Daily Uploads

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David Collins
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Imagedeadline: heritage by David R. Collins, on Flickr

My dad and I were taking some drone shots of NS 1801 sitting next to the Juniata locomotive shops in storage, when I looked out of the corner of eye. I was shocked. NS 1074, the Lackawanna heritage unit, was sitting right across the yard!

We packed our stuff up and made our way to a parking lot close to where 1074 was parked. I follow a rule where I don't fly my drones over active rail yards, so I know, this photo is hella backlit.

I try to keep up with heritage happenings on NS, but yet I didn't know that 1074 was in a deadline. I hope that NS gives it some new paint when they pull it out for maintenance, it's looking very shabby.
Last edited by David Collins on Sat May 06, 2023 7:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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David Collins
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ImageThe bee is back and better by David R. Collins, on Flickr

After missing NS 1067 (Reading Lines) several times since it got out of paint, it took me by surprise today in Altoona leading NS 25P. Last time I saw the 1067, it was rusting and chipping beyond all hell. While she's already getting a bit dirty, it still looks WAY better than it did back in 2021.

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SD80MAC
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ImageBusy Times @ Pine by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

What it lacks in scenery, Pine makes up for in sheer number of trains. An out-bound CN freight with an NS Dash 9 rolls over the Clark Rd bridge while a B&LE Tunnel Motor trails on an in-bound local. 4/3/2016

ImageIC SD40-3 #6250 by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

One of the few remaining black Illinois Central SD40-3s trails on M337 through Homewood. The venerable EMD was on its way back to the Iron Range after having work done at CN's Centralia, IL shops. 5/23/2021

ImageNight Time Visitors by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

Illinois Central SD70 #1019 and Canadian National C44-9WL #2516 rest in E08 after having brought Q326 in to Grand Rapids earlier that evening. The power would stick around GR for the better part of 2 weeks, and I would catch #1019 a few times on a couple of different yard jobs. Never dreamed I'd be switching in Grand Rapids with an IC SD70! 5/30/2014

ImageMMRR GP9 #180 by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

One of the Michigan Shore's "Mop Twins" (so named because it looked like they had been painted with a mop), MMRR #180, runs around its train after arriving in Fremont. The #180 would soon get fresh MS red and white and looked absolutely stunning. Unfortunately, only a few months after being repainted, it was left outside om a very cold night without being properly drained and sustained massive amounts of freeze damage. The old Cartier Geep was deemed a total loss and subsequently scrapped. 7/24/2007

ImageHome Rails by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

An ex Conrail SD60I is right at home leading a stack train east through Pine on the Chicago Line back in March of 2013. 3/12/2013

ImageClassic Z151 by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

The Employee-Owned era of Marquette Rail was quickly fading into history as GLLX #3001 lead a long Z151 west on the Sunnyside Lead into Wyoming Yard. Having been sold to Rail America the year before, which then was purchased by G&W, the railroad was about to undergo many changes that unfortunately wouldn't be for the better. In typical "gotta paint the best-looking power orange first" G&W fashion, #3001 and the other two GLLX SD40-2s would get the orange dip before the year was over. 3/11/2013

ImageBeachville Geeps by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

Ontario Southland's spiffy pair of former Soo Line GP7s perform a little switching in Beachville on their way back to Ingersoll. While the Alco and MLW products then-employed by the OSR were our main reason for visiting, a pair of high hood Geeps anywhere in the 21st century is definitely worth the price of admission. 5/2/2013

ImageEmpties on the Holly by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

Still sporting its BN logo on the nose, BNSF SD70MAC #9729 leads C767 coal empties from the DTE plant in Monroe north into Durand. 12/9/2007
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David Collins
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SD80MAC wrote:
Tue May 09, 2023 10:56 am
ImageBusy Times @ Pine by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

What it lacks in scenery, Pine makes up for in sheer number of trains. An out-bound CN freight with an NS Dash 9 rolls over the Clark Rd bridge while a B&LE Tunnel Motor trails on an in-bound local. 4/3/2016
Phenomenal stuff as always Mr. 80MAC. What camera are you shooting with these days?

