Monday, January 17, 2011

A Cold Day along the SOO

On a cold and snowy Sunday, just as I pulled into the driveway after church, my phone rang. Seems that somehow Jeremiah had managed to talk Chris into sharing my phone number, and wanted to report that 3 SOO SD60's were leading a train north. He even had location info, and was able to clue me in that a meet was set for Henning. Entering all this data into my mobile railfanning computer (head), the plan for a brief railfan outing was output.

Of course, Mrs. L4T had to be let in on the plan, and put together a "go" bag so we could be on our way. After a quick stop at McDonald's drive-thru, we were headed west on Highway 10. Soon the radio announced a pair of trains clearing warrants in Henning, signalling that the 60's were once again on the move. Another short consultation with Jer and plans were finalized to intercept the target somewhere in the Vergas area.

Arriving in the MP 203-204 area, I selected a curve around a pond as the ambush location. Jer reported that he was in hot pursuit of a BNSF westbound and should make the intended photo location near Vergas with time to spare. The next piece of information was a location report to the dispatcher, which placed the train near MP 188 just before Jeramiah's arrival. As the black Silverado drifted by I dismounted and was greeted by a blast of supercooled air, driven by a howling wind.

Jeramiah was wearing a pullover sweatshirt and gloves so I knew the wind chill had to be well below zero. We chatted for a while, then decided to get into position for the shot. As I huddled, shivering, behind a snowbank, I turned around to take in Jer's suffering.

Nothing like roughing it.

Distant blasts of the horn signalled the impending arrival of the train. It seemed like an eternity before the three SOO units swept majestically around the corner into sight.

A final shot, as they pass my location. Jer got them from a slightly different angle, and with some elevation as he has no fear of "teh wind chill", as the kids on the internet would say.

I also got video of the train, but that's for another day. By the time they had passed, and everything was packed up, my hands felt like they might shatter if I bumped them against something hard. And so we went our separate ways, with Mrs. L4T and I headed home for Wadena, after successfully completing the great SD60 intercept of 2011. Thanks for the heads up and the company, Jer, and you are a true Minnesotan! Uffda!


dorcheat said...

I sure do like the winter pics of my beloved Soo Line. For the reader, these pics (I believe) are just north of Vergas at Elbow Lake and just south of the overlook to Lake Ida.

Just up the road on County Road 17 (formerly County Road 35) are what are known as the Vergas Trails, a wild area that is known for four wheel drive trails.

Frederick said...

Yes, you're right, that's the curve around Elbow Lake. It has always been a favorite spot of mine with the water on both sides. I have a cabin a half mile outside of Vergas.

Frederick Wolter