Sunday, July 07, 2013

Dilworth Yard Action

I mentioned that I was down in North Dakota back in May with my family. After I did some quick scouting, I spent some time in downtown Fargo shooting a few trains. We pick up there as I headed east from Fargo into Moorhead, Minnesota. Fargo and Moorhead and Dilworth (MN) are all basically stuck together and it's hard to tell where one ends and the next begins. BNSF has a yard that begins in Moorhead but the majority of it is actually in Dilworth.

I remember I stumbled across this pair of engines at the head of a coal train waiting to head west.
BNSF 9528 and BNSF 9312 in Moorhead

Remember that this was early in the morning (8 AM at this time) so the sun was still fairly low in the sky to the east. I was happy to catch a "Grinstein green" engine, more commonly referred to as the "BN Executive" scheme. BNSF 9528 is an SD70MAC.

Moving west, I came across the area where BNSF stages its engines for refueling, recrewing and so forth... here. There was a cluster of about a dozen engines, including BNSF 6672, an ES44C4. This is similar to an ES44AC in the GE Evolution series of engines, except that the middle axle of each truck is unpowered.
BNSF 6672 in Dilworth

Slightly farther west in the yard, I saw BNSF 5520, a C44-9W.
BNSF 5520 in Dilworth Yard

I went down to the very end of the yard, where there is a large grain elevator and an overpass over the tracks. This is called WATTS, mile 1.0 of the K O Subdivision. I found BNSF 4852 (another C44-9W) at the head of what I believe was an oil train, at rest at 8:15 AM. I did not see any crew and it did not move.
BNSF 4852 and BNSF 1062 in Dilworth Yard

To the east, a coal train was waiting to enter the yard, with BNSF 5884 (ES44AC) at the head. You can see that shooting into the morning light was not a great idea.
BNSF 5884 near Dilworth Yard

I decided to wait here to see what might happen. I was hoping for the oil train to start rolling but there was nothing going on there. After 25 minutes of waiting, my friend BNSF 4920 came rolling by with the same intermodal train I saw in downtown Fargo earlier in the day.
BNSF 4920 BNSF 4114 BNSF 4852 in Dilworth

The only other activity was BNSF 2793 in the distance, working the yard with BNSF 2344.

After an hour of waiting, I decided to go up on the overpass and shoot the waiting coal train. With a bit of careful positioning, I was able to overcome the low morning sun at 09:10 and get a shot of BNSF 5884.
BNSF 5884 outside Dilworth Yard

There was another "BN Executive" engine, BNSF 9442.
BNSF 9442 outside Dilworth

I came down from there and of course the BNSF coal train started moving then, so I missed them coming through the crossing where I had been waiting. Oh well.. here they are rolling past BNSF 2793, a GP39-2.
BNSF 2793 in Dilworth

I was just about out of time at this point. On my way back through Dilworth and Moorhead, I stumbled across a steam engine on display in the "Whistle Stop Park". This is Northern Pacific #1068 together with caboose #1651.
Northern Pacific 1068 in Dilworth MN

On my way back toward Fargo, I saw BNSF 5884 and train waiting at the west end of the Dilworth Yard.

That was a good morning!

After some final shopping, we headed north from Fargo toward the Canadian border. Somewhere between Fargo and Grand Forks, I spied a southbound freight train. I pulled over and took a series of shots of the approaching train.
BNSF 5271 near Fargo

I took a pan shot of BNSF 5271 (C44-9W).
BNSF 5271 near Fargo

Sorry to interrupt this BNSF marathon, but when passing Drayton, ND I spotted a trio of engines with a Union Pacific engine in the middle! I'm not sure what UP 4061 was doing deep in BNSF territory...
Union Pacific 4061 outside Drayton

*That* was the end of my railfan adventures in North Dakota. Good times.

Further Reading


Unknown said...

These are just awesome photos Steve! The story and your knowledge of these trains makes me smile. Great post!

Karl A. said...

Dilworth is great! I just made my first trip there last month. Great shots as always!

Canadian Train Geek said...

Thanks, Patti!

Thank you, Karl, I'm glad you like Dilworth!