Saturday, December 11, 2010

"Well, the weather outside is frightful..."

Just returned home from Minnesota City. It was snowing almost all the way down. Our train had three SD40's, all in blue and yellow paint, of various lineages. The lead unit was having ground relay problems when we got it from the DM&E crew this morning, but fortunately we weren't too large at any point along the line to where that would have caused a problem. We had to set out 24 cars - BEHIND 63! - at the Carlson Pass by Tower CK, then we hiballed to LaCrosse, where we set out 40 more (behind 10), and picked up 24. The LaCrosse Roadswitch crew had finished most of their work, and was going home early because of the road conditions. The Crew Transport drivers had already been pulled off the roads, so my conductor had to walk up to the head end after doing the work. After that, it was a nearly straight shot to Portage. We took the siding at Kilbourn for #7, but never even stopped for the meet.

We'd met a few trains enroute that were tying down their trains in various sidings along the River Sub. St. Paul already has over 18" of snow, so the yard didn't want to take in any new "rolling snow fences".

Along the way, my conductor and I were watching an icicle growing from the edge of the headlight casing. It started out about 1/2" thick, and about 8" long when we got on the train, and by the time we reached Portage, it had grown all the way down to the hood top, and was about 1 1/2" thick!

Unfortunately, thanks to Textboy in LA, no pictures of the trip. There were a number of gorgeous snow scenes that would have been photo-worthy, but so it goes.

Driving home was an adventure all its own. Top speed was 35MPH, and the crossing winds were nearly the same. It only took me an hour and 15 minutes, or about double a "normal" trip home.

'Til next time...

Marty


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