Sunday, May 31, 2009

Trackside Log for Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sam was visiting this weekend and went back to Toronto this morning.  I dropped her off at the Burlington GO station and then decided to spend some time at the tracks. I swung by Aldershot but nothing was imminent so I drove to Guelph Junction. No signals were set up there so I continued on to Scotch Block to relax. Eventually Canadian National provided a cluster of eastbounds for me to watch.

  • 1254 Scotch Block - CN 148 east - CN 2575-CN 2556
  • 1312 Scotch Block - CN eastbound - CN 5719-IC 1035-CN 2508
  • 1329 Scotch Block - CN eastbound - CN 2566-BCOL 4619 (photo 1, photo 2)

Then it was back to the waiting game. At long last train 339 showed up.

  • 1622 Scotch Block - CN 339 west - CN 8808-CN 2651 (photo)

A while after train 339 passed a Canadian Pacific northbound obtained a clearance onto the Galt Subdivision to proceed westward. Since that was the direction I needed to go I drove to Guelph Junction to intercept it. I was just a bit too late so I drove ahead to Victoria Road where I was able to photograph what turned out to be a rail train.

  • 1720 Puslinch - CP westbound - CP 9547-CP 8724 (photo)

I was visiting my family in Binbrook that evening so after a few pictures I made my way there.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Trackside Log for Monday, May 25, 2009

Well, today was Memorial Day in these parts and I was flying from Minneapolis, Minnesota to Boston, Massachusetts. I slept in a little bit before leaving the Courtyard Hotel and driving to Newport. The Canadian Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe share track there. I hung around for an hour but nothing showed up. I had enough and figured I'd drop by Pig's Eye Yard before driving to the airport. There were a variety of Canadian Pacific locomotives there but nothing worth photographing. I did however photograph a couple of parked engines in the Union Pacific yard.

Then I dropped off the rental car and grabbed lunch at the airport before my flight.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Trackside Log for Sunday, May 24, 2009

Today I awoke to beautiful clear skies in Grand Forks, North Dakota. I set out fairly early to get to Canadian Pacific in Thief River Falls, Minnesota in good time. Since the tracks are aligned north-south I elected to visit there first to take advantage of sun angles. A southbound train was parked in the yard but I couldn't photograph it. However, I did notice a long line of stored power. While navigating to the east side of the yard I found an elevator switcher.

  • 0819 CDT Thief River Falls, MN - elevator switcher - ILSX 1373 (photo)

Next I photographed the long storage line in the yard.

When Marcus and I visited in 2001 Independent Locomotive Services was using the old Soo roundhouse for maintenance. In 2009 they are now gone. Next to the storage line was a pair of snow plows.

  • 0902 CDT Thief River Falls, MN - CP equipment - SOO 900078-SOO 900184 (photo)

Having photographed what I came for I started the drive back to North Dakota to locate the Northern Plains Railroad. Just before entering North Dakota I found another elevator switcher in Oslo, Minnesota.

  • 1002 CDT Oslo, MN - elevator switcher - FECA 1920 (photo)

Why is everything so far apart in this neck of the woods? Eventually I arrived at Fordville, North Dakota, home base of the Northern Plains Railroad.

This little trip was so rewarding that I ran out of slide film while photographing the Northern Plains. At least I still had the digital. Having achieved all my shortline goals I drove to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe mainline west of Fargo, North Dakota to see what action would present itself. I didn't have to wait long.

  • 1437 CDT Casselton, ND - BNSF westbound - BNSF 9960-BNSF 9231-BNSF 8866 (photo)
  • 1453 CDT Casselton, ND - BNSF eastbound - BNSF 4503-BNSF 5308 (photo)
  • 1502 CDT Casselton, ND - BNSF eastbound Herzog - BNSF 791-BNSF 1082 (photo)
  • 1505 CDT Casselton, ND - BNSF westbound - BNSF 1004-BNSF 7501-BNSF 5019-BNSF 4479 (photo)
  • 1549 CDT Casselton, ND - BNSF eastbound - BNSF 6609-BNSF 4096 (photo)
  • 1554 CDT Casselton, ND - BNSF westbound - BNSF 9940-BNSF 8961/BNSF 9713 (photo 1, photo 2)

At 1600 I decided to call it a day. I had to catch a flight from Minneapolis to Boston the next day and wanted to get back before it got late. After a four hour drive along Interstate 94 I pulled into the Courtyard Hotel in Mendota Heights, Minnesota feeling very satisfied with a productive two days of photography.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Trackside Log for Saturday, May 23, 2009

Three days ago I flew from Buffalo, New York to Minneapolis, Minnesota to visit Compellent in Eden Prairie. Some folks from work and I spent two days testing their disk storage array. Everyone else flew back home but I had made arrangements to stay for the Memorial Day long weekend.

This morning I departed the Fairfield Inn in Eden Prairie in my rented Dodge Caliber. The weather started out overcast but I was looking forward to the skies clearing up later on. The first stage of my trip was to follow the Twin Cities & Western toward Appleton, Minnesota. The first town to present a photo opportunity was Glencoe.

While searching town further I noticed a pair of slugs at Seneca Foods.

  • 0844 CDT Glencoe, MN - Twin Cities & Western power - TCWR 201-NS 9830 (photo 1, photo 2)

I continued following the Twin Cities & Western west. I checked out the towns along the way but didn't find any interesting railway subjects until Montevideo, Minnesota where I espied the Milwaukee Road Historical Park.

