Monday, July 30, 2012
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.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
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.
Saturday, July 14, 2012
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Turned out to be a good thing, as a CN train had just reached the dock. I was trying to figure out a way to get a shot of the engines as they ran around the train. By the time I figured out how to get where I wanted to be it was too late. Option B seemed to involve trying a shot from the parking lot of the new school. I got a string of loads ready for the ore dock, part of the MERC coal pile, and some Enbridge tanks all in the same shot.
And then the engines backed down onto the train, offering the chance at another shot. The three leaders were all 6000 series EMD's, which is where the cure for homesickness comes in. Seeing those engines brought back some real old memories.
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
All of which is a long introduction to this morning. For some unknown reason I checked the status of the eastbound Empire Builder, and sure enough it was late. In fact it should be in Staples at about the time that would allow me to attempt to duplicate the 2007 shot linked above. And so I was off. I decided to wait for the train at Wadena, where the dispatcher had him lined to cross over from Main 2 to Main 1. Consider that shot accomplished.