Rails & Trails Pages

Monday, October 11, 2010

Boylston Trip

On Saturday, October 9th, 2010, Joe Lewis and I took a train ride from Minneapolis to Boylston (near Superior) and back.  We rode in the 261 group's Great Dome car--our favorite.  The trip was advertised as a fund-raiser for overhauling their steam engine #261.






We will be pulled by an Amtrak diesel.  Note the 'Hiawatha' decal that has been applied for this trip.  Hiawatha was the name given to the fast Milwaukee Road passenger trains.

As we walked to our rail car, we were invited to tour the engine house where 261 was being overhauled.




Looking at the backhead in the cab of this iron horse:






And into the firebox:





And into the smokebox at the front of the engine:




On the lower level we can look at the running gear and underneath the beast:





Here is the car we're riding in--the dome car, taken by a railfan.  We had full access to the observation car Cedar Rapids but we can see better from the Dome car.



Looking backwards in the dome.  An attendant told me he thought they had about 350 people on this train and the Sunday train from Minneapolis to LaCrescent would have roughly 450 people.


                           
We pass through Northtown Yard.  The track we are on right now is used by the new Northstar commuter line from Minneapolis to Big Lake.


At Coon Creek we will split off onto the Hinckley sub.  This track was used by Amtrak back in the 1980s for passenger service but the service was dropped because of lack of ridership.  So, this is 'rare' trackage for riding although the 261 did run here last year also.  But last year the temperature was 29 degrees compared to today's 80 degrees and sunshine!!!!



At this point the blog is not allowing me to enter pictures correctly.  The following pix are described below.
 



There weren't many people watching our train in the Cities, but up the line, especially past Cambridge, there were lots of people watching this unusual passenger car run.  It must have been written up in some newspapers so people were aware of it:

This is what the bridge looks like:



The manager of the Premium Class cars was old friend John Strand of Chippewa Falls.  John used to belong to our Barron County Model Railroad Club and enjoys volunteering with the 261 group.



It is lunch time and Yours Truly and Joe Lewis are about to indulge:



Near Boylston we cross the Nemadji River:







Here is what the Nemadji Bridge looks like:



Our train turns on a 'wye' at Boylston, a little south of Superior.  There is no good place to turn a train in Superior or Duluth and it would take too much time to complete that trip in daylight--but it sure would have been fun!!  We are on the west leg of the wye.  We will back up on the track to the left, and then head back south on the track at the top of the picture:



Crossing the Nemadji River again:





We stopped at Askov.  A coach car had been dedicated to residents of this community and we stopped and picked them up on the way north and now let them off.  The 3 coaches in this picture were used last week in filming a new movie "Abduction."



Here we cross the Kettle River again:



Just north of the Twin Cities we pass the Bethel Independent Locomotive Services which overhauls and leases diesels:



We come back through the Northtown Yard with the Twin Cities in the distance:



Another GREAT Trip in a Dome Car.  Great weather, Great friends, Great memories . . .

Thanks for riding along!!

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