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End of Summer on the Soo

Photos by Kevin Madsen - 12 hours 25 min ago

Kevin Madsen posted a photo:

End of Summer on the Soo

CP's Paynesville Sub. west of Minneapolis was an all EMD affair back for most of 1998. Here CP #575 works west through Hamel, MN behind Soo 6049 & 764, towards Glenwood on August 29, 1998. Another beautiful end of the summer day that had me out chasing some Soo west from my hometown of Plymouth. By the end of that weekend I'd be moving back up to St. Cloud State for my junior year of college back up on the BN.

Real change was coming to the Paynesville Sub. During the fall of 1998, 8500-series AC4400CWs were delivered bringing GEs to the Paynesville Sub. for the first time in a long time. Unfortunately, I guess they kind of caught on and stuck.

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Minorca Stone Empties

Photos by Kevin Madsen - 13 hours 59 min ago

Kevin Madsen posted a photo:

Minorca Stone Empties

DM&IR 316, 869, and 205 pull a string of Minorca limestone empties through North Fairlane and over Zupetz Road 14 years ago today. The three non-turbos will take the 48 empties down Highway 7 towards Proctor after dumping limestone at the plant in the early morning hours. CN still runs these U-719 trains with EMDs 15 years later, usually 3-packs of SD40-types. Looks like August 24, 2005 was similar to today, a glorious weather day. Hard to beat beautiful late summer days.

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CP 4509 on H01

Photos by Kevin Madsen - Sat, 08/24/2019 - 20:37

Kevin Madsen posted a photo:

CP 4509 on H01

Eight years ago today, Engineer Lohrbach is in the right seat for a CP H01 extra running here on the former Soo Line in South Superior. This train was running from CP's Stinson Yard to Bemidji, using trackage rights on BNSF, once the 4509 got off the former Soo at M&J. They ran a few of these in 2011.

CP GP38-2 4509 here had 8 tank cars here loaded with chemicals used in treating dusty gravel roads. They would return on rest out of Bemidji early the next morning. CP ran to Bemidji on a regular twice per week schedule for many years until 2006. From 2006 to 2011 they ran a few extras like this with tank cars and pulpwood. I don't believe CP has run on the BNSF to Bemidji since these 2011 trips, but they as I far as I know have trackage rights on BNSF's Lakes and Grand Forks Subs. all the way west from Superior to Erksine, MN.

Miss seeing Will running his trains on CP, but he has a good gig now running south on the CN towards Stevens Point. Shot him it seems like hundreds of times on the CP, but I still haven't caught him running south on the CN.

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Lucky Sliver

Photos by Mr. Missabe - Sat, 08/24/2019 - 13:06

Missabe Road posted a photo:

Lucky Sliver

A sliver of light catches a BNSF detour reroute on CN's Superior Sub near Proctor Junction. These are running due to Grassy Point swing bridge being out-of-service.

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Returning From Canada

Photos by Kevin Madsen - Sat, 08/24/2019 - 03:57

Kevin Madsen posted a photo:

Returning From Canada

MD&W Ry S2 16 returns back into the United States at Internation Falls, MN on July 12, 2006. The S2 has just crossed the International Bridge over the Rainy River and is passing the large US Customs building and the bridge's toll booth.

Not sure how much MDW uses the car/rail bridge anymore as Abitibi closed their big Fort Frances paper mill in 2013. I believe the closed mill was the big reason MDW went over to Ontario.

Back in 2006, four S2s were the MDW's motive power, along with a former NP Alco stored for parts. A pair of EMD SW10s eventually arrived in early 2010. I think a couple of Alcos remain in back up service but not sure of the Minnesota Dakota & Western’s current ops. I haven't been back to International Falls since a pair of successful Alco pilgrimages in that Summer of 2006.

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EJ&E 666

Photos by Kevin Madsen - Sat, 08/24/2019 - 02:25

Kevin Madsen posted a photo:

EJ&E 666

Ten years ago today, EJ&E 666 & 662 led the CN transfer out of BNSF 28th Street on the morning of August 23, 2009. Just ahead the orange duo will make a right off the BNSF at M&J for Pokey Yard. This transfer still runs daily out of Pokegama Yard but now runs in the afternoon/evening with CN Dash 9s.

By the end of the summer of 2009, there were two solid J SD38-2 pairs working out of Pokegama Yard. One in transfer and switching service and one pair as shovers. The 665 and 669 were handling shover duties that morning as my photo files show I caught a northbound next after this BN Transfer. By the end of September, the EJEs were moved elsewhere on the CN, save for a single SD38-2 (674) that hung around Proctor until the end of 2010.

The orange Js were a bright spot for railfanning up here in 2009. That was the dismal year for taconite plants and traffic off the Iron Range. Low taconite prices idled each of the various six taconite plants during various times over the course of the year. The summer months were especially lean for trains. I can recall mornings driving past the Proctor Yard Office with not a single car parked there for work during the Summer of '09.

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Barron Sub. in 2010

Photos by Kevin Madsen - Fri, 08/23/2019 - 23:29

Kevin Madsen posted a photo:

Barron Sub. in 2010

WN GP15-1 1500 works slowly east at MP 93 (2 miles east of Barron, WI) on the morning of August 5, 2010. The 93 is obviously not a speed board and I was aware of the warning on the bulkhead flats as this train wobbled along on what once was the Soo Line's Minneapolis to Sault St. Marie mainline. The 1500 East had 11 cars on this part of their morning run from Barron to Cameron.

