes they would make good time between the Florence siding and Lake Benton. I wasn't going to put all my eggs in that basket, though. Just a couple of miles west is a crossing I had shot once before, so a quick stop was in order.

One more quick stop along 14 yielded a sad "across the field" shot, something I just can't seem to get right. Then it was off to the races again.

Having only fanned the Lake Benton area once before, I was hoping to remember how to get to the spot that many others have featured. It seemed further out of town that I remembered, but finally I was climbing the hill on the sunny side of the train as it approached. I fired off a few shots, including this one:

And with that, the chase was over. The valley was in shadow in just a few minutes, so on this day the railfan spirits smile on me and allowed the opportunity for a shot. Thanks for that.

Thanks, Jer, for the inspiration!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Slow, Slow Progress

While half the railfans in the state seemed to be out chasing after some UP Heritage unit, I kept my priorities straight and headed for the basement on a beautiful fall day. Wait, maybe the paint fumes are getting to me?

Anyhow, today was a modeling day for little old me. The interminable trip around the layout working on scenery continues. The decision to create a little town near my grain elevator and fertilizer plant was inspired by Mrs. L4T, and it was a good idea. However, it seems like towns take a lot longer than a comparable area of country side. Scenery goes fast when you can blast it out with the grassinator.

Here's a photo that shows how far I have progressed. This shows the partially painted shell of a small-town convenience store, set where it will probably end up along the tracks. The parking lot will have a couple of modern looking gas pumps and a canopy, and there's already a sign under construction for the corner. The foundation for the post office can be seen on the left side of the photo.

A lot of the time has been spent trying to create some kind of semi-plausible public works infrastructure. This includes streets that approximate the width of the real thing, curb and gutter in some areas, and gradual rises up to the grade crossings. Darn near need a civil engineer to visualize how it should look when done. To celebrate getting as far as I have I decided to play with a train a bit.

Here's a coal empty sailing through my little village. Quick camera work caught the leader and cab of the second unit at the grade crossing. Still have lots of scenery work to do on the back side of the tracks, and blending in the fertilizer plant to the left side of town.

So besides programming the accel and decel on a couple of decoders, grilling burgers, mulching about half a gondola full of leaves, and taking a well-earned nap, that's all I got done today. Oh, there was this post too. That's it for today!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Central Intelligence Agency

The CIA is rumored to have its headquarters in Langley, Virginia, but I think there is a branch office somewhere near Alexandria, Minnesota since lots of really good intelligence comes out of that area.

For example last weekend I received word that a Z train with a pair of new GEVO's on point was headed west. With plenty of advance notice, I was able to keep one eye on ATCS and time my adventure almost perfectly. Given the sun angle it seemed like the best shot would be at Bluffton. Sure enough, just as reported, the train showed up with fresh paint leading. When the trucks and fuel tank are as silver as these were you know the power has to be just out of the factory.

I want to take this opportunity to say thanks for the heads-up, not just for this particular piece of information, but for a lot of different tips. They are greatly appreciated, please keep them coming.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Morning Coal, Afternoon 'Bonnets

A day trip to Lake Park always brings out the railfan in a person, and today was no different. By the time I made it to Detroit Lakes, the sun was peeking up over the horizon. When a westbound coal empty showed up, it seemed like just the chance to try to catch him with morning sun lighting up his flank.

Knowing there was a DPU on this train, I waited to get a shot of the end as it rounded the curve at Richards Spur. The DPU's sometimes have FRED hanging off the coupler, but luckily this one didn't. Some fans pet peeve seems to be open cab doors, but I'm more put off by a DPU facing the right way and nicely lit, but wearing a FRED.

There was no way I could get to the S-curves in Lake Park ahead of him, or even behind him, as the tail end of the train was just disappearing when I pulled up. So off to work it was, just a couple of blocks from the tracks and stewing as every train passed. You can be just about anywhere but on the bridge in Lake Park, and not see the train that is passing through town due to the cut. The railfan's frustration sure entertains those he is working with, though.

Soon enough it was time to head for home. Before even reaching Audubon, though, circumstances dictated a u-turn. A dandy looking warbonnet was leading a string of grain cars west, with a CSX EMD the other unit in the consist. This one was shot near my third favorite Staples Sub tree, just east of Boyer Lake.

