A game of 2 halves - Elk River May 30th
|I was not planning to
today. It was dull, grey, misty, wet and horrible. A typically English
day. I'd been into work and was coming home along HWY 169 just outside
of Ramsay and I looked across and saw some cars of a mixed train
heading my way, It was doing about 45mph, I about 55, so I hauled the
power in and glanced disdainfully at the C-44 # 5451 and the pretty
similar looking ES44 #5977 heading it and I sped away. I gave it a
cursory glance in my rear view mirror and I thought
"With all the mist around that doesn't look like too bad a picture."
It would certainly be different to the usual blue sky, sunshiny shots. Headlights looming out of the mist, sounds pretty good to me. So once I got to Elk River I detoured to the Northstar Park and Ride car park and rushed to the track side. It was not far behind me so this was a real grab shot and I like it.
|Spurred on by this
little jem, I
switched my scanner on to find out if anything else was around. Barely
had I switched it on when I heard a horn out to the west and shortly
some eastbound headlights loomed out of the mist. Headed up by GP28
#1595 with a pair of GP38's # 2374 and 2365. Once again I was pretty
pleased with this atmospheric shot.
|OK. I was now hooked.
shots in 5 minutes! I was in the zone! The scanner told me that there
were two more eastbounds waiting out past Becker so I decided to wait
around for them. They wouldn't be long. I was right, first up was this
lo-o-o-ng mixed headed up by a triple lash up of ES-44 6057, SD-40 6799
and GP39 2717. All three were working to get the train up the grade out
of Elk River and by the time the end of the train got past me it was
almost crawling. If only there had been a track detector close by I
would have loved to have known the axle count on it.
|Once that got out of
which was quite some time. Things got dark and I was expecting full on
rain but it never came. Instead I got another long mixed headed up by
SD70MAC #8894 with special guest power courtesy of NS 7535 an ES40DC
once again, this fairly crawled by, an axle count would have been nice
|With that I decided
to call it a
morning as it was a wonder I even got that last shot off without a
tripod it was so dull and as I got into the car and headed up to the
coffee shop in Princeton some heavy spots of rain fell and I thought
that that would do for the day. Sat in the coffee shop sipping on my
signature toffee latte I reflected on my good fortune that morning. It
was fun. Those are technically perfect shots but there is certainly a
lot of atmosphere in them. Pleased with myself, I went home and went
for a coffee.
|As I left the coffee
rain had stopped and the grey clouds had turned white and as I set out
on my run I could see that there were breaks in the clouds appearing
and as the miles progressed the breaks got bigger and bigger. By the
time I'd got out of the shower things were looking great. So sooner
than traipse around a bug infested back garden cutting the grass I
decided to go back down to Elk River, perhaps scope out a new location.
(It was a no contest really). So I jumped into the truck, popped some
Kate Bush in the CD player and headed off. I decided to set up by the
power station and within a couple of minutes a triple lash up of C-44's
7668,5832 and warbonnet liveried 4714, running elephant-style (that is
nose to tail) stormed down the hill on a mixed freight.
|The radio waves were
and I could hear that another westbound was on the way. So I settled
down for what I hoped would be a productive afternoon. After about 10
minutes the announced westbound arrived. A double stacked container
train lead out by a pair of C-44's # 5302 and 4405. A container
train is a worthwhile site even if its headed by C-44's and I was quite
pleased with the pictures until I took a closer look and decided that
the bush in the foreground was annoying me. It was only later when I
got home that I saw the telephone lines running through the train...
|Still its all good wedgie
practice. Shortly after that had passed through I heard another train
given clearance to head from Northtown up to Staples. So I moved and
got ready to practice my wedgie technique again. On top of that I also
got note of an east bound somewhere west of St Cloud. That I was
looking forward too as that shot I was set up for was really appealing.
So I waited. Then I waited some more, and some more. But no westbound
materialised. I had heard correctly hadn't I? It was only my fourth
trip out with the scanner I could have mis-understood. I could hear
traffic on the Wayzata sub, on the TCWR but no more on the Staples sub.
Then eventually I heard the distant sound of old faithful the C-44. The
west bound container train was headed by #4182 and 4834 here getting
down low took the telephone lines off the train and made for a rather
|With that cleared out
I sat and
waited for my much anticipated eastbound.
"Can't be far off" I thought. It's only west of St. Cloud. Then I thought that they never said how far west it actually was. So I could be in for a long wait. After about another 30 minutes came the sound I was waiting for. I had been waiting so long. I had the shot angle all fine tuned. So as the train came around the corner I got it. Of course the sun was now in a slightly worse position. Nonetheless that a pretty cool shot and C44's # 4769 and 4768 look pretty darned impressive with the Elk River water tower in the background.
|With that I decided
to call it a
day and head home and cook dinner. But I was very happy with that
couple of hours indeed.