Saturday, September 09, 2006

Wadena Local September 5

The evening of September 5 I had the urge to spend a little time trackside so asked the bride if she would be willing to accompany me. "After the dishes are done" was the response so I pitched right in and we had things clean as a whistle in short order. Loaded up Elvis the train hunting dog and headed uptown to see what we could see.

Now over the summer the Wadena local had been working in town three days a week, mostly in the early afternoon. I had caught them later in the day once, but it seemed they were a good bet for midday and high sun. However, this evening when I fired up the scanner I heard some chatter that didn't sound like warrants being given or cleared or other formal communication between HQ and a mainline train. We headed down to Drywall Supply for a look see and found the local working the former GN trackage south of the main.

The engines were getting ready to make their run around move to get on the head end of train for the trip back to Dilworth. While I waited, I was taking a close look at the rail and saw this:

I don't know if you can see it clearly or not but the rail that is used three times a week by this local is 100 years old. Click on the thumbnail for a better look. It is quite a contrast to the 133 pound welded high iron they prance down to get here. Anyone have an idea for what the weight of this rail is? I would appreciate knowing if you can tell me.

After the runaround move was complete, air hooked up and test done, they requested permission from the dispatcher to complete their work on the north main (Main one) in Wadena, setting out some gondolas at Wadena Hide & Fur for scrap loading. When the dispatcher asked how long it would take he was answered with "15, 20 minutes, or maybe longer". He asked again, and the crew stated that they were new on this job and not that familiar with the area, and weren't sure how long it would be. At this time the dispatcher let them have it with "That's the third time today you have told me that, it's not important, I just asked how long you will be!". The meek reply was "20 minutes, dispatcher."

Once they were out on the main, they pushed 5 empty gons across three crossings with the rest of the train in tow. This is an unusual move, I very rarely see a locomotive moving while coupled to cars on both ends. On reaching the switch for Hide & Fur, they uncoupled the train, shove the gons into the siding, and backed out onto the main again to couple onto their train and complete the air test. I headed west to the first crossing with hopes of catching them there. The wait was longer than I expected, but they made it before sundown, and I captured them "riding off into the sunset" as it were, with hopes of making Dilworth at a decent hour. Thanks for the show, guys!

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