  • 1057 CDT Montevideo, MN - Milwaukee Road Historical Park - MILW X19-MILW 991960 (photo 1, photo 2)
  • 1059 CDT Montevideo, MN - Milwaukee Road Historical Park - NSP X-5 (79 in number boards) (photo)

I followed the rails all the way to Appleton, Minnesota but did not see anything else on the Twin Cities & Western. My next target was the Sisseton-Milbank Railroad. While en route I heard a Burlington Northern Santa Fe westbound report clear of mile 600. I looked for the nearest mile board on the BNSF track next to me and read mile 590. The train was a mere ten miles ahead of me. I kept moving and caught up to it just before Milbank, South Dakota. I was able to get ahead of the train on the west side of town for a photograph.

  • 1238 CDT Milbank, SD - BNSF westbound - BNSF 4390-BNSF 4980

I went back to Milbank and found the Sisseton-Milbank. The west leg of the wye was full of covered hoppers and the mainline was full of empty coal hoppers. I couldn't find any locomotives though so I followed their tracks to Sisseton. I found plenty of cars parked along the way but no power so I continued to the Canadian Pacific in Hankinson, North Dakota. Once again there were many parked cars but nothing of interest. Next I drove to the Red River Valley & Western's home base of Breckenridge, Minnesota where I hit pay dirt.

  • 1512 CDT Breckenridge, MN - Red River Valley & Western power - RRVW 2001-RRVW 2002-ILSX 179-ILSX 180 (photo 1, photo 2, photo 3, photo 4, photo 5)
  • 1517 CDT Breckenridge, MN - Red River Valley & Western power - RRVW 2005-RRVW 1276-RRVW 2051-RRVW 309 (photo 1, photo 2, photo 3, photo 4)
  • 1521 CDT Breckenridge, MN - Red River Valley & Western power - RRVW 303 (photo)
  • 1536 CDT Breckenridge, MN - Red River Valley & Western power - RRVW 404 (photo)
  • 1542 CDT Breckenridge, MN - Red River Valley & Western equipment - RRVW 113 (photo)

Wow, that was rewarding! Then I grabbed a bite to eat from the local Kentucky Fried Chicken and ate in front of the old station where a Great Northern caboose was on display.

  • 1601 CDT Breckenridge, MN - preserved caboose - GN X111 (photo)

My next railway was the nearby Otter Tail Valley in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. Soon after arrival I could hear them switching somewhere in town. I searched but couldn't find them. After the third time by their engine shed I got extremely lucky. They were just about to park three of the four locomotives inside.

  • 1700 CDT Fergus Falls, MN - Otter Tail Valley power - MNN 1484-MNN 1463-OTVR 192

The MNN 1484 cut off the trailing two engines before taking off westward. The previously set off OTVR 3900 then joined the two geeps inside the shed.

  • 1708 CDT Fergus Falls, MN - Otter Tail Valley power - MNN 1484
  • 1710 CDT Fergus Falls, MN - Otter Tail Valley power - OTVR 3900

After some photographs in nice light I followed the Otter Tail Valley Railroad northwestward to Dilworth, Minnesota where I checked out the BNSF yard. There were dozens of engines but nothing photographable.

I decided that Grand Forks, North Dakota would be my final destination for the day. During the drive there I ran across an elevator switcher at the Alton Grain Terminal.

  • 1917 CDT south of Hillsboro, ND - Alton Grain Terminal switcher - DLSX 2307 (photo)

When I got to Grand Forks I immediately drove to the old roundhouse which I knew from my previous visit in 2001 would be my only chance for decent light.

  • 2006 CDT Grand Forks, ND - BNSF power - BNSF 3404 (photo)

That was it for the day's photography. I found a room at the America's Best Value Inn, filled the car with petrol and me with a sub before calling it a day.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Trackside Log for Sunday, May 17, 2009

I was spending the day at home relaxing mostly.  It was a somewhat typical day for the Canadian Pacific Hamilton subdivision.  There were no trains until late in the afternoon.  Eventually I heard train 426 call out the Boyle mile sign.  I drove down to mile 23 for a photograph across a field of corn stubble.

  • 1807 Pelham - CP 426 south - CP 9530-CP 8609

After my photographs I turned back for home.  That was all for daylight trains, but after dark there was a couple.

  • 2235 Fenwick - CP 254 south - CP 8820-CP AC4400CW
  • 2351 Fenwick - CP 247 north - CP 9766-CP SD40-2

Thus ended another (rather uneventful) day.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Trackside Log for Thursday, May 14, 2009

This morning I woke up with a migraine caused by changing air pressure.  Consequently I stayed home from work for the day.  The Canadian Pacific Hamilton Subdivision was quiet the entire day until about 1645 when I heard job 2 announce they were entering the main track and headed to Smithville.  By that time my headache was nearly gone so I popped up the road to take a photograph.
  • 1700 Fenwick - CP job 2 north - CP 3032-CP 3097
The train had a Canada grain car for a buffer and four pipe loads.  A few minutes after I arrived back home I heard job 2 clear a southbound through its working limits.  After a few games of cribbage on my iPod I heard the southbound report mile board Boyle and out I went again to take a photograph.
  • 1749 Fenwick - CP 426 south - CP 9586-CP 9806
I didn't know when job 2 would turn back but I knew it wouldn't be long.  I drove back home but as soon as I turned onto my driveway I heard its horn approaching.  Back out I went.
  • 1759 Fenwick - CP job 2 south - CP 3097-CP 3032
As expected the pipe loads were now gone and the spacer car remained.