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The day before the Milwaukee Road 261 6/21/2019

by Chris Guenzler

I had gotten my Milwaukee Road 261 tickets for a return to Glencoe and new mileage to Winthrop. I got my usual hotel then a rental car and was set to do this trip solo. Elizabeth Alkire then decided to ride both days but stayed at another motel a few miles away. I offered to drive her to and from the train and back to the airport on Sunday after the trip. So I ended up flying early Friday morning and Elizabeth would fly into the Twin Cities late Friday night and her motel would pick her up at the airport. It seemed we had a plan that would work well for both of us.

Delta Airlines 860 6/21/2019

I was up at 3:00 AM and after I showered, shaved and fixed breakfast, checked out things on the Internet. After that I took my bags to the front porch and then out to the sidewalk and waited for Super Shuttle to arrive. Again it was another straight short trip to John Wayne Airport but I got to the front of the line at 4:30 AM. However the security lines did not open until 5:00 AM and I zipped through security this morning. I then condensed my luggage and then got myself preboarded as my knees were really hurting this morning. I was first on the plane, taking my left hand window reserved seat 21A and did Sudoku puzzles most of the way to MSP which we arrived at twenty minutes early. I got off the plane and had to take that little train to the Enterprise Rental Counter. This was quick and he walked me out to a Hyundai Elantra and then I drove and checked into my usual motel.

The Twin Cities of St Paul and Minneapolis and out to Big Lake 6/21/2019

I drove to the 28th Avenue Blue Line station and parked across the street. I bought my day pass and then I waited for the next train to the Mall of America.

I boarded The last car of this train and took it to the Mall of America.

At the Mall of America I detrained for this picture. I reboarded this train and headed north to Target Field.

After the tunnel under the airport you get a great view of the airport from the trolley. I rode the rest of the way to Target Field and detrained to check the time of my Northstar commuter train to Big Lake later this afternoon. I had time to ride to and from St Paul.

My Green lime Trolley came next into the station and I took this trolley all the way to St Paul Union Station. Once there I was the first one off and on to the other which I took back to Target Field with plenty of time to catch the Northstar commuter train. I bought my roundtrip ticket then had pictures to take.

Northstar MP36PH-3C 904 at the Target Field station.

The Northstar train that would take me out to Big Lake this late afternoon.

Northstar MP36PH-3C 902 at the Target Field station.

The train that will be following us out to Big Lake.

One more view of Northstar MP36PH-3C 902 at the Target Field station.

One more view of my train's motive power.

My round trip ticket to Big Lake and return. The train left Target Field station right on time.

It crossed the very scenic Mississippi River.

The new E unit that the Friends of the Milwaukee Road bought and is making its first run ever this weekend on our excursion trains.

The Milwaukee Road 4-8-4 261 ready for the weekend trips at Minneapolis Junction.

The next junction we came to was the old Northern Pacific freight line from St Paul that I got to ride on that NRHS Convention Train we ran to Duluth and back.

Next we came to the old Soo Line yard where I rode Canadian Pacific 2816 out of this yard both ways.

This was the way Canadian Pacific 2816 took us out to the Soo Line Mainline to Glenwood.

Stored BNSF power at Northtown Yard.

BNSF yard switchers at Northtown Yard.

BNSF road power at the west end of Northtown Yard.

The line that goes to Duluth and I wonder if I will ever get to ride it again. The train ran out to Big Lake and I detrained for pictures.

A BNSF local was stopped at Big Lake waiting to follow us back to the Twin Cities.

BNSF GP40M 3002 at Big Lake.

BNSF GP38-2 2312 at Big Lake.

Our train is now getting ready to head back to Target Field.

The rear end of our train set. The train left late due to PTC problems with the cab car computer. They fixed it and soon we were rolling east down the railroad.

The typical Minnesota scenery along our route.

A train on the Soo Line bridge that I rode Canadian Pacific 2816 on five trips across it.

Stored BNSF motive power at Northtown yard.

BNSF Great Northrern SW-1500 3429.

BNSF SD70MAC 9755.

BNSF SD70MAC 9636.

BNSF Great Northern SW15 3407.

Milwaukee Road 261 which I will be riding the next two days of my life.

I will get a better picture of this tomorrow morning.

Out of the cab car window the bridge across the Mississippi River. I thanked the train crew for the great ride on the Northstar. I detrained and returned to the Target Field light rail station.

A South Dakota theme on some station and trolleys I saw today.

A Green Line train comes into the Target Field station.

Next my Blue Line train that would take me back to 88th Avenue station. They finally checked my ticket on a trolley which was a first for me in the Twin Cities.

I detrained at the 88th Avenue station and still had a few more pictures to take.

The Blue Line train left for the Mall of America and I returned to my motel room with a stop at Subway to get dinner. I wrote this story then called it a night ready for a big day tomorrow with the Milwaukee Road 261.