Thursday, October 20, 2011

Morning Coal, Afternoon 'Bonnets

A day trip to Lake Park always brings out the railfan in a person, and today was no different. By the time I made it to Detroit Lakes, the sun was peeking up over the horizon. When a westbound coal empty showed up, it seemed like just the chance to try to catch him with morning sun lighting up his flank.

Knowing there was a DPU on this train, I waited to get a shot of the end as it rounded the curve at Richards Spur. The DPU's sometimes have FRED hanging off the coupler, but luckily this one didn't. Some fans pet peeve seems to be open cab doors, but I'm more put off by a DPU facing the right way and nicely lit, but wearing a FRED.

There was no way I could get to the S-curves in Lake Park ahead of him, or even behind him, as the tail end of the train was just disappearing when I pulled up. So off to work it was, just a couple of blocks from the tracks and stewing as every train passed. You can be just about anywhere but on the bridge in Lake Park, and not see the train that is passing through town due to the cut. The railfan's frustration sure entertains those he is working with, though.

Soon enough it was time to head for home. Before even reaching Audubon, though, circumstances dictated a u-turn. A dandy looking warbonnet was leading a string of grain cars west, with a CSX EMD the other unit in the consist. This one was shot near my third favorite Staples Sub tree, just east of Boyer Lake.

CSX must have farmed out a lemon to BNSF in this case, as not long after this was shot, the 706 called the dispatcher to inform him they had lost the second unit. With the downhill run to Dilworth, they should have had no problem with power but maybe needed a bit more brake since the EMD's dynamics might have been AWOL as well.

Before reaching Richards Spur, another u-turn was needed. The target was another warbonnet-led train, this one looked to be a solid block of DDG cars. 97 of them to be exact, as the Lake Park detector later announced he had an even 400 axles. Here's the shot, just west of Audubon with the elevator in the background.

I missed one more coal empty just outside DL, and a pretty Z train with what looked like a matched set of four H2 Dash 9's on the point near Perham. That was the end of the rail action for the day, but what I saw was entertaining. Next week I will be over that way a couple more times, so may get a chance for more Staples Sub action.

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