Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Now Departing for Randall, the Twin Cities, and Points East...

So today, after an early morning Holiday stop in Wadena, it was off for Randall again. ATCS showed the dispatcher had an eastbound lined from two to one in Wadena, and the thought that it might be Amtrak crossed my mind. Sure enough, within seconds of getting back in the vehicle, the scanner crackled with the Builder calling the approach signal to Wadena. Off to the races.

Instead of the depot shot that has been done so many times I figured on trying something out in the woods. One eye was on a pesky cloud approaching the Quicken Road crossing, as the sun played peek-a-boo. Sadly, it was hiding as the GE's roared around the corner at track speed, leaving nothing but a blur on the memory card. This is all there is to prove that I have indeed seen the Empire Builder pass the location.

At Philbrook, a manifest had been holding waiting for the passenger train to pass, and was quickly underway. With a few minutes to go before work started, I stood trackside waiting for the freight, which the people I was working with found wildly entertaining. No amount of coaxing was able to get anyone else with a camera out to shoot this train with me.

After wrapping up around 3 PM, I left for the Twin Cities, where my day will start early Thursday. Seemed like a great chance to grab some Northstar action, starting with this colorful consist at Big Lake.

I so wanted to shoot him passing through Elk River, but stuck in the left turn lane on Highway 10, I raged as TWO nicely lit trains passed with no chance for photos, including the Utah unit shown above. This had to be the longest red light I ever suffered through, missing the eastbound Northstar and a westbound freight shortly after, unable to do anything about it. Railfanning in the Metro is tough duty!

Figuring there had to be another commuter train headed out, staking out the location seemed the proper course of action. The wait was only 10 or 15 minutes before this beauty blew through town.

And then again, near Ramsey, I picked a nice spot to wait for the third Northstar of the day. Luckily, this time the left turn light allowed me to cross the westbound lanes of Highway 10 and the tracks before the train arrived, although the headlight was visible when crossing.

It's so strange to hear the detectors announcing the passage of trains with "total axles one six".

One more note on today. Around lunch, while eating at Kim's on Pacific in Randall, the trumpeting of an air horn announced the imminent arrival of an eastbound. Turned out to be the pair of SD40-2's that were on the container train in Staples the previous day, headed back toward Northtown light engine, and making good time. They were gone before I even had a chance to run for the camera.

And that was my day.

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