Saturday, January 21, 2012

Amtrak Under the Overcast

I was minding my own business in my happy place (the basement, working on installing turnout controls) right after lunch when Mrs. L4T came roaring down the stairs, hollering something about a phone call. When I answered, it was Bryant on the other end, bearing news of a very late Amtrak train he had just spotted rolling under the overpass near Dilworth. My schedule became adjusted.

After another hour or so of tinkering with tiny bits of wire the Mrs. and I hit the road, headed for downtown Wadena and hopefully an appointment with the Empire Builder. The phrase gets overused sometimes, but sure enough, when we crossed the tracks I spotted a headlight to the west. Racing to the east edge of town and pulling over, we were just in time to catch not the Builder, but a crude oil train headed down the Staples Sub.

Mrs. L4T commented that the train I just shot bore no resemblance to the Amtrak train I had promised. My response included a plea for a little patience, and we relocated to a spot closer to the crossover as I suspected the Builder would be going from Main Two to Main One at Wadena. That suspicion was soon confirmed by ATCS, and before long another headlight appeared to the west. This time it was the Amtrak train.

Since she had been so patient it only seemed right to reward the wife with a ride. We took off chasing the Builder, and paced him at about 73 mph between Wadena and Verndale, where he didn't have to slow down for the cop (who is our friend, by the way.)

I was able to maintain "track speed" longer than the train could as we approached Staples, and so managed to get across the tracks during his quick station stop. Here's the Empire Builder one more time, as he throttles up and pulls away from the Staples depot.

A big thanks to Bryant for his tip on this train. Without that I would likely have spent the entire afternoon in the basement, not to mention how much Mrs. L4T enjoyed the opportunity to get out trackside for a bit.


Steve said...

Nice story Jim!

Bryant said...

You're welcome! Nice shots and a great writeup as usual.