ImageA pop of color by David R. Collins, on Flickr


A loaded Amtrak ballast train, running as NS 60M, bound for the Amtrak Michigan Line heads west by Cassandra, Pennsylvania. This train made PHENOMENAL time between Altoona and Detroit given that it wasn't an intermodal train, making the run in just over 16 hours.
Last edited by David Collins on Tue May 09, 2023 12:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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SD80MAC
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Back then I had a 70D. Now I use a 7D Mk II.
"Remember, 4 mph is a couple, 5's a collision!"
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David Collins
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ImageSeven-Dimensional by David R. Collins, on Flickr

A long time location I’ve been wanting to visit in my railfanning career is the tiny town of Gallitzin, Pennsylvania.

Gallitzin has two tunnels, one for track one (on the other side of town for some reason) and one for track two and three on the other side of town.

Here we see an eastbound NS manifest approaching the eastern portal of the Gallitzin Tunnels with a pop of color in the second locomotive position, a KCS, now CPKC, SD70ACe. The business the train is passing on the right is Seven D Wholesale, a lumber yard.
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SD80MAC
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ImageOlean Switching by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

The brakeman looks on as Western New York & Pennsylvania C430 #431 burps a cloud of exhaust as the crew works to build their train for the Tank Farm. 9/30/2016

ImageJ Ball on the J by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

An EJ&E SD38-2 still sporting the J Ball on its flanks heads south on the old EJ&E with a long local in tow. 665 is, as of May 2023, still in orange, over 10 years after I took this photo! 3/12/2013

ImageM-66 Intermediates by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

D908's lead GP38-2 splits the searchlights in Woodbury, known as "M-66" due to their proximity to the M-66 crossing. 8/12/2006

ImageElkhart Changes by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

New switches and rail are staged at CP 421 as an east-bound NS freight rolls under the old NYC signals in Elkhart. NS would subsequently reconfigure the entire interlocking, shifting the mainline south and eliminating the diamond for the Kalamazoo branch. 8/21/2014

ImageBNSF GP38-2 #2031 by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

BNSF #2031 is one of a handful of units purchased from NRE in the late 2000s. #2031 itself began life as a GP35 on the Southern Pacific. The locomotive was seen here resting in Rochelle on a quiet Sunday afternoon. 5/22/2016
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David Collins
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ImageWhat used to be special is still special by David R. Collins, on Flickr


On National Train Day 2023, I was driving to Millbury, Ohio after spending some time at Vickers Junction. When I pulled up to Bradner Road, I was shocked.

Sitting short of the crossing was NS M4Q, an extra 14Q. Leading it was NS #3329, an NS SD40-2. This unit used to be quite an interesting special unit, painted in Maersk Sealand colors. It unfortunately lost the colors after getting into wreck. While it no longer has the colors, it's still an SD40-2, without the weird looking admiral cab.

I'm not entirely sure that it led the train the whole way out of Elkhart, as an engineer told me that they may have taken the lead power, and took it somewhere else. While leaving the 3329 on for braking pressure. It's still a rare sight, especially in 2023.
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ImageOh, the irony! by David R. Collins, on Flickr

One of the more interesting (and ironic) catches on National Train Day 2023 came around 1 PM. With NS train 32N running east with two ex BNSF SD70MAC leasers in tow, now owned by Wells Fargo.

What’s ironic is the train in question, 32N, was the same train ID of the train that derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, which is still currently causing an existential crisis for the company. It’s even more ironic that the two leasers were on this particular train, as 32N was the train that put the railroad in the current situation, needing more locomotives to handle longer trains better.

I don’t know if these units will be able to lead trains or not, there’s speculation that they don’t have PTC installed, and from what I’ve been told, crews don’t want them to lead trains. We’ll see what happens.

With that being said, here’s NS 32N heading east by Vickers Junction in Northwood, Ohio, with two former BNSF SD70MAC leasers in tow.
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I owe my love of trains to my late grandfather, who apparently liked them since he was a little boy. He grew up in South Bend and was an avocational photographer. I recently came across some large format matte prints of photos he took around South Bend in the 1940s of steam in action. I tried to clean them up a little bit and wanted to share them here.
IMG_0002 NYC Empire State Express J-3a Gene Burrell photo.jpg
This is the Budd designed Empire State Express. This new equipment consist launched December 7, 1941, but was overshadowed by the unfolding situation at Pearl Harbor. A couple J3a Hudson's received the streamlined skin to match the new passenger equipment. Several of these cars have been preserved at Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum: https://www.rgvrrm.org/about/railroad/ese/

IMG_0001 NYC 2721 Gene Burrell photo.jpg
L2a Mohawk 2721 powers a freight train. I like the mean look of the front end of these units with the feedwater heater up top. This is an Alco 1925 product. This is the same location and likely the same day at the Empire State Express above. I would guess east of downtown South Bend, near where the St Joe River closely parallels Lincolnway and the Water Level Route.

