We’ll go with the September Update, but it should be called “what I did on my summer vacation”. Furthermore it probably should be labeled “part 1”, as there is way more than one post should have.
So, with that in mind I’ll start with something of a highlight to the summer. Union Pacific #4014.
Minnesota got lucky with the touring locomotive. It rolled into St. Paul on a Wednesday afternoon. Spent Thursday open to the public outside the newly refurbished St. Paul Union Depot. Friday it headed north to Duluth, Minnesota. Spent Saturday outside their depot, which by the ways house an impressive amount of historic locomotives and railcars. One of them being the Big Boys contemporary, the DM&IR’s Yellowstone.
On Sunday it headed on back to St. Paul’s union Depot. I believe on Monday it rested and on Tuesday headed off to Chicago through Wisconsin.
My dilemma was where to see it. Going to see it in St. Paul would involve finding a place to park and then fighting the crowds. Odds were that you couldn’t get a decent picture or get close be cause of the crowd size. I later learned from some friends who work downtown that it was a madhouse down there.
A check of the UP’s schedule for the train showed that it would be stopping for fifteen minutes in Northfield, Minnesota on it’s way to St. Paul.
Northfield is about a half hour south of the Twin Cities or an hour south of me as I live on the north side of town. Having a time and a place, I looked at a map of the town and saw that the tracks ran right past a large park. This would give me a place to park and space to shoot photos and a video.
Unfortunately I was slowed by a couple road construction projects and I rolled into town at the same time the train was supposed to be arriving. So instead of heading to the park, I stopped at basically the first place I found. It was a convenience store parking lot at the junction of the mainline and the main road in (which comes into play later).
Hurried trackside with phone (video) and camera in hand, and then waited. For about an hour. They were running late.
Though I thought I had a pretty good position for photos, when the headlight appeared down the tracks everyone milling around suddenly moved closer to the tracks. This forced me to move almost to the ballast line.
This killed any hope of a clear video, but I got a couple of good shots.
With a couple shots in hand and a not so great video, I decided to head on home instead of trying to see the engine. Problem was, as you can see in the last picture, the observation car was parked across the road back out to the freeway. Having looked at maps before hand, I knew there was nothing heading south out of town. My new plan was to head north through town, get ahead of the train and then find a way back out to the freeway.
Passed this on the way through town. Happy I didn’t walk down to see the engine close up.
As I headed north out of town there was no way to cut across. I figure I would go to the next town up the line where I knew there would be freeway access. As I was driving I watched the dirt roads (I was out in farm country now) and saw small crowds (emphasis on small) at the crossings.
New plan. I turned off onto one of the roads and followed it to the crossing. Found the crossing and the small crowd .Had a great time talking to the people while waiting. Some had been leap frogging towns from the Iowa/Minnesota border and had plans on where they were headed to catch it next. Also talked to one guy who had been at the park I had planned to go to. He had said it was really crowded.
Anyways, did shoot a decent little video.
That’s it for now, many more updates to come real soon.
Till than, Happy Modeling…