Sunday, March 13, 2011

Snowy Southwest Minnesota

So last week, I had to make a trip to the Tyler and New Ulm areas. I was hopeful about catching a little DME or Marshall Sub action, but came away with little to show from a railfanning perspective, although I was suitably impressed with the massive snowdrifts that were everywhere. They have much more snow on the ground than central MN, with the amount increasing as you travel south and west.

I followed the Marshall Sub from Willmar all the way to the DME crossing near Highway 14, but a section crew replacing a rail near Raymond kind of dashed any hopes of BNSF trains for the day. This was a disappointment as the section south of Marshall is one of my favorite sections of railroad in the state. Then, to add insult to injury, the DME ran a train through Tyler just as the meeting I was there for started. After that appointment was complete, I headed for New Ulm. The blue and yellow railroad doesn't really parallel the highway for a lot of the way. I swung into Tracy to see if I could repeat Jer's catch of the pride of the DME but had no luck. However, when I passed through Springfield, I was greeted by the sight of a BNSF shuttle train sitting at the massive elevator there. I grabbed a shot in the fog. This is a massive elevator that loads many trains, and I've heard they have the ability to store 10 million bushels of corn. I know they can load trains fast, as I was lucky enough to stumble across one loading three years ago. Today everything was quiet, as I think the train was waiting for a crew to take it west to the BNSF connection at Florence.

On my way to the office in New Ulm the next morning a swing by the yard caught a set of GP40's sitting in front of the depot. It's always neat to shoot some trains out the car window.

When I finished up in New Ulm, I had to run back to Tyler for another meeting. The train in Springfield was gone, but now there was a different power set sitting at Lamberton. I'm not sure what the purpose was, as there was what looked like a complete grain train and a complete ethanol train sitting near the Highwater Ethanol plant just west of that burg. Again, no action at the elevator. The neat thing, that I didn't even notice until I uploaded the pictures, was the ES44C4 on the head end of this power set. First one I've seen in a while.

The only trains I saw the next day were at Perry's Hobbies in Morgan, where I managed to convince myself to invest in an Exact Rail MDW boxcar, an Intermountain covered hopper, and a set of Walthers Bethgons for the stunningly low price of $59 plus change. And, no shipping fee!

A stop in Bird Island revealed no TCW action, nor was the CP doing anything when I went through Belgrade. So trainwise, it was a quiet week. That's all!

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