Thursday, January 26, 2012


With Northwest Minnesota work awaiting me Wednesday and Thursday, I set off after lunch Tuesday with a destination of Thief River Falls. The plan for the next couple of days was the Warren-Argyle-Stephen-Hallock area, and TRF is a good place to work out of when up in that part of the state.

Before even leaving town the tail end of an intermodal train was spotted, and after some thought I decided to shoot him at the Big Woods just east of Perham. After a very brief wait, the trio of Dash 9's appeared. The side-lighting is strong this time of year, but here's my best effort.

Then the story got a little more interesting. A CP westbound was fooling around in the Vergas area, and it sounded like a meet in Callaway was possible. My thought was to try and make it north of town soon enough to get the eastbound in the sun. After reaching DL and seeing nothing to the south, it seemed like the odds were I had made it. Sure enough, a foreman was on the radio with news that the weld they were making would take another half hour and the dispatcher might want to let the eastbound come to DL for the meet. But he didn't want to mess with changing the warrants. Fine by me. North I went, knowing that there was a train out there somewhere, coming toward me and the sun. Nothing but a long string of grain cars was visible at Callaway, so the trip north continued. Imagine the disappointment felt when the CP 2010 called the dispatcher to report problems with the spout at the Callaway elevator and ask if the meet could be moved south as they couldn't get out of the way. Somehow, a bandit had eluded me!

Since traffic is fairly light on the DL Sub, I pretty much gave up hope of seeing anything else. That's always a good way to be surprised, and it worked again, as I spotted the glow of a headlight between Bejou and Winger, and managed to get this shot in nice light.

That was the end of the trains for Tuesday. A text from Jer later that day confirmed that the local had a bandit leader and I had missed it!

Having felt fine when I left home, by night I was in the grips of a world-class head cold and was able to get very little sleep. I set out for work the next morning, and was able to keep going until after lunch, but then gave in and called off the trip. Homeward bound, with Dayquil, coughdrops, and decongestant powering me.

In somewhere near the same location as the previous day, I again spotted a headlight. This time it was a westbound, and this time the overcast was heavy. Being in no condition to do anything fancy, I drove across the tracks and shot him out the car window. Today, the bandit was trailing.

I spotted 4 westbounds on the Staples Sub between DL and Wadena, but the call of home was strong, I felt extremely crappy, and it was very overcast, so no photos. All I have to show for 400+ miles of driving is a trifecta of train photos.

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