IMG_0006 NYC Steam Gene Burrell photo.jpg
Operating a steam locomotive is probably 98% work, 1% migraine and 1% fun. This probably falls under the work percentage. I'm assuming in the South Bend area.

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David Collins
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ImageSmall yard, Big business by David R. Collins, on Flickr

The Conrail Sterling Yard, located in Sterling Heights, Michigan, may only see 6 trains a day. However it has one big customer.

The large building off to the left in this image is one of Chrysler/Stalantis/FCA’s large factories, and NS/Conrail ships cars out and brings frames in.

On one cool morning in May of 2023, I got word that the original NS heritage unit was sitting in the yard. I knew the shot was going to be hella backlit, so I went up to the 17 mile overpass (never doing that again), and this was the best shot that I could get of it.

I thought the unit would look right at home parked with two AC44C6M’s and a ton of loaded frame cars in a vertical format.
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ImageThe celebrity amongst the crowd by David R. Collins, on Flickr

Last night, I got a text from a friend of mine I CERTAINLY was not expecting. One of the Canadian Pacific heritage units had just left Oakwood yard on a train bound for Sterling Heights.

I had seen one of these units from a freeway once, but I did not get photos of it. So it was really on my bucket list to see one and get photos, but I was certainly not expecting to be shooting it in a conrail secondary yard with 6 other locomotives (technically 8, there were two on the other side of the 17 Mile bridge)

It didn’t show up until 2 in the morning, and after fulfilling some personal business in the morning, I made the trek up to Sterling Yard.

A heritage 2 paint BNSF GEVO that came the day before was still there, and so was 7010, the script lettering unit, painted in Burgundy and Gray colors. Which now that I’ve seen it in person, I REALLY like it, especially on an SD70ACU. In the background is also CSAO job WS-16, which was switching FCA/Stalantis’ factory in Sterling Heights.
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SD80MAC
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ImageIron Range Meet by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

Taconite loads running as U789-08 hold the main at Allen Junction to meet empty train U792-08, which can be seen heading away through the siding. The conductor is climbing aboard after completing his roll-by inspection of the empties, and shortly the train will resume it's journey to Two Harbors. Trios of CN's fleet of ex Chicago & North Western C40-8s are the rule on the Iron Range Sub trains for now, but rebuilt Dash 9s are expected to replace them in the near future. 6/8/2023

ImageElmdale Turn by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

It's train laden with LP Gas for Alto, Y106 will be an Elmdale turn today as the train rounds the curve west of Breton Ave behind GP40-2 #6460. 4/12/2023

ImageCloquet River Morning by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

The morning peace on the Cloquet River near Taft, MN is momentarily disturbed by south-bound CN freight M35641-07 on the former DW&P. This was a beautiful spot, but my God, the BUGS. 6/8/2023

ImageClear of the High Wye by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

A faded ES44DC and a veteran SD40-2W (with recently repainted zebra stripes) begin to accelerate south with Flint-Flat Rock long distance local L508. Handling hot automotive and intermodal traffic set out by other trains in Flint, 508 will work Pontiac along the way, as well as Moterm. Seen here passing the switch for the GLC at the south end of Pitt. 6/4/2023

ImageBurnett by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

It's morning in Burnett as a classic pair of SD40-2Ws rolls south with train L586, the International Falls local. 6/8/2023

ImageGrand Rapids Turn by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

Lately the BNSF's Grand Rapids Turn had been operating with an H1 and a BN SD40-2. Of course on the day we went after it, the H1 unit was in the shop and an H3 GP38-2 was substituting. The train is seen here departing the south end of 28th St Yard, with the Cascade Green unit tucked safely behind the blah leader. Oh well! Superior, WI 6/8/2023

