Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lucky Me

There's an old song that talks about how some days are diamonds. From a railfanning perspective today was one of those for me.

After finishing up the paperwork from today's work, a little railfanning adventure seemed to be in order. The River Sub was calling and so I headed south from Red Wing. After a brief stop at the Flower Valley Road crossing, something compelled me to continue southward. As it was only a little way to the Frontenac siding, I soon spotted a loaded COLX train waiting for a meet. This was pretty good evidence of a westbound, and the railfan senses were set to high alert. Sure enough, I was just getting up to speed after the 40 mph zone through Frontenac when the expected headlight appeared, moving fast. The leader was blue and yellow ICE 6451, and it was joined at the head end by three more SD's wearing the same paint scheme.

My first thought was how quick could I turn around and give chase. My second thought was how badly this was going to hurt MN Chris. And my third thought was I hoped there were no state troopers around. After waiting a few seconds for the cars speeding past me to clear I managed to reverse course and start the catch up game. And then I was back in the 40 mph speed zone for Frontenac, seeing the meager amount of ground I had gained melt away. Finally, the two cars in front of me started to speed up and once again I was passing the railcars rather than the reverse. There weren't many miles between my location and Red Wing, and if I didn't catch up before that all hope would be lost. Finally, just as I reached the still-stopped coal train, I was even with the blue and yellow quartet. My speed was limited to just above the speed limit by traffic, and crossed fingers were the order of the day.

Upon reaching Flower Valley Road and making it across the tracks before the gates started dropping, I quickly exited the car and dashed across the road to the music of the 6451's horn. I quickly snapped off this photo:

The all-EMD lashup swept around the corner and approached quickly, and my final shot got them much closer to the crossing. With access to PSE, this would look better as this shot could use a dash of USM, but here it is anyway:

And then, they were gone. I must confess, I sat in the Escape at the crossing, reveling in the sight of the four vintage engines charging northwest with a long freight train trailing behind. Needing to share the experience I posted a quick report to Facebook about NAILING four blue and yellows.

One of the things that I love about railfanning is the exhilaration when things go just right. That might mean lots of well-lit trains, a meet shot, great company on a railfan outing, catching a rare move (for example, the 4449 traversing the Staples Sub), or stumbling upon a really killer consist like this set of power. Lots of the time fanning can be mundane, an enjoyable way to pass time, and a great hobby. But once in a while it surpasses that, and to me at least offers great excitement and a feeling of reward. That's how I was feeling as I sat at that crossing. I did nothing to deserve this show, and still was rewarded with the appearance of these handsome locomotives. It's the kind of rare experience I'll have great memories of and will be able to share with lots of other people. Thanks CP, and keep up the good work!

1 comment:

BJH said...

Nice! The train must have terminated at St. Paul yard as I was sitting at 7th Street on the Kellogg St bridge and never saw them.