Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Return of DST

After spending the better part of the afternoon wrestling with TurboTax (which by the way was programmed, with the help of the federal tax code, to drive normal people insane), a distinct need for a mental health break arose. There was the opportunity to head for the basement and staple up another box of ceiling tile, but then again the sun was out. It wasn't too hard to convince Mrs. L4T that we should go someplace. When she asked where I blurted out "Staples". 'Twas not to be.

Arriving in downtown Wadena, rather than a headlight greeting us, there were not one but two trains passing through town. As is normal Main Two was hosting the eastbound, while a crude oil train was headed west on Main One. Entering available data into my railfan calculator the destination of Staples was quickly replaced with "somewhere west of that crude oil train". We were off.

He was rolling along pretty good. I barely arrived at the overpass west of NYM with time to get this shot.

This was a short train. In fact it's a pretty good bet that Christopher Muller could duplicate it on his layout under construction. The detector at MP 174 announced that none of the 246 axles had defects. I figured it out in my head, and counting the three-six axle locomotives and the buffer car, that comes out to 56 tank cars.

A glance to the west as the train passed below the highway revealed another headlight, headed my way. Weaving through traffic allowed a couple of backlit shots of the power on this train. A pair of CSXT GE's were leading a BNSF MAC and a CSXT EMD unit with a spartan cab. My guess is it was a grain train, but it's just that-a guess.

With the low fuel light on we headed back to Wadena. I tried shooting the visitor one more time as he rolled through town with "meh" results. It did provide the opportunity to notice the pair of pile drivers parked on the former Leaf River Ag spur. Maybe that had something to do with all the pilings laying along the right-of-way near the bridge west of the Bluffton crossing. Seems the Staples Sub will be seeing some major work once again this summer. Probably cause some slow traffic days, with the backups hopefully resulting in fleets of train when the light is nice. Like during Verndale Rail. Again, hopefully.

Speaking of light, thanks to the switch back to Daylight Savings Time there was still enough for one more train. Having heard the CSX train would be waiting for one at Staples (someone else was making a pickup, and had Main Two occupied), we knew there was still a chance. Might as well try the sag. And this time, it worked-we spotted a headlight as we crossed the tracks.

This train made it two out of three on the day for spartan cabs. Heck, this one even threw in a four axle unit for good measure. The power set was an H1 GE, followed by a bright and shiny 40 series six axle, a GP50 in original paint, and another GE, this time an H2.

That was it, as Mrs. L4T needed to get home. So with full stomachs thanks to McD's, we headed back for the house, with dreams of good light on evening westbounds dancing in our heads.

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