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Steam! The SP#4449 Daylight. July 9th

Despite the wonderful spotting up in Duluth things are still conspiring against me. Holiday weekends haven't worked out and I've now run three marathons already this year. But there has been one event that I've been looking forward to this year. As has everyone on the Outstate Minnesota Rail forum on Yahoo! and that is the arrival of  the SP#4449 "Daylight" on its way to Owosso, MI from Portland, OR for the 2009 train festival.
I, along with many other forum members I suspect. Had been eyeing the weather warily as the day approached. The forecast for the day was not at all promising, chances of showers and even thunderstorms. But who believes the weatherman anyway? Well this day he was half right the train left Fargo in a thunderstorm but for me in central Minnesota it was a beautiful day. I was feeling good about my chaces of a good shot as I left home and headed for Saint Cloud. Of course a dozen miles down the road things clouded over. It wasn't going to rain but there would be no beautiful blue sky in my shots. As I arrived at the Amtrak depot there was already about 20 people there and the number slowly grew as the arrival time neared. I set myself up right at the North end of the platform so that no-one would get in the way of my shot. Then around about noon I spied the bright headlamp and the orange livery in the distance as she arrived and pulled into the station.
4449 arrives in Saint Cloud
She certainly made for a very nice sight. But with close to perhaps 100 people milling around her it would be difficult to get any decent shots of her. Besides, a loco like this one needs to be seen at speed so I quickly packed up and headed south to Becker where I would be able to view her running at speed. As I headed south along Hwy 10 alongside the railway I was amazed to see that every crossing had several railfans armed with cameras ready to record the event. I easily reached my chosen location at Co. Rd 50 and Hwy 10 just south of Becker and set my equipment up and waited.
and waited... and waited...
Something was clearly amiss. It hadn't broken down was it? I turned on my scanner to see if I could get any clue. Then a couple of other railfans arrived and informed us that she was having to wait at the NSP siding as there was a freight train in Big Lake that was having to leave a bad order car in a siding and was blocking both main lines.  A two hour delay was mentioned. Luckily that didn't happen and shortly afterwards the headlight appeared from behind a tree and the train headed past us at speed.
4449 appears from behind a tree
 4449 gets closer
and closer
Here it is #4449 at speed
A steam locomotive at speed is a magnificent sight and this one did not disappoint at all. This made the whole day worthwhile. All the years previous trainspotting let-downs were forgotten in an instant. I also took Mrs TS-USA's camera along because it had video capability on it. You can see that here on YouTube.
As I have said earlier there were several other members of the OMR group out lineside recording the event. In fact you can almost follow the entire journey across Minnesota to Minneapolis through their photographs.
First, Jeremiah Rindahl captured a lovely b/w shot at Little Falls, then Jim "Look For Trains" Ramnes followed it from Richards Spur to Staples. Then it was the turn of Mike Vandenberg who followed it all the way from New York Mills down to Saint Cloud where I took over. If any more photgraphs appear from other members I shall update this page with their links too. The train makes the return trip west in October perhaps I shall be lineside that day too.