Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Ford Yard

While my camera is off getting looked at by the manufacturer I figured I would take a look back at photos from days gone by. I decided to take a look today at shots from the Ford Yard in St.Paul. This CP yard used to serve the Ford Ranger plant until its closing last year. Now CP uses it for storage and crew training. CP has their own parking lot and two story office at the East end of the yard.
In May of 2009, CP SD40-2 6061 made the run up the hill. There would often be two GP's switching the yard and 2 SD40-2s or GP38s delivering more cars daily. The caboose was almost always in the yard.
Here is what the yard looked like in September of 2011 under a normal work load. Flatcars of Ranger frames and boxcar loads of parts would arrive daily, they would go into the plant via the southern side of the yard (right in this photo). Outgoing loads of Ford Rangers would leave in Autoracks on the North side of the yard. You can see the caboose hiding in the back of the yard by a flatcar load of frames.
In December of 2011 the end was near, but the yard still was in motion. Typical of the power assigned to the yard SOO GP38-2 4409 and another SOO GP38-2 paused for a short break.
 In July of this year CP GP9u 8275 was the training vehicle of choice.
And recently CP GP39-2 4599 and SOO GP39-2 4598 were helping a crew of new hired learn the ropes.
It's nice to know the yard is still seeing use, it's to bad it is not for its intended purpose. Maybe someday there will be new life in those buildings, but it won't be anytime soon. I used the little map gizmo on this post, so if any of you ever want to take a look at the yard, you'll know just where to find it.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Pigs Eye

I live a short hop from the Pigs Eye Yard in St. Paul Minnesota. The yard is named for the landfill the railroad built on top of. [Useless Fact Alert!] When the CP built their new office here they had to run pile 160 feet down through garbage to hold the structure up. It is always a hot spot and there are plenty of great things to see. Last Saturday was no exception.
CP 6243 was one of two freshly painted SD60s on the property today.
There was a lineup of MP15ACs, notice all three are in different paint schemes. There are also still SOO white and some bandit MP15s working the yard here as well.
 UP 3236 was pulling the UP-TCWR transfer uphill toward downtown. The TCWR power was chasing behind running light.
 TCWR 40155 is one of the best patch jobs I've seen in a while, I just had to share...
On the left is the CP-UP transfer in UP's Hoffman Yard which runs right next to Pigs Eye Yard. The TCWR GP30C #4302 is getting ready to head back to Hopkins.
 A BNSF manifest (with a UP engine) approaches Pigs Eye on the BNSF mainline, pulling some wind turbine nacelles. These loads are cool in that they are bolted to the cars at their base, notice there are no straps or cables over the top.
 DME 6050 was one of the ICE/DME SD40-3s at Pigs Eye, this one just happened to be passing through.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

BLMA Reefer

Somehow a reefer bound for Newport Cold Storage off the CP line in Newport, MN ended up on the BNSF Hinckley Local. The Skally crews noticed the oddball and ran it south as an "express extra" with the ILSX 202.
While this car is oddly out of place on the Skally it is an amazingly nice car. Craig over at BLMA nailed it on this one. The lettered trucks, metal wheels and body mounted couplers are awesome. The separately applied details are really beyond what I am used to in N Scale.
If you need modern reefers, don't hesitate to pick some of these up. They are worth every penny of the asking price. The only complaint I have is that darn UP logo on the side....
Another shot of the ILSX SD9 #202... just because I can.

Monday, September 10, 2012

ILSX 1338

ILSX SD40-2 1338 is out of the shop and is helping ILSX SD40-2 1344 on the Escanaba & Lake Superior Railroad while E&LS 400 is in the Bethel Shops for repairs.
This engine started as a Kato SD40-2. The real 1338 sits on a SD40 chassis, but I like the Kato -2s for ease of adding DCC and parts availability.  I added the usual details (BLMA, MbE, Atlas), MbE snow shields, Trainworx grills, moved the brake wheel out back, put rear MbE lights (note they are vertical, not horizontal).
I want to thank Jim Elbe for catching some great shots of the duo around Lena, WI on the E&LS. They were very helpful in making this project happen. One of Jim's shots:

Saturday, September 8, 2012

ILSX 202

When I heard the NREX SD9 is Hills, MN might be up for sale I figured it would go well with the rest of the Skally fleet. This ex-CB&Q unit is a good workhorse and would be a nice compliment to the other SD9s on our roster. We numbered it 202 to fill the roster gap left when we renumbered the 1344. It is running solo on the Skally right now, but it looks like all 4 SD9s may end up together pulling some unit sand trains from Tiller Corp. in North Branch next month. It will be a fun day of railfanning when it happens!
This engine started out as an Atlas Conrail SD9. I used an Atlas GP38 cab and a Kato SD40-2 short hood. It has BLMA cut levers, ditch lights, wipers, air hoses, mu cables, class light covers, grab irons, MLE all-weather windows, a Sunrise strobe, a MbE antenna and air horn, Trainworx lift rings, an Atlas MU cable and an Atlas sand hatch on the front. The rear sand hatch is the base off a JnJ blat air horn. The battery boxes had to be chopped off both fronts, so the front handrails are soldered wire and GMM stanchions. The paints are Floquil BNSF Heritage Green, GN Orange and reefer white on the handrails. The couplers are Micro Trains 905 Z scale couplers. The decals are a mix of Micro Scale sets.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Heritage Units

Well, not exactly Skally Line Heritage Units, but a pair of engines painted in the BNSF H1 paint scheme.

The SD9 is going to be numbered ILSX 202, to take the spot vacated when ILSX 1344 was renumbered. This engine is based off of ex-BNSF 6158 that I photographed in the metropolis of Hills, MN.
 I still need to number it and add reporting marks, but I am making progress.
ILSX 1338 is based of the a newly acquired ILSX SD40-2. This engine is currently being leased with the real ILSX 1344 to the E&LS while E&LS GP38 400 is in Bethel at the ILS shops getting some work done. Once I get the decaling done I can finish the cab details and start final assembly.
 You can see the prototype in this fantastic shot by Jim Elbe in Howard, WI.