Sunday, June 12, 2011

Chasing with Chris

Saturday morning found Mrs. L4T and I on the road to Bemidji. Her Mom fell down a week or so ago and suffered a slight pelvic fracture, and is doing the rehab stint at the Bemidji hospital. Her recovery is going great, and she hopes to be able to go home this week.

I didn't plan on spending the entire day in the hospital though. After contacting MN Chris plans were made to visit the Bemidji model railroad layout. Around lunchtime we met up in the depot basement where I pestered Chris while he tried to lay some replacement flex track on the club layout. We were swapping tall tales about railfanning when a growing rumble tipped us off to a passing train.

Chris had seen a DEEX empty come into Cass Lake before heading to town and expected a crew would arrive shortly to continue the trip west, but we were still taken a bit by surprise. It's doubtful there has ever been a quicker exodus from the layout room of the club as we both beat feet for the Escape to make chase. Getting out of Bemidji was slow, and the train had a fairly good lead on us, but we passed him somewhere east of Bagley and swung into town for a shot as the empty passed the old GN water tower. Here's my effort:

But Chris had greater plans. There's a place in Minnesota, that I didn't even know existed, called Ebro. Ebro is a unique spot, because it's one place along the Grand Forks sub where the track curves around toward the south and offered the hope of some decent light. Chris "encouraged" me to make the best possible time to our ultimate destination. Matter of fact, I felt a bit like "Ruler on Ice" as he galloped toward the finish line in the Belmont Stakes.

Anyway, it all worked out as we beat the train to a little bridge across some body of water with a minute to spare. The stopping place I picked wasn't conducive to the telephoto lenses we had, but I decided to do what I could with mine. Chris, on the other hand, stuck his head in the back of the Escape, grabbed a short lens, and made the switch so quickly all I saw was a blur. He was standing next to me as the train rolled into view. He must practice changing lenses blindfolded on new moon nights to be that quick!

Anyway, that's a lot of babbling just to introduce the picture, which was actually spoiled by the presence of an inconvenient cloud.

And then it was time to reverse the route and dash back to Bemidji. Having finished one of the mains on the club layout, Chris set up a gorgeous ethanol train with a pair of custom painted DME SD40-2's up front. It was a lovely site making its way around the layout. That Chris is quite the rennisance man-not only an excellent rail photog, but also an artist with the airbrush.

Thanks for the entertaining afternoon, Chris! What better way to pass the time than sandwiching a chase of an ACe-led coal train between a couple of stints at the model railroad club?

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