Railroading in the Peace Garden State

HemiAdda2d Apr 27, 2020

  1. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    North Dakota!
    What comes to mind when you see that name? Flat prairies, bleak open spaces? How about tangent track for miles, no curves, no scenery, no trees? Weather in ND: bitterly cold temperatures, gale-force winds?
    All of the above! What if I also told you great curves, scenic valleys, trees, rocks and trestles also are available, if you know where to look? North Dakota is a state of extreme opposites. Cold and hot, flat and rolling, colorful and bleak.
    So now that I got your curiosity piqued, here's a teaser from a weekend chase.
    A CP ribbon rail train, led by a veteran pair of SD40-2s lead welded rail racks west from Minot on the CP Portal Sub at MP 499, clearly in the middle of nowhere.
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  2. badlandnp

    badlandnp TrainBoard Member

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    It's sad that the only rail tunnel in ND is no longer used. :cry: But I just need to go walk through it one day!!
     
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  3. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    What is the white car at train's rear? A modified caboose? Or?
     
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  4. Mike VE2TRV

    Mike VE2TRV TrainBoard Member

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    Actually, you need to go to the middle of nowhere, turn left and do another ten miles...:D

    Gorgeous scenery. Must be stunning when everything has greened up.

    And warmed up...:)
     
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  5. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    It was a balmy 60 degrees in the above shot, a pretty warm day, considering 2 weeks ago, we reached 12 degrees.

    Yes, a caboose, lettered for the rail train service. I don't know if it's modified, but it might be used to haul steel gang personnel?
    I have a photo of it that I need to process. I took a LOT of photos on the above chase.
    One thing ND I love about ND is the variety of scenery. Spacious valleys spanned by enormous trestles, wide-open vistas and sinuous river bottoms.
    One of the grandest trestles in the state is just 5 miles west of me; Gassman Coulee Trestle, erected in 1890 or so in steel following a windstorm felled the 1886-built wooden version, and strengthened in the 1920s for heavier Great Northern Railway steam power. About 1800 feet long, over 100 feet high:

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. badlandnp

    badlandnp TrainBoard Member

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    And them badlands near Medora as the main snakes along the Little Missouri. Or the trestles at Valley City or Luverne. And the weather, well, be ready for anything!
     
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  7. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Fact!
    I have yet to get a solid rail photo at Luverne or Valley City... I should get on that.
    I do have some on the Bismarck NP trestle, here's one from the dark side:

    [​IMG]

     
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  8. badlandnp

    badlandnp TrainBoard Member

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    I did get one of a local going over the bridge at Mandan last summer,



    And I managed to snag one or two at Valley City, here's one,

     
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  9. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    A lot of the state is pretty bleak, remote, treeless, flat and tracks are straight. if you know where to look, you can get a bit of vertical scenery and even a tree or two in your shot.

    Des Lacs River valley, west of Carpio, ND on CP Portal Sub:

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Kurt Moose

    Kurt Moose TrainBoard Member

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    That local had some really nice "heritage" on the end, nice!!

    Great shot Hemi!!
     
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  11. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Tangent (straight) tracks do abound in ND, but if you know where to look, and aren't afraid to go high, you can find curves.

    "Empty Oil Cans at the Split"
    At the point where US Highways 2 and 52 split west of Minot, westbound CP oil empties storm through the Des Lacs River valley.

    [​IMG]

    "Custer Sag"
    Dakota Missouri Valley Western way freight to Bismarck negotiates the sag at Custer, ND, between Garrison and Lake Sakakawea.

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  12. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    A little bit of elevation adds a lot to this spot:

    "Head-On at the Split"
    Using a different vantage point on the side of the road for one of my favorite shots near MP 477, a pair of veteran SD40-2 units leads a continuous welded rail train, and fill the tangent.

    [​IMG]

    "Full Moon 498"
    An eastbound 498 freight drifts downgrade at the point where US 2 and 52 split west of Minot, ND. The nearly full moon illuminates the sleepy landscape at 0312.

