Saturday, August 20, 2011

Nosing Around Noyes

Hallock, MN, Monday August 8-with work taking me to NW MN once again, I was on the lookout for train action while travelling from Wadena to Hallock. I was surprised by one eastbound CP near Mahnomen, but the clouds removed any incentive to try a shot. The only other rail action spotted on the way up was a lonely ballast regulator heading north out of Crookston. Photos were shot under high sun out of habit but not worth sharing.

After a short stop in Argyle, the trip to Hallock continued. It was after 4:00 before I was done and could head for my home base for the week in TRF. I did spot one interesting item in town before leaving. This photo, along with a pair of RJ Corman sideboom cats that passed through Argyle just after lunch, are clues to one of the subjects of my next post.

The journey to TRF began with the Escape pointed east on Highway 175. A couple of miles before reaching Highway 59, lo and behold, I spotted railcars moving northwest on the CP. A slight increase in speed wasn't enough to reach the intersection before the train had passed but it was visible up the road, and so a left turn was made in place of a right. The chase was on.

Nearly catching the train on the south side of Lancaster, he once again opened up a gap as I had to slow to pass through town. That gap quickly closed after leaving town, and this shot is from a spot near the NW MN metropolis of Orleans.

Having passed a detector, it seemed like a good idea to fire up the scanner and get an axle count on the train. Lo and behold, within a minute I heard BNSF 5471 calling the dispatcher for permission to leave Noyes. My fate was sealed. Off to Noyes it was, passing through the booming community of Humboldt, the turn-off to St. Vincent, and finally, the destination. There was no nose light on the power, and after a u-turn I shot something kind of "artsy"-some CP rolling stock, as seen looking under a tank car in the BNSF train.

Knowing the BNSF train would be travelling away from the sun for a bit, I decided to risk a turn north to once again intercept the CP westbound. Here he is, approaching the border as the train passes the rolling stock seen in the previous photo.

Then it was back on the horse to chase down the BNSF eastbound. Just south of Humboldt was the opportunity to get him passing front of a wheat field, and I took it:

Say, what's that strange looking car coupled directly behind the power? Why it looks like a four truck heavy load flat, earning its keep carrying something big and heavy.

By this time my back, which had been sore all weekend, was really starting to flare up. Setting a reverse course I headed for TRF once again, with about an hour and a half drive ahead of me. The scanner was still on and all of a sudden announce another CP train, and just a couple of minutes later I hoisted myself out of the car for this shot, which should have been better but wasn't since I was moving pretty slowly.

That was it until I reached Thief, where a plethora of maroon and gold units waited. I reached the hotel after a great evening of railfanning, with good luck on the train count, paint scheme, and variety fronts. Gotta love NW MN!

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