CSX must have farmed out a lemon to BNSF in this case, as not long after this was shot, the 706 called the dispatcher to inform him they had lost the second unit. With the downhill run to Dilworth, they should have had no problem with power but maybe needed a bit more brake since the EMD's dynamics might have been AWOL as well.

Before reaching Richards Spur, another u-turn was needed. The target was another warbonnet-led train, this one looked to be a solid block of DDG cars. 97 of them to be exact, as the Lake Park detector later announced he had an even 400 axles. Here's the shot, just west of Audubon with the elevator in the background.

I missed one more coal empty just outside DL, and a pretty Z train with what looked like a matched set of four H2 Dash 9's on the point near Perham. That was the end of the rail action for the day, but what I saw was entertaining. Next week I will be over that way a couple more times, so may get a chance for more Staples Sub action.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Going and Coming

The Spud River Model Railroad Show and Swapmeet happened to fall on a lovely October Sunday (excepting the wind) this year. The combination of train traffic and sunny skies allowed a few of the attendees the opportunity to do some railfanning as part of the adventure, myself included. For a couple of reasons my theme turned out to be "Going and Coming", first of all, I guess, because you have to go somewhere before you can come home.

Another cause of the them was this first set of images. Traffic was light on the Staples Sub most of the way over, but just west of the first Frazee exit I glanced across Acorn Lake and spotted a most unusual sight-a pair of GP's, running west light engine. Seemed a worthy photography target.

After being foiled in Detroit Lakes by an evil brew of traffic and traffic lights, I wasn't able to get a respectable shot of the combo "going away" until the other side of Audubon. Here you go:

I was contemplating the chances of getting some nose light on the leader when the combination of sun angle and tracks through Hawley came together to allow this:

It's not everyday when you can get decent nose light on both ends of the power set in 15 minutes. Kind of a treat.

No other photos until we were coming home, when a check at Watts revealed no westbounds. But, before reaching Glyndon a vehicle train drifting down the hill called for a course reversal. Was it worth a u-turn?

That was it for photo opportunites for me, although I know that MN Chris and Darren were able to get a few more interesting sights. I'll be watching for their trip report as well. I'm also interested to see what a third list member got of a "unit" tank train we spotted heading east just before arriving at Fargo. You know who you are.

All for now.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


A couple of Christmas's ago Mrs. L4T surprised me with a wonderful Greg Garrett framed print showing a pair of MAC's bringing a loaded coal train through snowy western scenery. It was a fantastic gift, hangs in the living room where it can be admired on a regular basis.

It's hard to see but the leader of this train is EMD SD70MAC BNSF 9905. For many years these AC units have been among my favorites, but with more than 800 of them on the BNSF roster catching any specific unit is like finding a needle in a haystack. Ever since recieving this gift I've kept an eye out for the 9905, and last Monday I finally caught it rounding a curve between Lake Park and Audubon.

Now I have a photo of the same loco pictured in the print. Next up, finding the same engine leading in the snow, with another orange MAC trailing.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Now Departing for Randall, the Twin Cities, and Points East...

So today, after an early morning Holiday stop in Wadena, it was off for Randall again. ATCS showed the dispatcher had an eastbound lined from two to one in Wadena, and the thought that it might be Amtrak crossed my mind. Sure enough, within seconds of getting back in the vehicle, the scanner crackled with the Builder calling the approach signal to Wadena. Off to the races.

Instead of the depot shot that has been done so many times I figured on trying something out in the woods. One eye was on a pesky cloud approaching the Quicken Road crossing, as the sun played peek-a-boo. Sadly, it was hiding as the GE's roared around the corner at track speed, leaving nothing but a blur on the memory card. This is all there is to prove that I have indeed seen the Empire Builder pass the location.

At Philbrook, a manifest had been holding waiting for the passenger train to pass, and was quickly underway. With a few minutes to go before work started, I stood trackside waiting for the freight, which the people I was working with found wildly entertaining. No amount of coaxing was able to get anyone else with a camera out to shoot this train with me.

After wrapping up around 3 PM, I left for the Twin Cities, where my day will start early Thursday. Seemed like a great chance to grab some Northstar action, starting with this colorful consist at Big Lake.

