Once all the loaded sand cars are coupled together, air lines are hooked up and the brakes tested, the train is ready to head north. BNSF will call this one U-NBREFV9-05. That is a unit train from North Branch, MN to East Fairview, North Dakota. It is a low priority to BNSF, so this one will be in the hole a lot as Z Trains slide by.
I caught up with the train heading through the Beroun cut. Its easy to photograph when the leaves aren't on the trees (trees are coming).
As we pull into Hinckley we can see under the Hwy 61 bridge (MNDOT needs to finish that one up one of these days). The other Skally crew has finished the interchange and is waiting for us to clear so they can head south back to Rush City.
The unit train pulls under Hwy 61.
The Skally SD40M-2s wait patiently.
You can see the old NP roadbed, from when Hinckley was an NP/GN diamond.
The BNSF crew relieves the Skally Crew and gets a track warrant to head north on the BNSF Hinckley Sub. This train will be routed up through Superior, WI (SUP) on it's way to North Dakota. The Skally crew was happy to be out of the -9. They think BNSF forgot to clean the toilet before the engine was delivered.
As the back end of the train clears the South End Skally switch, the other train pulls out.
The BNSF crew has their warrant and pulls out onto BNSF tarckage. Here we see the BNSF Hinckley Section shack. There are a few MOW crew members stationed here.
The crew notches up and pulls out of town, crossing Hwy 61 at the BP station. When are those gates going to be installed? Soon we hope.
And so the unit sand train departs. It should only be a week or two and another will be going again. The sand train definitely adds to the operations of the line.