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Grain Moving

The traditional fall grain “rush” seems to be here with BNSF operating a number of unit trains in and out of the Ports and CP having a healthy amount of grain on their trains as well. Although not nearly what it was decades ago, it is still nice to see big BNSF engines in Duluth. Today one of the reactivated SD75Is (8298) was sandwiched between a pair of newer units at Rices Point. It looked like they were waiting for a grain shuttle to come out of Riverland (Cargill) but I’m not positive. There is also a Saltie waiting at anchor in the lake and one loading at CHS in Superior.

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Steam Scenes

Yesterday when I saw the smoke plume from 2719 approaching downtown I set up for a few grabs as they rolled next to I-35, a different angle for me and this locomotive. Given the beautiful lake breeze yesterday I wasn’t sure the smoke would be clear for shots when looking east but they turned out ok as the freeway buffered the train from the breeze somewhat. The first shot shows an appropriately attired crew member alighting to throw the switch into the depot prior to the reverse move.

As the train cleared into the depot a hi-rail appeared with Sven exchanging greetings with the crew. I’m assuming this was a fire patrol given our very dry conditions (opposite of the cold and wet spring we had).

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CP Derailment

Yesterday on my way to photograph a Canadian ship unloading grain at the former Cargill elevator along Rices Point (an unusual occurrence) I stumbled on a Canadian derailment. CP was switching its former Soo Line yard and it appeared the track gave way or a car picked a switch point. A handful of cars ended up on the ties. Not a major issue as the switch crew could still work around the mess but without large terminal resources like CN or BNSF the job of re-railing the cars cascaded to this morning. Here a couple of the re-railing crew position blocking as they try to pull the car back onto the rail.

This is a shot from yesterday shortly after the incident. The gons appeared to be filled with scrap metal, likely from Azcon (although this one looked empty from the road).

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Flashback - Holyoke 1980/2013

The ore still flows down the Hinckley Sub but the trees have grown up quite a bit here. The first two shots are of an all-rail headed south in the summer of 1980 in early evening when the sun swings around to the north side at Holyoke. Wide open view 33 years ago.

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The Floating GE

The LS&M continues to operate on weekends and based on their parking lot they have seen some nice crowds. Duluth’s first tourist railroad does have a much different feel than the NSSR and provides views of Duluth you really can’t see easily. I hope this line survives but given competition from the more visible NSSR, increased BNSF insurance requirements and the city wanting to extend the Western Waterfront Trail using the LS&M grade the future is anything but certain.

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Missabe SW9 #14

This is a nice shot of the former Missabe SW9. I always liked the SW9s because they incorporated the “wing” logo when delivered new in 1953.Dave Schauer

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CP Train 483

Yesterday I had to go to Forest Lake and was hoping to catch a delayed CP train 483 (Minneapolis-Superior) while on the way. These trains typically run during the night and their operation of late has been hard to predict so it would make for a nice catch. Reports had the train out of Minneapolis at 0710 so it would have been well on its way north by the time I needed to head south.

As I worked down Highway 23 I heard the dispatcher give a rail train a decent amount of time near Bruno to retrieve rail so it didn’t look good for intercepting 483. I passed through Hinckley without hearing or seeing the CP train. However, on the way back home I stopped in Hinckley to catch the BNSF local delivering cars to the St. Croix Valley. It was nice to see them picking up a handful of loaded sand cars and delivering a number of empties.

After I got back in the car I heard the dispatcher talking to CP 5011 north.  Apparently the train had issues on the southern part of the Hinckley Sub and was just now getting moving again. With this info I headed for Sandstone and caught them rolling across the Kettle River. The sun was filtered and the gusty winds at the bottom of the river valley eliminated any decent reflection but it was nice to see four EMDs up high.

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A Trow Meet in 1989

While looking for a shot of a Thunderbird caboose yesterday I came across this black and white 8 x 10 I took in 1989 of a rare (for then) passenger train on LTVSMC meeting an empty train at the remote passing siding of Trow. I had driven to Salem (Wales spelled backwards and flip the a and e) and hiked into the siding about a mile. The shot off the Wales overpass would have been nice but I wanted a “meet” shot so I took a hike. I was shooting black and white for use in the LSTC’s newsletter supplement Laker Extra.  I always liked this shot given all the fans hanging out of LS&M 29 (former DM&IR solarium coach).  

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Busy Docks

This image doesn’t show a train but does show why CN is quite interested in expanding its former DM&IR Lakehead storage facility (to the left) to handle limestone separately from ore.  The Great Lakes Fleet tug-barge Presque Isle is loading ore at the shiploader while the Joe Block with its cargo of Minorca limestone is waiting to gain access to the unloading hopper. The Block had to wait at least 12 hours for the Presque Isle to clear. In the distance the Callaway is heading out of Duluth towards Two Harbors for a load of Minntac pellets after depositing Minntac limestone at Hallett Dock. When CN expands Lakehead the Block and Callaway will be able to unload at the same time on the south face of the expanded dock using their self-unloading booms and piling directing to the pad. Plus, the extra space will allow for both Minntac and Minorca limestone to be handled through Lakehead versus using Hallett.  

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Peterson Mine - Bessemer, MI

There is some discussion on the E&LS list about ore remnants being trucked to Sidnaw and shipped south to be used as pigment in paint. This has been going on for many years in small quantities from the Peterson Mine near Bessemer on the Gogebic Range (originally shipped from Bessemer on the Wisconsin & Michigan and then from the WC and CN north of town when the former Soo Line route from Mellen was torn up). I was curious if anyone knows if this is an old tailings pile they have been screening or if this was a large stockpile of ore from when the Peterson shut down in 1966?  Here is a view from Dean of the current workings.

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