ImageBusy Proctor by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

The E-Lead job's usual pair of SD38-2s are going full-out as they pull a heavy string of cars out of one track to set over in another. Meanwhile, a train of taconite loads has just arrived behind a trio of SD40s (IC 6255, CN 5337, DMIR 405). The conductor is in the process of stepping off to the line train into a clear track for staging. In a few hours, a Proctor switch crew will take the loads down the hill to the docks, where the taconite will be unloaded. Proctor, MN 6/9/2023

ImageThe Ryerson by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

No trip to the Twin Ports would be complete without a visit to the famed Queen of the Great Lakes, the 730 ft Edward L Ryerson. The classic straight-decker (one of only two left in American hands) was built in 1959 and is regarded as one of the most beautiful ships to ever grace the lakes. Laid up since 2009, the ship was recently moved over to the dock here at Fraser shipyards, where personnel have been seen working on her. Time will tell if a reprieve for the grand old lady is on the horizon or not. 6/9/2023

ImageYou Already Know What's Going On by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

Last week, my friends and I took what turned out to be an absolutely incredible trip to the fabled Iron Range and Twin Ports. I will say, it definitely lives up to the hype! If you're a fan of vintage EMDs, there are few better places to be. Here a kick-ass trio of SD40T-3s is seen rolling through Fairlane with empty limestone train U718, headed ultimately back to the docks in Duluth for another load. Forbes, MN 6/8/2023

ImageEnd-Cab Quintet by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

No less than five Union Railroad MP15s lift a train of coke empties up the hill at Dravosburg, PA, headed for Clairton. 8/14/2022

ImageClose... by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

...but no cigar. Either way, happy to have finally shot CN #8952, the GTW heritage unit, even if it wasn't leading. Trailing an ET44AC on A492 as the train rolls into Bancroft. There's always next time! 6/4/2023

ImageDolton Memories by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

Newly-repainted SD50-2 #2492 leads a B40-8 around the connection from UP's Villa Grove Sub to CSX's Barr Sub at Doloton, IL back in July of 2006. My friend new the owner of the truck shop here on the north east side of the junction, and he let us spend the day on the roof. Best seat in the house! 7/14/2006

ImageCP Clara by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

The "new" control point in Durand, immediately west of the diamond, is Clara. East-bound freight M396 is coasting through town behind SD70M-2 #8010, an SD75I, and a Dash 9 on Main #1. The reason for the leisurely pace is the approaching E271 on Main #2, which has just cleared up the single track at East Durand. Both trains would meet just east of the depot. 6/4/2023

ImageGTW #5632 by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

Grand Trunk Western K-4-b Pacific #5632 on display at Durand, MI. It was built in 1929 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works. It and sisters 5633 and 5634 were the final Pacifics ordered by the GTW and were thoroughly modern machines for their time. Their operating boiler pressure of 215 psi was respectable for the era, and their 44,000 lbs of tractive effort was typical of a 4-6-2. Their 73" drivers were more than adequate on "the Good Track road", where they would routinely hit 90 mph or better. The K-4-bs were the only GTW Pacifics to feature vestibule cabs, something that would be carried-over to all future GTW (and CN) steam orders. As GTW purchased 4-8-2s and 4-8-4s in the 1930s and 1940s, the Pacifics were bumped from the premier passenger trains, and spent their last decade hauling passenger and commuter trains on the Detroit division between Muskegon and Detroit. Retired in 1960, #5632 was donated to the city of Durand, where it resides on display today. There is a group who oversees the ongoing maintenance of 5632, and it sounds like the paint will be freshened up pretty soon (it was last repainted about 10 years ago). 6/4/2023

ImageIn a World of Gevos, Be a 70MAC by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

A refreshing change on the L302/303 rotation for a couple of weeks was SD70AC #4564, seen here leading an ES44AH east on L303 at 36th St. 5/6/2023

ImagePitt Junction by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

Ethan and Ben look on as a pair of CN's original 25 SD70Is lead Q116 south past the switch for the Great Lakes Central at Pitt. I don't think I've ever seen a pair of the 70Is together before, as the SD75Is far outnumber them on the CN roster. 6/4/2023

ImageRailroad Days Arrival by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

