Monday, July 30, 2012

Learning Superior

If you don't know where you are going, you have a few options. One of the most commonly used (by me at least) is to keep blundering on in hopes of getting somewhere. You can also use things like GPS or maps. Advice from a trusted friend is always useful. The most valuable solution, though, is an experienced guide. That's what I lucked into last Wednesday when Dan Mackey was kind enough to give me a grand tour of Twin Ports railfanning locations. I know this wasn't all-inclusive, I don't think you could do that in a full day around here, but it was a great introduction. And there were even trains!

After a quick stop at McDonalds (take out), Dan soon knew exactly where to wait for this trifecta of EMD's as it brought a cut of cars from Duluth up a grade into the Superior yard. The GP's weren't able to get the job done themselves so the SD was placed in helper service as the long transfer made the loop toward the yard.

These 8 axle flat cars made up a good portion of the train with what looked like wind generators aboard. Must have been one of the reasons so much tractive effort was needed. Dan managed to get elevation to shoot this train.

Now for a brief OMR tidbit. On the previous Sunday, when I was on the way back to Superior from Staples, a train of DME and ICE hoppers was making its way onto the Brainerd Sub at Staples. Knowing how excited Chis Muller would be, I called him with a live report. When I mentioned 4 bay DME hoppers he asked what kind, so this photo is intended to provide that info.

We now resume our Twin Ports discussion. Dan had a good idea of what was going on from the radio chatter. Being a novice in the area, when I asked him where 15.9 was, he gave me a funny look and said something like "a mile from 14.9". Then we were off for places like Saunders, and Boylston, where I think I shot this after running the hundred yard dash in as good a time as I can muster due to my wandering off and not observing where the qualified guide set up. Note to self: "PAY ATTENTION!"

And the hits just kept on coming. The Benzene bridge, MP 15.9, where a coal load and coal empty met, and yet another bridge south of town, which Dan was kind enough to drive down to. By this time I didn't even know what color locomotives might show up. As we pulled up to this location Dan asked if I saw a headlight coming. Sure enough, the CN delivered a train just in the knick of time.

And it just went on. Grassy Point Draw, Mikes Yard. The pair of Rice's Point yards, and all the trackage down in the port area, where a CP job was working. A ship loading at one of the massive elevators in Superior. The action never stopped.

I want to say thanks to Dan for the great tour. I'm looking forward to learning the area, and getting to know more of the fans around here.

1 comment:

Tracy McKibben said...

Love the last shot!