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IR Sub. on Monday

madsek01's picture

After seeing Dave's great shots of the huge snow around Highland/Fairbanks I decided to head up for a few hours yesterday with the sun out.

I have been hearing lots of trains on the Iron Range Division lately so I figured I might get a couple around midday when the lighting around Highland would be good.

Arrived Two Harbors around 1030 and heard the 215 switching in the yard. Also, heard a meet between two trains at Highland but knew I couldn't get up there for that, but decided to head north towards Highlands and/or the NSM overpass to see what was happening. Along the slow drive up Highway 2 I heard the good news from the RTC that a southbound was out of Minntac and would meet the northbound (6264?) at Allen.

It was a beautiful and amazing drive up the highway once the snow appeared. It didn't appear gradually, just at the top of the long hill all of the sudden everything was covered in white.

On the NSM channel I heard lots of chatter, but didn't seem to be much I could do anything with. The 1236 was heading to the Bay after working Norshor. Empties were also departing S.B. and the 1231 was blowing out switches down the line. The highway kept getting worse and worse the further I traveled up from Two Harbors, with the snow and ice refreeze, so I turned into Highland to wait it out with the southbound out of Minntac.

When I arrived at Highland the southbound that just made the meet was dead at the road crossing north of the scale. Dave's pictures did not lie and this area did get quite the Christmas snow dumping. Great! I should be able to get two southbounds for my efforts at Highland. About 45 mins. later the TH Switch crew arrived to pull the train over the scale and down the hill into the yard. Here they are with the relief crew on board pulling across the road crossing.

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With the area neatly plowed I was able to get several shots as they pulled up to and over the scale.

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By this time, IC 6252 South was not far behind. This train had a relief crew all the way from the Range who was good until 1430 so they pulled up to the crossing and waited for the 6255 South to clear the Scale Track.

IC 6252 South arriving Highland to weigh the 112 cars of pellets. Like the train before the scale wouldn't give a reading, so someone was going out later to look at it.

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After shooting the scale area, I went down to what I guess is almost literally Snodigger's back yard, Lauren on Boomers Rd. Again things were plowed out nicely and I was able to shoot this U78984 27 (Minntac I/D) curving through the winter wonderland. They were radio blocking behind the 6255 South all the way to Two Harbors Jct.

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The southbound lane on Highway 2 was much worse than the NB lane but I still could catch up to the 6252 South. Catching up was no problem as I really couldn't slow down once I reached the grade into TH. Glad I had no need to stop along the way as that would have been difficult.

The snowfall in TH was average with no flocking or deep snows so I took a shot, but noting special so I headed towards home after spending a couple of productive hours in the snow and sun. The next activity in TH would be a northbound but they had to cut off the 401 off the 6255 power set and spin a unit from the first train I shot. So despite a crew on duty I figured it would be several hours so I head back on 61.

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Kevin Madsen
Superior, WI