I so wanted to shoot him passing through Elk River, but stuck in the left turn lane on Highway 10, I raged as TWO nicely lit trains passed with no chance for photos, including the Utah unit shown above. This had to be the longest red light I ever suffered through, missing the eastbound Northstar and a westbound freight shortly after, unable to do anything about it. Railfanning in the Metro is tough duty!

Figuring there had to be another commuter train headed out, staking out the location seemed the proper course of action. The wait was only 10 or 15 minutes before this beauty blew through town.

And then again, near Ramsey, I picked a nice spot to wait for the third Northstar of the day. Luckily, this time the left turn light allowed me to cross the westbound lanes of Highway 10 and the tracks before the train arrived, although the headlight was visible when crossing.

It's so strange to hear the detectors announcing the passage of trains with "total axles one six".

One more note on today. Around lunch, while eating at Kim's on Pacific in Randall, the trumpeting of an air horn announced the imminent arrival of an eastbound. Turned out to be the pair of SD40-2's that were on the container train in Staples the previous day, headed back toward Northtown light engine, and making good time. They were gone before I even had a chance to run for the camera.

And that was my day.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Randall Run

Here are a few shots from today's trip to Randall. Nothing special, but proof that the BNSF continues to run trains on the Staples Sub.

This first one is a bit of a throwback. The power on stack trains used to often be a pair of EMD's, and a look at this one sitting in Staples this morning had the look of one of those "vintage" consists. Heck, the lead 40 still carries its original road number. At least the GE's haven't taken over the 8000 slots yet.

Since the leaves were kind of pretty it seemed a trip through the back roads was in order. At the Quicken Road crossing a red signal foretold the approach of a westbound. It was backlit but the only chance to really include a bit of color in the shot.

The leader of that train seemed familiar, as did the first four cars in the consist. After checking the camera, sure enough, this was one of the coal trains I had caught loaded yesterday. Must have unloaded at Becker for the return trip.

Last, but not least, was an eastbound on the way home. Again, this one was backlit, and I won't bore you with the power. I was already back on the road when the end of the train rolled by, punctuated with this interesting sight:

I had to stop and get a photo of that UP autorack, obviously worse for the wear. Looks like it fell off someone's layout.

All for today, tomorrow I head back to Randall and on to the cities so may get a chance for some shots then as well.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Today's Coalies

A trip to Lake Park and back offered the opportunity to catch some Staples Sub traffic today and the BNSF held up their end of the bargain. Catching three trains, all coal loads, was a great bonus to an enjoyable day of work.

I left Wadena a bit before 8, and didn't make it to New York Mills before coming across this train. A u-turn and short trip back towards home resulted in this shot, taken in one of my favorite close-to-home railfanning locations. Long time readers probably have figured out my weakness for train photos with a farm silo in them, and this one doubles the pleasure.

The next train, my last of the morning, was captured near Boyer Lake. This one ground its way out of the woods, the uphill climb out of the Red River valley almost complete.

And finally, the lone train I shot on the way home. The shorter days and sun angles make the Frazee S curves useful in mid afternoon this time of year for eastbounds. Here's a shot of an eastbound, with good nose light, around 2:00 PM or later. The engineer of this train was a friendly sort, quick with a wave and a toot on the horn for the railfan out taking pictures. Thanks!

And that's it for my day!

Friday, September 30, 2011

A Picture is Worth Many Words

I've been terribly negligent about adding content to this blog recently, having been distracted with modeling, work, and actually getting out and chasing trains rather than writing about chasing trains. The photo below seemed like a great opportunity to try and make up for that.

The reason I picked this particular shot is because there is so much that is interesting to me. First off, the power on the northbound train, holding the main. Anytime you catch a warbonnet leader in decent paint is good. This particular time was better, as the GE was trailed by four interesting EMD's. The first three were interesting but not unusual, at least over the years. Oakways used to be common on the Staples Sub and I have lots of shots of them but not too many solid three unit sets.

The trailing unit is the most interesting, being my first sighting of a Dakota and Iowa Railroad engine.

