Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What a Way to Start the Day

What might you see when you look for trains passing through Wadena? This:

Yesterday morning I was bound for Eagle Bend. It seemed like a quick trip uptown for some kind of gas station breakfast would be a good idea, so I grabbed the camera and made the short detour north before heading back south on Highway 71. Wonder of wonders, a glance to the west as I crossed the tracks revealed a headlight. I quickly swung into Orton's lot and unlimbered the camera. Another shot as the train approached, much slower than the Builder normally passed through Wadena:

With a train "in the bag" for the day, I was able to dream about what the GN line towards Sauk Center used to look like, back in the days when the tracks connected the hamlets of Hewitt, and Bertha, and Eagle Bend, among others, to more significant population centers further on down the line. It was a pleasant trip.

1 comment:

dorcheat said...

Hello Jim,

As always, an outstanding set of pics: catching and shooting the tardy Builder.

I liked your comments concerning the abandoned GN line from Sauk Centre to Walker (the "K Line" as you wrote a few weeks ago). During my travels from Detroit Lakes to St. Cloud during the early to mid 1980's, I would always look at the curved connecting track from the NP Hi Line to the GN K line near the then Ken Stuntebeck Ford dealership in Wadena. These tracks were finally pulled up I think during the summer of 1986.

I also remember Wadena Junction and the old NP branch line that ran through Henning, Underwood, Fergus Falls, and through Wahpeton and Oakes, North Dakota. I think this line was called the Fergus Falls/Oakes Line. Of course, Wadena Junction is now abandoned and the tracks pulled up to just east of Fergus Falls near the Hoot Lake Power Plant.

This line still remains from just west of Fergus Falls to along Minnesota 210 to the Ottertail-Wilkin County border line just west of the French, MN grain elevators. West of where the tracks were pulled up, the BN neglected to remove the original NP mile marker signs numbered 55 and 57. These signs should be displayed in a museum, but they would make fabulous railroadiana souvenirs for us railfans. ;D

Finally, during my collegiate years at St. Cloud State, I lived with a couple of guys from Sauk Centre. They complained bitterly about how the BN completely abandoned Sauk Centre. Of course, the BN abandoned the above mentioned K line as well as the old alternate GN main line from Minneapolis to Fergus Falls. The BN also abandoned an old NP line from Little Falls through Sauk Centre, Glenwood, and into Morris. I have no clue what this line was called, perhaps you or your readers can school me.