Durand Railroad Days 2006 finds Huron & Eastern 702 arriving from Bay City. Central Michigan U23B #8903 and B30-7AB #2001 provide the power on this pleasant spring day. 5/20/2006

ImageAn Oddball by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

With just 53 units built, CSX's fleet of Dash 9s represent an interesting transition between the older Dash 8 and then-new Dash 9 models. While most are now in storage, they were still drawing hot assignments in 2014, which #9012 is illustrating here as it hustles Q146 east at Suman, IN. 8/21/2014

ImageBottle Train by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

An ex Southern SD40-2 has the hot bottle train in tow as it heads down the IHB at Michigan Ave. I think this was the only time I can remember seeing this train with a 6 axle. The cotton was really flying that day! 5/27/2006

ImageClassic Q334 by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

A pair of SD40-2s are in full dynamics as they roll down the Thornapple grade with Grand Rapids-Toledo freight Q334. The boxcars on the head end were auto parts empties from Shape Logistics on the Michigan Shore in Ferrysburg. 2/17/2012

ImageCalifornia Zephyr by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

One of P40DCs rebuilt as part of the TIGER program, #815, barrels through the small town of Wataga, IL with the west-bound CZ. 5/20/2016

ImageD900 by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

An extra D700 job was called out of Grand Rapids on this day to rescue a dead Q326 south of Holland. CSX #2667, still looking much like it did when it got a coat of Seaboard System gray in the 80s, trailed GP38-2S #6134 at Lamar. 8/2/2007

ImageGrand Rapids Eastern by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

The original RailTex paint job on GR #3839 was still holding up well 15 years after being repainted. #3839 would later be among the first units in the state to get the orange dip in 2014, becoming MMRR #2057. 8/21/2008

ImageNorth Yard Switching by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

Mid Michigan #180 switches out a long cut of slurry tanks as the crew builds their train to head down to Sappi Fine Paper Co. The old C&O engine house stands at the right, now used by MOW. 7/24/2007

ImageUnder 94 by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

A Union Pacific SD70AH leads a west-bound NS freight under I-94 in Porter, about to cross Mineral Springs road. 9/5/2020

ImagePulling Out of Curtis Yard by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

After waiting for a few trains to pass, Y123 pulls out of Curtis Yard with SD40-2 #8357 leading a pair of Dash 8s. The train of 100 cars is all CN traffic interchanged at Curtis, bound for Barr Yard. Another train can be seen approaching on Main 1 down at East Curtis. 3/12/2013

Image'Round The Wye by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

L303's power negotiates the west leg of the Sunnyside Wye as the crew spins them for the trip east. 2/23/2023

ImageMonongahela in the Flatlands by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

NS #8025 trails an NS SD70ACe and a BNSF ES44AC on an east-bound ethanol train through the heart of Illinois back in 2016. 5/20/2016

ImageHenry Street by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

A quiet summer day at Michigan Shore's former Grand Trunk Western shops finds MMRR #1216 getting some sun while MMRR #2057 gets worked on inside. 8/8/2014

ImageBlades by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

My only encounter with the famed Santa Fe semaphores. I'm not much of a signal foamer, but I did at least make a point to snap this photo of the lonely blades at Chapelle, NM while we waited for Amtrak #4 to arrive. 4/12/2018
"Remember, 4 mph is a couple, 5's a collision!"
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SD80MAC
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ImageEnd of the Line by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

BNSF #2571 has reached the end of the line on the waterfront in Superior, WI, as the crew spots a long cut of grain loads at the Peavey elevator. May have been the 113 yard job? 6/9/23

ImageWorth the Wait by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

During our trip to the Twin Ports and Iron Range, my friends and I decided we would attempt to go after Cliffs’ Northshore Mining operation. Operating in some very remote territory and with limited public access to the line, this railroad has run in relative obscurity compared to the other ore haulers in the region. Armed with some solid intel as to when they would be running, we went to the MN 2 overpass, and we waited. And waited. It rained, it was foggy, and the mosquitos were out for blood. After about an hour and 45 minutes, we were starting to wonder if we had missed it. Finally, a distant horn, and a few moments later, the 11 AM crude ore loads came slowly into view. Simultaneously, the rain tapered off, and the sun showed itself for the first time in a few hours. It all added up to a very nice view of NSM's recently purchased SD70ACes, leaning into the curve with dynamics whining as the heavy train worked downhill towards Silver Bay. 6/10/23

