Chasing the PRS. Duluth, June 12-13
|I love Duluth. It's
one of my
two favourite cities in the world. I could quite happily live there, my
wife feels the same too. We try to get up there several times a year.
We have just recently returned from a long weekend there.
One of my aims for the trip was to catch the Proctor Road Switch at work. This (The PRS) is the name given to the working from the yard in Proctor above Duluth down the hill to the taconite docks and back. Amazingly in the 10 years we have been going to Duluth I've only seen the PRS coming up Proctor hill once, on my first trip to Duluth. Asking around I managed to find out when the workings were. It's pretty much a round the clock operation but knowing when the turns started helped me to get in place at an appropriate time.
The day we arrived in Duluth was a foggy one. My wife felt like a nap after the drive up so with the fog lifting a bit I decided to sneak out of our hotel (conveniently located alongside the railway line) and see if anything transpired. With the busy interstate behind me there was very little quiet to be able to hear what was going on. But after a while I did indeed hear the sound of some hard working units coming up the hill. Quite exciting! What was to be on the point? Two years ago it would have been a Duluth Missabe and Iron Range loco (DMIR) but since their take over by the Canadian National they are rapidly being repainted from their beautiful Maroon and Yellow to dull CN Red and Black. I was expecting a CN unit of some description. So imagine my surprise when a Bessemer and Lake Erie SD was at the head. The BLE was a sister line to the DMIR and was also taken over by the CN. This certainly made things more interesting and I was quite happy to see the "canoodle" units obstructed by the BLE Orange. They were bringing up limestone from the harbour to be taken to be used in the manufacture of the taconite pellets. After that the fog came drifting in rather thickly and I abandoned any more plans to photograph until the next day...
|The next day, Friday,
bright and sunny and with Mrs TS-USA being a notoriously slow riser I
jumped out of bed and headed up lineside before breakfast. The light
was great and I was sure I was going to get a good shot. The morning
turn was supposed to start at 7:30 am that came and went with nothing.
However just after 8 I saw something emerge from the curve beyond the
I-35 overbridge I immediately got a funny feeling. This was not an
Orange or even Black loco nose. Could it be? I held my breath, crossed
my fingers. Then it burst into the sunlight from under the bridge.
YES!!!! A DMIR SD40-T. I was so excited. I just clicked and
clicked away. But I shan't bore you with 6 shots of it. Here's a couple
of good ones.
|To my mind there is
beautiful sight in the railroad world than the Maroon of the DMIR. I do
hope you can agree with me. I didn't want anything else from this trip
at all. That was it. I packed up my camera and bounced back to the
hotel and got some breakfast. I was on cloud 9 for the rest of the day.
|Even though once was
made a couple of other trips lineside during our stay in the hope that
I'd see #413 again. But alas, it was not to be, as the only other times
I went I saw #903 again.
|I'm not complaining
Number 903 was a catch. But I will never, ever forget the feeling when
I saw #413 emerge from under the bridge.