I came across the northbound while following the DME from Tracy to Florence. A mile or so before reaching Highway 23, I spotted a train to the north and figured it to be on the DME. Lo and behold, after a little investigation it turned out to be this train on the Marshall Sub. The train was travelling directly away from the sun and there weren't any good options for well lit photos, but knowing he would meet a southbound in Marshall I chased all the way up there.

The local out of Willmar was also at the ADM plant in this shot, so there are actually three trains present. This created a bit of a dispatching challenge given that the northbound also had 25 cars to drop at the plant. As a result the local got a head start on its trip home, but I was more interested in the southbound and catching him in some decent light.

And so I headed south, looking for a chance to shoot the 7784. Here's the first one, where the tracks come back near the highway near Russell.

And finally, after he met an ethanol empty headed north, something a little different than the normal grade crossing wedgie.

I really enjoy the scenery in this area and need to keep trying different things to capture the look. Hopefully these pictures help to tell the story on a lovely part of the state.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


It's been a couple of weeks since I was last down south, but I still have a few photos from the trip that haven't been posted. These particular ones were a great reminder of one of my most interesting railfanning experiences, and the chance to take a (short) cab ride.

Last time through Springfield, sure enough, Harvestland was loading a train. And just like every other time I've seen this, my friend George was running the Harvestland engine.

This is a huge facility. It's likely been mentioned before that they have storage capacity for around 10 complete shuttle trains, and can load such a train in less than 12 hours when everything goes right. Here's a shot of the shuttle power, which brings the train off the BNSF at Florence and across the former DME to Springfield. You can get an idea of the size of the elevator in the background.

Interestingly, although they load these unit trains, there is no loop, just a long siding. The complex also includes a fertilizer plant and Harvestland unloads both dry and liquid fertilizer at this location along with loading grain trains. It's a good rail customer.

In addition to the nicely painted GP, they also have a trackmobile, I assume for the fertilizer cars. A trackmobile wouldn't do much good when trying to get a shuttle loaded.

For that you need a hard-working locomotive, something as seen in the following picture. You can bet that George is at the throttle, waiting for her to load up and then the radio call from the control booth "That's good, George".

This is one of the countless activities on the railroad that will never get old for me. It's hard to picture passing this location and not stopping when something rail related is going on, and I hope I never have to.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Talk Like a Pirate Day


Yep, it was today. And lucky me, I got to spend it with a few scoundrels who had sailed in from up north. Mike, Craig, and Dave had rolled into town a couple of days earlier and brought their usual good luck when it came to catching trains. These guys are hard-core fans and when they come to town they are disappointed if they leave with a train count not in the triple digits.

So this morning I headed uptown (first day of vacation!) to look for the crew. They turned out to be over NYM way, but headed back to Wadena for breakfast. After taking sustenance at the Boondocks, ATCS told us to look for some trains so we set up at the depot. I'm not posting all the photos from the couple of hours I spent there but this is a sample of what they see.

First up is the DPU of a coal empty headed back for a reload. Just like you'll see in other shots, this train is being captured not only by still photo but also on video. The technology is also impressive in that these fellows have the speakers out on the truck, multiple scanners running, and ATCS fired up at all times.

Next we have an ACe-led coal load. I believe this was a COLX train, one of the first I have seen in quite a while in Wadena. The last one was actually the empty shown above. Before that I think it's been months since I have seen a COLX on the Staples Sub. Not that they weren't there, but I sure didn't see any.

We were lucky enough to catch the local coming into town. On this day he was pulling 8 tank cars, which I think were carrying fertilizer going by the placards, but I can't say for sure. None of them were for Wadena, but they had to run around their train down on the K line to head back to Dilworth. They also picked up an empty gon that was sitting on the Drywall Supply spur as a memento of their stop in Wadena.

While they were working, what looked for a while to be a grain train drifted through town, crossing over from two to one to avoid the local. It turned out to be a long manifest with all the mixed freight tacked on at the very end.

And here's a shot of the local as it passes the depot headed for home. That big BN logo on the nose of a green engine never fails to impress.

Actually it turns out I'm not the only one with a soft spot for the BN. Someone even went so far as to express his true feelings about the situation on a BNSF covered hopper, shown here. I especially like the little BN in a heart. True, that.

Thanks for the good times, guys, and I look forward to seeing you next year!