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  13. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I did say straight track, right? There's plenty of that, and a few hogbacks to toss in for variety as well.

    "Eastbound Local at Des Lacs"
    With moments of light left and fading fast, second-generation EMD units lead a short local eastbound between Lonetree and Des Lacs, ND.

    [​IMG]
     
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  14. Kurt Moose

    Kurt Moose TrainBoard Member

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    Beautiful shot Hemi!!:love:
     
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  15. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    North Dakota has seasons (sometimes they are made up and the months don't matter--my apologies to Drew Carey :D ); sometimes 2-3 in a day, but we have seasons. It gets powerfully cold here. So cold, in fact, you can get an ice cream headache from breathing the frigid air.

    "Frosty Bakken Bomb"
    A dense ice fog envelops much of North Dakota and frosts everything in sight, including this eastbound CP loaded oil can crossing the frozen Souris River in Minot.

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    "Blue Hour Snow Squall"
    A westbound CP freight shatters the silence amid the snowfall as it passes through Soo Tower, in Minot, ND.

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    "Hot & Cold at First Light"
    At first light, hot eastbound domestic intermodal containers storm into Minot amid -35°F windchills and blowing snow.

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  16. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    The winter doesn't last forever in North Dakota, no matter how many months it's frozen over. Sometimes the sun warms the land and things get green.

    "There's Always Next Time..."
    So I flubbed this one. but it's worth showing just because the train is unique. This is probably CP 199, and it typically runs 1x1 or 2x1 configuration, but in this case, it's 3x1. I managed to cut the corner of the curve off, and didn't shoot the head end before the hill started to obscure the trucks. Oh well, there's always next time!

    [​IMG]

    "A Heritage Visitor"
    Amtrak 7 had a heritage unit trailing.

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  17. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Summer green also gives way to harvest colors. In early/mid-July, Canola and flax blooms.

    "Donnybrook 199"

    CP train 199, a Chicago-Vancouver intermodal, rolls past blooming canola just east of Donnybrook, ND on the CP Portal Sub.

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    "Blooming Westbound Near Foxholm"

    The canola bloom is in full swing in North Dakota. Here's a westbound CP grainer at MP 489.5 on the CP Portal Sub.

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    "Flax in Bloom"

    A westound CP 'Bakken Bomb' charges through the Des Lacs River valley amid fields of flax in bloom.

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Sunrises and sunsets in North Dakota are special, and the warm glow is a special treat. There's nothing quite like a sunrise or sunset on the prairie!

    In the summer, you have to be up with the chickens to see sunrise, but if you do, the early bird truly does get the worm.

    A westbound local crosses under 3rd st viaduct in the glint of first light:

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    Canola blooms in the fields near Donnybrook, ND at first light (insert train here):

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    CP train 498 (Calgary-St. Paul manifest) eastbound reaches my town around 0600. This one morning it was led by the arid regions Army heritage unit.

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    The 8831 BNSF local from Minot to Williston, ND and back crosses Gassman Coulee Trestle just after 0600:

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    The old GN yard that predates Gavin Yard rests in the grip of winter at first light:

    [​IMG]
     
  19. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Not a morning person? (me neither!) Sunsets are a similar treat. There's something magical about the glow of golden hour right before sunset.

    Crude oil loads drift downgrade at MP 3, BNSF Glasgow Sub under a stormlit evening sky:

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    Westbound Blue Island-Pasco auto traffic storms west between Lonetree and Berthold, ND:

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    Moments later, the glint of golden hour:

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    With seconds of light remaining in the day, eastbound grain empties drop downgrade at MP 3, BNSF Glasgow Sub:

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    Golden Hour Over Gassman: a westbound intermodal leaves the end of two main track and crosses the namesake coule's trestle at last light:

    [​IMG]
     
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  20. Kurt Moose

    Kurt Moose TrainBoard Member

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    [​IMG]

    This is just simply beautiful, Hemi!! No need for a train at that moment in time.....
     

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