ImageM399 by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

A pair of CN's now very-ubiquitous ET44ACs roll west through Bancroft with a massive M399. 6/4/23

ImageSpirit Mountain by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

The curve at Spirit Mountain has certainly been a favorite spot for fans of the DMIR over the years. I think I've seen photos from this location practically my whole life, long before I even knew where it was. It seems only fitting to have had the opportunity to shoot a DMIR SD40-3 leading two sisters from the Bessemer here, grinding up Proctor Hill with a train of miniquads laden with limestone on R924. An amazing show for any fan of EMD products! 6/9/23

ImageUP SD40N #1736 by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

Still sporting it's Snoot nose, rebuilt Union Pacific SD40N #1736 rests for the evening at South St. Paul yard. 6/7/23

ImageTailings Train by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

After shooting the 11:00 crude loads, we booked it south to "Railfan Rock". After climbing to the top, we were surprised to hear the sound of another train, working up-hill from the east. With an SD40-2 in notch 8 on both ends, a tailings train slowly grinded past us, on its way up to the Northshore's Tailings Pond. I couldn't tell you the last time I saw Difco side dump cars! 6/10/23

ImageBoylston by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

CPKC has barely existed for 2 months, but the motive power of both component railroads has already really started to mix. A very far from home Kansas City Southern de Mexico ES44AC is seen with train 251 rolling north on BNSF trackage rights at Boylston, WI, headed for CPKC's Stinson Yard in Superior. 6/8/23

ImageThe MRF by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

Though CN officially refers to it as L594, the Missabe crews still refer to the local that plies the former DMIR rails as the "MRF" (miscellaneous road freight). Handling the few online freight customers on the Iron Range and Missabe subs, the job typically rates a pair of 6 axle EMDs. On this day, the class leader of the DMIR's SD40-3s, #400, was working with IC #6260, both of which are seen rolling west at Ramshaw with the MRF. 6/9/23

ImageBelt Job by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

Early Sunday morning in St. Paul, MN, finds the Minnesota Commercial's Belt Job headed out to do their work with B39-8E #87. While all of the Commercial's Alcos are currently stored, they still field an impressive fleet of vintage GEs. 6/11/23

ImageThe Scenic Northshore by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

Recently restored Northern Pacific SD45 #3617 leads one of the Northshore Scenic's afternoon excursions along the Lake Superior waterfront in Duluth. 6/10/23

ImageSouth on the Peg by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

For roughly 60 miles, CN uses the former DMIR and DWP for directional running. All north-bound CN through trains take the Missabe, while the south-bound through trains take the Peg. Now CN's Rainy Sub, the former DWP is quite scenic, but is much less accessible than the former DMIR a few miles west. Passing milepost 41, south-bound "core train" (what CN refers to the non-ore and limestone trains up here as) M302-07 leans into the curve at Shaw, MN with an ET44AC in the lead. 6/8/23

Image28th St by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

Various BNSF EMDs rest between assignments at the railroad's 28th St yard in Superior. In the distance, the Grand Rapids Turn's power can be seen heading to the south end to get their train. 6/8/23

ImageQuiet Brownsville by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

Not much is happening on the quiet Saturday evening in Brownsville, PA, as empty coal train N11 heads south along the river to the mines. 8/13/22

ImageRoseville by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

Minnesota Commercial's Hugo Job rocks slowly north through Roseville, behind a pair of burbling former Santa Fe B23-7s. Though all of the Commercial's Alcos are currently out of service, the railroad still fields an impressive fleet of vintage GEs. 6/11/23
"Remember, 4 mph is a couple, 5's a collision!"
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GP30M4216
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It's November 7, 2009 and we're trackside just north of Romulus diamond along Shook Road near Wick where we find southbound Q216 passing a vintage C&O whistle post. CW44AC #345 leads SD70AC #4790 ahead of a long line of multilevels, and another whistle post.

