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Memories of Missabe 145

Burlington Northern - and later BNSF - always seemed to like their fleet of SD9s, which is probably one reason they stayed on the roster as long as they did. In a somewhat odd move, in 1989 BN bought eight second hand SD9s and rebuilt them for regional freight and transfer service. Two of those were former DM&IR units acquired through ILS, ex-132 and 145 (the other six were ex-B&O).  I always kept an eye out for these two and on a nice summer day in 1994 I came across the 145 (BN 6241) leading a transfer out of Dayton’s Bluff for Northtown. A trio of SD9s was fairly common power on these moves for a number of years well into the BNSF era.

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Soo Line Ore Dock in Ashland

I think the city was in negotiation with CN to keep the base as a fishing pier but not sure where that ended up. That was such a dominate structure along the waterfront it is sad to see it go. This shot shows a portion of the dock taken in 1997 during the WC era.

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Flashback: May 10, 2004 - Nine Years and Counting

Nine years ago today the papers were officially signed and Great Lakes Transportation became part of CN. For today’s flashback I dug this slide out from my early years of shooting as I feel it reminds me of the classic DM&IR I grew up with – ore trains on Proctor Hill. I vividly recall hearing them pull empties when I lived in east Duluth – the sound would carry along the hillside when the wind was out of the southwest, which was common in the summer.  The Missabe would lug 140 cars up the grade with two, three or sometimes four SDs in notch eight and usually at a fast walking pace but not much more. Today CN still moves trains up and down the Hill and with much more horsepower they breeze up grade relative to the Missabe in the 1980s. The 2004 purchase impacted not just ore trains but how general freight moves around the Twin Ports as well.

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NSM Notes

With warmer weather NSM has been running DP trains on days other than just Thursday. Last week a 208-car train was operated. They typically leave a little later in the morning than 5:30~ thus making for some nice available shooting near Toimi. The down side is the larger trains mean fewer trains.

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Flashback - Night Moves

This flashback installment takes us back a little over 10 years to a patented SRG Railfan Weekend at the LSRM. CP loaned a then-new GE to use in static photos and it was positioned next to Soo 2500A. Night shots with slides was a lot harder than digital but if you had good handlers they always seemed to turn out. Thanks Steve and Jeff.

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Beauty and Beast Pair

CP’s “Beauty and the Beast” pair were spotting boxcars at Lake Superior Warehousing yesterday as the sun poked through. I’ve always liked this area as it is one of the few left in Duluth with an industrial feel.

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You Know You are Having a Bad Day When...

....the coupler on your SD40-3 breaks. Not just the knuckle, the coupler itself. D’oh!

They set out the unit and went about their business of dumping the ore train and returning it to Proctor with two SD40-3s. I think they came back down later and dragged the unit back to Proctor. I like the taconite pellets stuck on the pilot.

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Riverside Bridge

It sounds like BNSF will replace the old wood piling bridge just east of Tate & LyleL in Riverside starting tomorrow and working through Wednesday. Here is what it looked like last week.

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Huson Bridge Action

With the Brainerd Local making it last run to the Mill today I had toyed with chasing it but business commitments precluded me from doing so. However I did catch it and a couple of coal trains on Huson Bridge. Here the local scoots west behind a coal empty. I shot the empty first but it had a crusty Grinstein in the set so I’ll hold off posting that one.

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CP GP20C in Action

My first shot of one of these actually on a train as it passed by the iconic Soo Line sign on the depot along Winter Street. With Tower Avenue closed this street (Ogden Ave) is very busy but a nice SWL&P driver held back and allowed me to get the shot. Even though we still have snow on the ground it is getting to be the dreaded “high sun” time of the year where mid-day light is direct and harsh.


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