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An EMCO Flashback

I was digging through a few slides from a visit to the mine a few months before the operation closed I scanned these two. 

One of my favorite shots of an ore train was this one of a load departing the plant for Taconite Harbor and it shows the train passing a deep mine pit. The mine trucks on the right are as impressive.

This is another favorite – it shows a mine run train behind a pair of RS-11s and what I like is the view of the pellet plant in the distance (you can see a pair of GP38s in the distance).

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First GP20C-ECO in the Ports

CP has assigned a new GP20C-ECO to the Twin Ports. It makes for an interesting pairing with 4512 still in Milwaukee colors. I haven’t been able to get it on a transfer but it made for a nice broadside this morning before the clouds moved in.  When I first saw photos of these I thought they looked short but seeing it in person next to the 4512 they look as tall and as husky. Still nice and clean – a stark contrast to the faded paint on 4512.  

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EMD Collection at Belknap

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B&LE 909 Flashback

Here is a flashback to 2000 when B&LE 909 was beginning its rebuild at Proctor (note the 909 near the numberboard). This shot was taken in the Mallet House that CN removed last year due to roof issues. At least the facility is still active under CN, just not to the extent of doing heavy work like this.

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Railfanning Is...

I remember Railfan Magazine running neat little observations under that title. I have been listening to the radio feed lately and CN has a MOW employee with a familiar name; “Railfanning is listening to the radio and hearing a CN RTC telling Wayne Olsen at Biwabik he will need to clear.”   For those of you who don’t know, Wayne Olsen was one of the key rail historians, along with Frank King, in the Twin Ports and helped get the LSRMstarted. I’m not sure how the new MOW employee spells his last name, it could be Olson, but it sounds odd to hear that name in a current railroad setting.

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Here We Go Again

This might be our last blast of winter with temperatures expected to reach near 60 this weekend, but then again...

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Massive Consist on the MRF

Thanks to a timely heads up from our Emperor of the North (Missabefan) I was able to intercept the MRF today with a stunning 11-unit consist. My first shot was at Alborn where the train held the main for a meet with a Utac empty. As the Merf departed south I snapped a few shots and noticed that I wasn’t the only one stimulated by this power set – note the husband and wife snowman couple on the right (no doubt an earlier crew was tired of fighting the never-ending snow and decided to have some fun with it). I was able to shoot the train at numerous spots back to Proctor while Todd shot it on the north end through to the Culver curve to better show the units (I settled for the curve at Munger and Adolph).

For the record: Leading the train was CN GP40-2W 9544 followed by CN SD40-2W 5338, IC SD40-3 6262, B&LE SD40T-3 904, CN SD40-2W 5337, GTW SD40-2 5934, IC SD40-3 6263, B&LE SD40T-3 900, IC SD40-3 6264, DM&IR SD40-3 406 and CN SD40-2W 5287. Northeastern Minnesota is a great place for lovers of second generation EMD models and snow....

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Calumet 1613

I noticed one of the Calumet (NPR contract switching) geeps at BNSF 28th Street this morning.  It isn’t the newer dark gray unit but 1613, the light gray former CP geep. I’m guessing it might be headed up to Laurentian Aggregates near Largo for the summer ballast season. Last year Laurentian used the NPR GP35 that is still at the refinery (or was last time I checked). Here are the 1613 and GP35 at the refinery this past winter. 

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Mining Tid-Bits

A few newsworthy notes from this past week.

The Minnesota PCA said Minntac does not need to do a full-blown environmental impact study to enlarge its mining area. U.S. Steel is planning to expand the mine by 483 acres to access more ore. This will expand the life of operation by 16 years. Minntac is the largest producer in the state and employees around 1,400 workers. CN handles 4-5 pellet trains per day out of the plant and delivers at least one loaded limestone train per day. In the summer roughly 120 cars of BFT are loaded daily for Two Harbors.

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Spring Maintenance Shutdowns

Here is the update: Keetac is down the 2nd through the 16th. Last train will load tomorrow using pellets in cycle. Hibtac is taking a line down the 14th through the 28th and will run one all-rail a day 6-10th.

 Minorca is also shutting down this week for two weeks.

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