Saturday, February 26, 2011

Railfan Bingo

"Under the F, 59. Five Nine. F59."

Bingo, I said on Saturday afternoon as a very late Empire Builder swept into view at the Frazee S-curve. A tip from an OMR poster Kinsly Tarmann the previous evening that this train was running late and had one of the Cascade EMD's in the lead was all the motivation I needed to once again pry myself out of the basement and get trackside.

And so Mrs. L4T and I found ourselves westbound just after lunch. What had once been a 6 hour late train was now fighting a delay nearing 10 hours, and the sun was inching its way around to the south in an attempt to spoil the possibility of a well lit shot.

But I've been railfanning the Staples Sub for a few years now, and there are a couple of tricks that can help defeat the afternoon winter sun. The most effective one is to post yourself at the south end of the Frazee S-curve, which to my knowledge is the spot where the tracks most closely approach a north-south alignment. So it came to be that I was looking almost due north when the shutter was released for this shot:


The train continued on, with me snapping away as it passed, capturing the sight of this fantastic EMD product as it led the Superliners toward Chicago. Having been an EMD fan since I was able to start to tell the difference between locomotives, it was thrilling to see this engine in charge of Amtrak's signature long distance train.


How great it would be to see a solid set of F59's as the power for the Builder. Who knows, maybe that will happen someday. Stranger things have transpired. But whether that dream becomes reality or not, I've got these photos, and my memories of, the day the Empire Builder glided through the Minnesota Prairies behind an Amtrak EMD leader.

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