Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Never Again

No, I haven't done something I regret. In fact quite the opposite, in looking back over some old photos I find things I'm thankful to have taken the chance to do when I had the opportunity. You can probably guess from the tagline on the photos I somehow ended up rp.net tonight and wound up nostalgic.

The changes I have seen in my few years as a serious railfan are truly amazing. I can remember when a GE Dash 9, while not a surprise, was a refreshing change of pace on the Staples Sub. The SD40-2's I expected to dominate the railroad forever are pretty much no more, with the exception of transfer, yard, and short distance service. Not so long ago, this was a fairly common site on one of my Saturday morning trips to Staples (which are pretty much history as well!)

At the very least, these road numbers have been usurped by GE's, along with a place on the hot trains operated by the railroad.

In some cases it's more than just the railroad itself that has changed. Wadena is a prime case, where the former feed and seed plant that made for a nice photo backdrop is no longer. Many's the time that I waited for a train to show up so I could try and work the mill into the photo. Those were pre-ATCS and in some cases pre-scanner days as well. It all worked on this day:

The idea that there would come a day when catching a pair of green 40's on a V train would pass never crossed my mind when I tripped the shutter.

A lot of the change is in motive power. Of course the SD40 series dates back to the 60's and 70's, older than many of the fans out chasing them (not me, though). Everything has it's day in the sun, and those engines day was longer than most. However just being newer is no guarantee of a long career. Here's a string of power that stopped to rest in Wadena one day a few years ago. Of the nine units shown, only the MAC is still doing what it was intended to do that day. I believe the SD60's and 60M, along with the warbonnet, are going, going, gone from BNSF. Not sure what happened to the maroon leaser, and the 40's on the tail end might be sporting numbers borrowed from a former SD9 or somesuch and a horsepower downgrade.

Here's one more that will likely never be repeated. This has always been a favorite of mine, not because of the quality, but because I remember how lucky I was to get the chance. While on a trip to Cloquet, with little time to spare, the train showed up at just the right time. This trio of EMD's will likely never polish the rails of the Brainerd Sub again.

A look back sure can reveal a lot of changes, even over not so many years.

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