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Along the Taconite Trail

dmir227's picture

The past two weekends I've made the trip up to NSM with Gus to see if I could catch recently returned (and spanking clean) 5482 on a train. Two weekends ago I caught the 11:00 loads at MP 6 but it had the crusty 656 leading. Clean 652 would be leading on the return but we didn't have time to wait.

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The one catch was SD28 1236 trailing, which I assume was dropped off in Silver Bay for local work. 1234 must still be down at NRE in what is turning out to be an extended rebuild period.

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Caught a CN ore load on the way home.

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This past Sunday I headed up to catch the 11:00 loads but was distracted by a short MRF behind EJ&E 674.

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I should have gone straight up to Highway 11 on NSM as they ran a 9:00 train that morning and come to find out later 5482 was leading. D'oh! Oh well, did get a nice shot of 653 leading the 11:00 train with 130 loads at MP 23.5. Sister "tailings" unit 654 had been working commercial traffic just down the line at Norshor Junction (not in a position to shoot). With both 653 and 654 tied up in other assignments I wasn't surprised to not hear a tailings train Sunday. Notice some of the smaller trees along the ROW are starting to grow up - looks like a spring "pruning" is in order.

We then followed this guy down towards SB and as we got close heard the 9:00 train call to depart for Babbitt with 129 empties. The temps must have been cold enough Saturday night so that NSM implemented their "cold weather" operating pattern Sunday with shorter trains. Of course this is when I saw 5482 had lead the eastbound move in the morning. Dirty sister 5418 was leading westbound. The blue units still looked sharp against a code blue sky.

The loads behind 653 had a kicker at MP 18 so we didn't wait for them and instead caught a CN ore load easing into Two Harbors. CN had called two switch jobs in Two Harbors Sunday, one at the regular 08:00 time, which promptly went to Highland to drag a dead train into town and then they went back up north to Brimson to grab this dead guy. The other switch job (07:00) spent the day dumping cars for stockpile with maroon 215.

The sun is starting to grow stronger and its "melt factor" is increasing. With the state tournaments starting soon we should be due for our traditional March snow dump.

Dave Schauer
Missabe Railroad Historical Society
Publications Chair
Duluth, MN