CC0345 Q216 Wick Road Romulus 11-07-2009 B DONE.jpg
CC4790 Q216 Wick Road Romulus 11-07-2009 DONE.jpg

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SD80MAC
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ImageEast Durand by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

Utilizing one of the equilateral switches that CN so loves to employ on the GTW across Michigan, Flint-Flat Rock local L508 swings onto main 2 at East Durand. The headend boxcars are all auto parts traffic for Chrysler. 6/4/2023

ImageBeautiful St. Paul by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

Union Pacific's MALNP-11 has a freshly repainted AC4400 leading a trio of SD70s as the train crosses the Mississippi River in St. Paul. The Robert Street lift bridge was built in 1912 and is scheduled to be replaced by a new bridge at some point, as UP filed for the necessary permits and studies in 2021. 6/11/2023

ImageRice's Point Transfer by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

CPKC's job from Rice's Point has just crossed the Grassy Point bridge and is now headed for Stinson Yard. One of the former CP GP20C-ECOs seems to be the usually assigned engine to this job as of late. 6/9/2023

ImageTunnel Motor Trio by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

Limestone empties running as U718 are rolling along at the maximum speed for the nearly 100 year old miniquads near Sax, MN. A trio of SD40-3s, which all began life as Southern Pacific SD45T-2s, power the train on this fine spring day. 6/8/2023

ImagePounding the Peg by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

U789 throttles up after pounding across the diamond with the former DWP at Ramshaw. The usual trio of C40-8s powers this Two Harbors-bound train of taconite loads. 6/8/2023

ImageNorthtown Yard by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

HNTWBRC1-11A skirts the edge of the yard behind an ES44C4 and two visiting Ferromex SD70ACes. In the foreground are stored LUGO BNSF locomotives, of which there were nearly one hundred. The LUGO lines consisted mostly of older EMD Geeps, SD70MACs, and GE Dash 9s. 6/11/2023

ImageKelsey by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

U717 rolls south at Kelsey with a train of taconite behind a C40-8, an SD40u, and an SD40-3. While most of the remaining Dash 8 fleet is concentrated out of Two Harbors, there are still a few stragglers on the Proctor-based trains. 6/8/2023

ImageThe Pond by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

Minnesota Commercial's Hugo Job has just left the yard and is on their way north to work various customers. The pair of ex Santa Fe B23-7s are reflected in the pond on this beautiful Sunday morning in St. Paul. 6/11/2023


ImageT-Bird @ Wolf by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

Running from Thunderbird Mine to Utac, this T-Bird shuttle train (U730) has a load of crude ore for processing at the latter. United Taconite receives all of its crude ore via these shuttles, of which there always seems to be at least 1 or 2 running around on the northern end of the former DMIR rails. Recently CN has assigned pairs of Gevos to these trains. Because these trains don't traverse any major grades like the taconite loads to Duluth and Two Harbors, straight air equipment is not needed. The train is seen joining the main at Wolf. 6/9/2023

ImageSuper-Late Builder by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

While I'm sure the passengers on this 7+ hour late Empire Builder were not pleased, I was certainly happy we were able to click the train cruising past Northtown Yard with a pair of the new ALC-42s leading. I wish the Midwest Chargers had the nose cones these things have. 6/11/2023

ImageDown Proctor Hill by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

The dynamics are howling on R921's trio of SD40s as the train carefully descends the grade from Proctor down to the docks in Duluth. There the taconite will be unloaded into the docks to await further loading into a Laker. 6/9/2023

ImageBiwabik by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

A trio of C40-8s leads U789 east through Biwabik. Once a busy yard used for taconite blocking and staging, as well as a small crew base for the many mines that used to be in the area, Biwabik today sees only the passage of trains to and from Two Harbors. What remains of the small roundhouse here is today used by MOW. 6/8/2023

ImageDMIR #225 by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range 2-8-8-4 #225 on display in Proctor, MN, just a little ways up the hill from the DMIR mainline where it spent its career hauling iron ore. #225 was built in 1941 by Baldwin, part of a group of 8 class M-3 engines for the DMIR. These brutes were actually based on the Western Pacific’s large 2-8-8-2s, but lengthened to include a vestibule cab and a larger firebox, which necessitated a 4 wheel trailing truck. Thoroughly modern machines, they featured cast integral engine frames, Timken Roller Bearings on all axles, and centipede pedastal tenders. Among the most powerful articulated steam locomotives ever built, their 140,000 lbs of tractive effort eclipsed even the famous Union Pacific Big Boys. They were very successful engines for the DMIR and served until they were retired in the very late 50s, replaced by EMD SD9s and SD18s. In addition to #225, 2 others are preserved (one in Duluth, and another in Two Harbors). 6/8/2023