This is what the Barron Sub. looked like in 2010 after years of deferred maintenance by the Soo, WC, and CN. Wisconsin Northern started in 2004 and picked up this Cameron to Barron section, along with the short segment to Rice Lake from CN. They got the Barron Sub. mostly to serve Jennie-O in Barron. They also leased the former CNW line from Norma to Cameron from UP, reactivating the stretch from Chetek to Cameron to connect with the lines they picked up from CN.

In 2010, The WN based their one job out of Norma (just north of Chippewa Falls) and made the slow trip up to Rice Lake and Barron once or twice per week. Power for these WN trains was a GP15-1 on each end, except for a brief time after the road's start-up when they leased Iowa Northern Geeps.

The Wisconsin Northern and this Barron Sub. was about to change drastically though. In 2011, the first sand plant on the WN was built. Bigger power was brought in to serve what would end up being multiple plants with multiple jobs. One of the WN baby tunnel motors remains, but this 1500 was eventually shipped out to another PGR operation in California.

CN took back the east/west Barron Sub. from the Wisconsin Northern on Dec. 1, 2012, to tap into the sand themselves. They also took back the section to Rice Lake, part of the original lease. CN put the dormant stretch from Ladysmith to Cameron back into service and rebuilt Ladysmith to Poskin to mainline standards. They never put the Jennie-O switch back in and they no longer receive rail.

I did catch CN's daily local a few miles east of here this summer. Was cool to see it roll down the welded rail at 40MPH. Quite the difference on the Barron Sub. from the WN days of 2010.

WN still has one of their two original GP15-1 on the line to work the north end of their property. WN 1501 usually handles freight on the Chetek to Cameron (south of the Highway 8 bridge) section, but this 1500 was reportedly sent to another PGR operation in California.

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UP 1943 at Henderson

Photos by Shawn Christie - Fri, 08/23/2019 - 03:13

shawn_christie1970 posted a photo:

UP 1943 at Henderson

The "Spirit of the Union Pacific" passes by the old Peavey Elevator at the Henderson Station River Access & Park on the UP Mankato Sub.

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Spirit of the Union Pacific

Photos by Shawn Christie - Thu, 08/22/2019 - 01:45

shawn_christie1970 posted a photo:

Spirit of the Union Pacific

UP 1943 "Spirit of the Union Pacific" leads an inspection train in Mankato, Minnesota.

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Last Pull of the Day

Photos by Kevin Madsen - Wed, 08/21/2019 - 04:52

Kevin Madsen posted a photo:

Last Pull of the Day

Cliffs Erie 4210 leads the last pull of the day through a rock cut just out of Taconite Harbor, MN, working up the steep grade towards Cramer Siding on the evening of August 20, 2008. At Cramer Siding, the 4210 would combine these 12 cars to the other three pulls they made away from Lake Superior. They would eventually tie-down for the day up near the tunnel.

Was a great day 11 years ago today on Cliffs Erie with the F-units working in beautiful weather. Kind of bittersweet too as we knew we were probably were seeing the last of the F-Units on the Erie Mining main on this clean up effort.

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Eleven Years Ago at Tac Harbor

Photos by Kevin Madsen - Wed, 08/21/2019 - 04:29

Kevin Madsen posted a photo:

Eleven Years Ago at Tac Harbor

Eleven years ago today, the railfan attention of Minnesotan was up the North Shore at Taconite Harbor. Cliffs Erie was running one of their trains down to Lake Superior on this day, with their still intact F9 A-B-B-B-A set, so many of us were out.

This was the first of 3 pulls of the 12 side-dumps up the hill and on this one we were all congregated around the loop track near Highway 61. Was a great late summer day and this fog/clouds around Lake Superior, on this first pull was the only clouds we would encounter all day.

Looking at the railfans here I see SRG talking with Geno. I also see Bud roaming around. Also, a young Andy Glischinski is looking towards Mike and an even younger Josh Cleary. Was a fun day. Those kids aren't so young any more though.

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Cliffs Erie Eleven Years Ago Today

Photos by Kevin Madsen - Wed, 08/21/2019 - 03:53

Kevin Madsen posted a photo:

Cliffs Erie Eleven Years Ago Today

Many of us were out along Cliffs Erie 11 years ago today, August 20, 2008, as it was a train day on the former Erie Mining. Cliffs Erie spent the summer of 2008 and into the fall loading the chips and fines that were left in the Taconite Harbor dock and running them back west towards Hoyt Lakes. The chips and fines were eventually loaded into hoppers once back in Hoyt Lakes for movement east to Maryland IIRC.

Here CE 4210, as part of a A-B-B-B-A set of F9s, lifts 12 loads away from Lake Superior towards Cramer Siding. This would be the second of three pulls the F9s would make on this great day in late August.

Minnesota Power ran the Taconite Harbor plant after LTV quit in 2000, but they would eventually quit too here in 2016.

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Northstar at Anoka Station

Photos by Shawn Christie - Wed, 08/21/2019 - 01:53

shawn_christie1970 posted a photo:

Northstar at Anoka Station

MNRX 501 leads the northbound commuter at Anoka Station.

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