Friday, July 15, 2011


Actually, I saw a few pushers today. Most of them were what we have come to think of as conventional pushers, or Distributed Power Units. These are the locomotives on the rear (at least in this area) of the train, which are controlled by the engineer up front. This coal train, which was photographed going east through the Verndale sag, had a pretty nice looking MAC pushing. Since the tail end unit was facing the wrong way I only shot the head end power.

After a stop north of Eagle Bend, the journey continued on toward Randall. Since it was lunchtime, a detour down old Highway 10 near Lincoln was possible, and another train popped up, this time what looked like oil cans. I missed the head end, but got the "pusher"-a fairly new GEVO. This was an absolute snap shot as I lumbered up the hill just as the loco disappeared around the corner.

And now on to what I hinted about on Facebook earlier today-a "manned helper", something that should be unheard of on the Staples Sub in this day and age. It seems like those tie cars must be getting loaded pretty heavy, though, as this train showed up passing under the old Highway 10 bridge:

Yes, there is a second hi-rail on the rear, and it's manned-as a matter of fact the two guys in it gave me a funny look as I shot them passing by. Here's a going away shot after they passed under me:

It can't be that they needed the power, as I've seen these trucks move 10 cars on their own. Maybe by tieing everything together they can travel as one "train" and get to where they are going faster, I don't know. Whatever the reason, it was one of those things that really gets your attention. An oddity.

And when I got back to Wadena, sure enough, Chris, I looked down the tracks as I crossed to go home and saw a headlight. It seemed a waste not to try and shoot him, even though the light was terrible. More crude oil tanks. With three units up front this one had no DPU. You can almost smell the creosote boiling off those ties in this shot.

And then it was home, and back to work. I sure wish I could get caught up. For now, I'm thankful for seeing some trains, and the manned helper of July 2011.

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