ImageVirginia Meetings by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

U792 waits patiently in the siding as the train that's been holding them up for the last 3 hours, U719, finally rolls south through Virginia as fast as the mini quads are permitted to go. As I have been told, the mine at Minorca can only handle 1 train at a time, so the taconite empties had to wait until this limestone train was emptied and clear before proceeding north. The conductor and his trainee give the trio of Tunnel Motors a roll-by after a heavy downpour soaked the area for the last hour. 6/9/2023

ImageE-Lead by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

A pair of DMIR SD38-2s are busy breaking down a cut of cars brought over by the Pokegoma Transfer on the East Lead at Proctor Yard. Of the 6 original SD38-2s purchased by the DMIR, just 3 remain on the CN roster in 2023. 6/9/2023

ImageChuggin' Sevens by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

The sound of laboring 12-cylinder GE FDLs is unmistakable as the Minnesota Commercial's Hugo Job works its way north on a sunny Sunday morning. 6/11/2023

ImageOn the Flint Sub by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

A251 rounds the Chicago Wye in Durand as the train moves from the Holly Sub to the Flint Sub. 6/4/2023

ImageTwo Harbors by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

The relatively small yard at Two Harbors can certainly be a very busy place. One of the dock switchers is seen moving ore cars around with CN #6018 and BLE #904. At left, U789 is just arriving and preparing to tie down their train, while U792's power moves through the yard at right. 6/10/2023

ImageWestminster by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

With a newly-repainted AC4400 in the lead, UP's MALNP-11 winds its way through the junction at Westminster. 6/11/2023

ImageLonesome Highway by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

It seems that more often than not, Minnesota Highway 7 is devoid of cars, especially in the early morning hours. The lack of traffic lends itself to views like this, as a pair of SD60s roll south with L568 from International Falls. 6/10/2023

ImageNext Up by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

HNTWSUP was the second of three trains my friends and I happened to catch in Boylston, WI in rapid succession (first was a CPKC freight, then a UP coke train was third). Sporting the A/C unit from a Warbonnet Dash 9 and an excellent-sounding RS3L horn, BNSF 5432 leads the train off the Hinckley Sub and onto the Lakes Sub for the remainder of the trip to Superior. 6/8/2023

ImageEngine 404 Not Found by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

North-bound limestone loads (U719) with a trio of Tunnel Motors lead by DMIR 404 meet a south-bound T-Bird (U730) just south of Iron Junction. 6/9/2023
"Remember, 4 mph is a couple, 5's a collision!"
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AARR
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Re: Daily Uploads

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SD80MAC, thank you for the information and pictures. I thoroughly enjoy both.
PatC created a monster, 'cause nobody wants to see Don Simon no more they want AARR I'm chopped liver, well if you want AARR this is what I'll give ya, bad humor mixed with irrelevant info that'll make you roll your eyes quicker than a ~Z~ banhammer...

GP30M4216
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SD80MAC, Great catch of one of the newly painted UP units - and one with the non-standard billboard lettering, too! Also, ditto on your comment about the Charger nosecone. Great photos as always!

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SD80MAC
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Re: Daily Uploads

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Thanks guys.
"Remember, 4 mph is a couple, 5's a collision!"
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GP30M4216
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December 29, 1998: A pair of brand new SD70MAC's in Conrail's white face paint scheme hustle an eastbound manifest along US-33 at milepost 414, between Elkhart and Goshen. As I recall, we were driving along on 33 and saw the headlight in the distance, and I was able to convince my parents to pull into one of those break-down pull offs where I bailed out to snap these two photos. This was shot on Kodak Gold 200 speed film on a camera with no zoom lens proving reasonably good photos can be taken with less than platinum level equipment. In just a few months, Conrail would become relegated to the history books.
Conrail 4144 Dunlap 12-29-1998 A.jpg
Conrail 4144 Dunlap 12-29-1998 B.jpg

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