Midwest Special - Part 2

Brian Ambrose

Railfan Reports Available
BNSF Kodachrome C30-7
Pasco East
SP&S 700
MRL Trip Report
Washington Trip
Up in the Blues
Midwest Special
Midwest Special - Part 2
Midwest Special - Part 3
Weekend on the Funnel
The Hatton Coulees
BN 2341 - The Reunion

Viewed best with:

Train Key Codes
Z - HOT Intermodal
Stack - Double Stack Container
GM - General Merchandise
Coal - Loaded coal
V - Autoracks
G - Grain
E - Empty Coal
X- Empty Grain

Wednesday - June 13, 2001

      This morning at Perham, MN it was dark and cloudy when I got up, so I took my time about heading out. After all, this a vacation, right? Gotta sleep in every now and then. After a later than usual start (9am) I started west towards Fargo. It would stay cloudy till afternoon around Detroit Lakes, MN when I would get some sunbreaks. Interesting areas between Perham and Fargo would be the Amtrak depot at Detroit Lakes, a nice overpass at Lake Park (MP 222), a small depot and old NP "Telephone booth" (still in NP colors!) at Hawley, MN (MP 234), and the 7 mile long "Stockwood Fill" that gets up to a height of 50 ft at one end east of Glyndon around MP 242! One other spot worth mentioning that I found by accident scouting around on dirt roads west of Hawley. This was at MP 237 and is where a dirt road overpass crosses the tracks at the location of a big cut! This is where a lot of the fill came from for the Stockwood Fill. It crosses midway thru a big curve as well. Neat area. A number of trains were seen today and they follow:
01)  EB GM     BNSF 140/BN 7015/7220/7248  Perham, MN  @ 1010
02)  EB Coal   BN 9264/9242/EMD 9024       Perham, MN  @ 1043 
03)  WB E      BNSF 9994/BN 9473           New York Mills, MN  @ 1121
04)  EB Coal   BN 9652/BNSF 9952           Audubon (MP 217) @ 1330
05)  EB GM     BNSF 580/6357/6485          Richards Spur  @ 1350
06)  WB GM     ATSF 887/4398/6481          Richards Spur  @ 1355
07)  WB Z      BNSF 5373/4730/ATSF 849     Hawley  @ 1538
08)  WB Local  BNSF 2910/EMD 756           Hawley  @1548
09)  EB GM     BNSF 5331/4894/4605         MP 237 Bridge  @ 1614 
10)  WB Z      ATSF 545/337/BNSF 7885      Glyndon (MP 248) @ 1700
      After seeing all these trains I headed thru Fargo to my motel at the other end of town as Thunderstorms began brewing all around. Later that evening a Tornado would be spotted on the ground near Wadena with a warning for people there to take shelter! (the town would be missed by the twister I later found out).

ATSF #887 West at Richards Spur, MN (MP 213) on 6-13-2001.
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Thursday June14

      Raining hard when I got up this morning. Slept in again. (I like rainy mornings!) Then about 10am I started west towards Valley City, ND which would be the furthest west I would travel this trip. My first stop was Mapleton, ND which is MP 20. (The Mileposts start at 0 again at Dilworth yard east of Fargo) Not much here except for a crossover. It's double track all the way to the Surrey Jct switch where most of BNSF's trains head north to the ex-GN line towards the PNW. The NP line west handles coal trains and a few GM's plus some grain traffic as well. This was the line I was going to follow. The double track west goes on to Magnolia (MP 39) where it is single track with sidings from there. There are small towns at Buffalo (MP 43) and Tower City (MP 49) with a couple of small bridges between the two towns at Milepost 46. There is a siding at Peak (MP 60) with Valley City being Milepost 65. Besides the Viaduct there is a small ex-NP depot and the ex-SOO (CP now) at Valley City. It was still cloudy and gray when I arrived there late in the afternoon. It was pretty quiet with just one train seen there before turning in for the night. These are the trains seen today. As can be seen it wasn't a whole lot! Notice everything had BN power leading.

1)  WB GM     BN 7067/BNSF 7302      Tower City, ND  @ 1311
2)  EB Coal   BN 9255/9248/EMD 9036  Magnolia @ 1435
3)  EB Coal   BN 7826/9280/EMD 9053  MP 57  @ 1550
4)  EB Coal   BN 9232/EMD 9071       Valley City, ND @ 1749

BN #7069 West at Tower City, ND on 6-14-2001.
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Friday June 15

      Sunny and clear this morning! Worth an early start so I was out of the Valley City motel early and down to the ex-NP bridge. I waited by the CP main line as the BNSF bridge looked great from here. Not more than 5 min passed when I heard a horn to the west. Talk about timing! A BNSF coal train came out onto the bridge and after shooting him took off thru town out to the freeway to try and catch him again. (which I did at Cassleton) Then I shot trains around Buffalo for awhile until it clouded up. At that point I decided to head east towards Fargo. As I was spending this evening at Dilworth I also wanted to spend some time around Hawley again. It was the right choice as it got pretty busy east of Fargo late in the afternoon and the sun made a limited appearance as well. Here are the trains from today:

 1)  EB Coal    BNSF 9886/BN 9645            Valley City, ND  @ 0708
 2)  WB Z       BNSF 714/ATSF 912/BNSF 4740  Cassleton, ND @ 0757
 3)  WB E       BN 9275/EMD 9045             Buffalo, ND  @ 0857
 4)  WB GM      BN 1534/BN 2183              Buffalo, ND  @ 1115 
 5)  WB GM      BN 7220/BN 7015              Buffalo, ND  @ 1220
 6)  WB Z       BNSF 5323/5324/5353          Glyndon, MN  @ 1600
 7)  EB Stacks  BN 8062/BN 8075              Bridge 237  @1702
 8)  WB GM      BN 7825/BNSF 7134            Bridge 237  @ 1706
 9)  EB Z       BNSF 4409/1117/775           Hawley, MN  @ 1730
10)  WB E       BN 9622/BNSF 9413            Hawley, MN  @ 1755
11)  EB Z       BN 8068/BNSF 6500/BN 7910/BNSF 6735  Hawley, MN @ 1758
      Not too bad a day. Note all that BN power leading again. That gap between 1220 and 1600 was pretty bad though. Most of that was the drive thru Fargo, a much larger city than I had imagined I might add.

BNSF #9886 East at Valley City, ND on 6-15-2001.
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BN #7220 West at Buffalo, ND on 6-15-2001.
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BN #7825 West at Bridge 237 (W. of Hawley, MN) on 6-15-2001.
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