Saturday, May 11, 2013

Staples Sub Redux

I lived along the Staples Sub for 8 years. Spent a lot of time railfanning the tracks in the Wadena area over those 8 years, in fact, the majority of the posts on this blog are related to the Staples Sub. In a way, it was and always will be my railfanning "hometown". All this means that cutting ties with the area is bittersweet. And yesterday Mrs. L4T and cut our final material ties with Wadena when the sale of our house closed.

That meant a trip over to Wadena, with the attendant visit to the Staples Sub. MN Chris has joked I don't know how many times about my comment on crossing the tracks and seeing a headlight. Well, yesterday I didn't even make it across the tracks before a headlight showed up, just as we were approaching the Staples depot. After some fancy driving I found myself in position to fire off three quick poorly lit, badly composed frames, which caught the entire consist of a track inspection train headed east on the Staples.

I made it all the way to Dower Lake before being distracted once again. This photo was shot on the trip home, but is an overall view of what that distraction was. What strikes me about this is change-whereas it used to be expected to see a number of coal trains staged in the yard at Staples, currently you are much more likely to catch it with oil trains in residence, as we did yesterday.

That north train had interesting power as shown here. I haven't had the chance to feast on NS heritage units as many of you have, so this was a must-shoot for me. Viva Penn Central!

We arrived in Wadena with a bit of time to kill, and one way we did it was to get a shot of the pair of GP50's on the Wadena local. Not sure what was going on that kept them tied up the entire time we were there, but something unusual was in the works. Anyway, here is the mismatched couple:

And then our closing was pushed off for an extra hour and a half. With nothing to do, a ride west seemed to be in order. We made it to New York Mills and were on the way back when we encountered a classic Staples Sub coal empty passing through Bluffton. A true reminder of times past.

Then it was time for business, followed by the long drive home. A couple of poorly lit eastbounds accompanied us to Staples, where we took the diverging route the follows the Brainerd Sub east. That was quiet with the exception of a loaded coal train encountered near Deerwood, which we chose not to shoot. 

It was a day that brought back many good memories. I will always look back on the time we spent in Wadena fondly. While I know I will railfan the Staples Sub again, it will be as a visitor, not in my backyard, and that will be different.