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Milwaukee Road 261 Steaming to Duluth 6/02-03/2007

by Chris Guenzler

I parked the car then walked forward to the front end for the pre trip picture. The train consisted of the Milwaukee Road 261, Auxiliary Tender, Amtrak P42DC 53, Grand Canyon NSR 1615 Tool Car, GNW&B Gritty Place 800117, Minnesota River NRS 1615 Crew Sleeper, Coaches Lake Pepin 800799, Arizona 800861 and St Paul Pass 800798, Open Door Baggage Car 2450 Concession, Mohave 800651, New York Central 38, Wisconsin Valley NSR 3103 800787, Caritas 800045, Montana 800197, Rail Ventures Belle Vista 800212, Super Dome 800862 and the Cedar Rapids 800040. I boarded the Arizona and after buying the new Milwaukee Road 261 T-shirt I returned to my seat to listen to Keith Richard and the Expensive Winos "Live at the Palladium" until departure time. At 9:10 AM we departed Minneapolis Jct and we were off for Duluth.

On the move to Duluth before we started through Northtown Yard. We headed to Coon Creek where we left the BNSF's Chicago to Seattle mainline and headed out onto the Hinckley Subdivision.

Once out of the urban Minneapolis area we were out into the Minnesota Countryside.

I meet Bart and Casey Dobrowski. Casey was a former Northern Pacific Fireman while Bart is a member of the Western Minnesota Steam Thrasher Reunion in Rolla, MN.

Selling the wares of the Milwaukee Road 261.

One of the 10,000 Lakes in the great state of Minnesota.

Steaming north.

People enjoying the open door of the Baggage Car.

We stopped at Cambridge for the UP 4432 South. Back on the move we ran north to Hinckley.

Here we stopped at Hinckley to detrain a passenger and to service the Milwaukee Road 261.

Curving out of Hinckley as we headed north to Duluth.

The 764 foot Kettle River Bridge just north of Sandstone.

Scene looking from the train nearing Askew.

More of the green Minnesota countryside.

Another one of the 10,000 lakes in this state.

We crossed the Net River on a 396 foot high trestle and a short distance later entered Wisconsin.

The siding at Foxboro.

Our train took another curve.

New bridge parts before we crossed our next bridge.

We crossed the Black River on a 1,600 foot bridge.

A few minutes later we crossed the Nemadji River on a 1,440 foot bridge.

Still passing through the miles of unspoiled forest.

Looking back I could see the rear of our train before we reached the junction with the ex GN line to Fargo at Bolyston. We passed the BNSF yard at Saunders before crossing over the Canadian National tracks. Next we ran through M&J Jct and Central Avenue. We went through Superior with the BNSF yard to the north to LST&T Jct.

The Milwaukee Road 261 was walked around the tight curve with crew members making sure that the 261's drivers stayed on the rail. We then headed west for the Grassy Point Drawbridge.

We crossed the Grassy Point Drawbridge over St. Louis Bay and back into Minnesota.

They walked the 261 around another tight curve.

The Milwaukee Road 261 came out of that tight curve.

A beautiful steam engine on a very overcast day.

Crossing one of the local roads.

A look at the St. Louis Bay plus the Grassy Point Drawbridge.

A look back at our very colorful train.

Approaching the Ore Docks.

The first ore docks.

A boat at the second Ore dock.

Running below the Ore Dock leads.

Coming to a stop before we arrived at the BNSF yard where our train would be wyed.

The Milwaukee Road 261 was cut off and the Amtrak engine wyed us before we would be backed into the Duluth Union Station.

Milwaukee Road 261 would follow us around the wye.

We came to a stop before the Amtrak engine pushed us around the other leg of the wye.

Milwaukee Road 261 started its trip around the wye.

Steve Sandburg kept a keen eye on the 261 drivers and wheels.

I got my last view of the Milwaukee Road 261 before we backed the rest of the way to Duluth Union Station. I was first off of the train and went up the road at the south end of the station up to Superior Street. I walked north to the Holiday Center and followed the signs and up the stairs to the Holiday Inn Lobby. I checked in after a long delay after the clerk's computer crashed. I checked my e-mail before taking the elevator up to the 9th Floor to Room 914. I showered the coal cinders out of my hair before I relaxed in my room.

View from my room. I watched the old Match Game before I walked back down to the station to wait for tonight's Dinner Train.

The rear of our train at Duluth.

The beautiful Cedar Rapids. I walked down the back of the train and at the front end of our train met Keith Schmidt of Milwaukee, who has his Powerton Report on-line.

The Soo Line GP-30 700 which would first switch our train from the excursion train to a Dinner Train and then would be the power of that train. When we had pulled in I saw an Erie Mining Railroad locomotive outside of the museum along a road, I decided to go get some pictures of the Erie Mining S-12 7245. I walked back to the station to wait to board. I got in line and soon Bob another train rider I know joined me in line.

Erie Mining S-12 7245. I walked back to the station to wait to board. I got in line and soon Bob another train rider I know joined me in line. The Soo Line GP-30 700 cut off the tool cars all the way to the last coach. The Cedar Rapids was left by itself before the DM&IR 33 was added to the Cedar Rapids. The train was put together then pulled out of sight. The Soo Line 700 then came into sight on the run around track then went to pull the train back to the station so we could board.

The Dinner Train 6/02/2007

I boarded the Wisconsin Valley and sat down at a table.

Across the table sat Duane Jansen who had worked the Great Northern Dining Cars Service to Seattle on the Empire Builder and Western Star and others plus the trains to Winnipeg and Duluth. He had cooked meals for such people as Shirley Temple, Hopalong Cassidy and Billy Graham. We had some interesting conversion as we had dinner on this train. We departed Duluth at 7:20 PM.

The evening menu.

The GP-30 pushed us past the switch before we headed for Palmers passing the Erie Mining S-12 and train.

Passing a boat now a museum.

Lake Superior.

The lighthouse at the mouth of the Duluth Harbor.

We saw the breakwater and the bridge that never closes.

Another look back towards Duluth.

Along the shore of Lake Superior. We headed northeast first through the London Road Tunnel {a freeway underpass}.

We crossed Tischer Creek before passing through the eastern suburbs of Lakeside, Lester Park and Rivers. Along the first part of the trip Lake Superior was clearly seen before being mostly obscured by trees for the reminder of the trip. With the late start to our trip, the rest of this trip was in the twilight.

The meal of Roast Beef which was excellent. We trestled the Talmadge River, followed by French River along with Big and Little Sucker Creeks.

We passed a lake as I was eating my meal. It was staring to get dark as we crossed the Knife River before we ran the remaining distance to Palmers.

The Soo Line GP-30 700 cut off and then ran around our Dinner Train. The Dinner Train consisted of Soo Line GP-30 700, Open Door Baggage Car 2450 Concession, Mohave 800651, New York Central 38, Wisconsin Valley NSR 3103 800787, Caritas 800045, Montana 800197, Rail Ventures Belle Vista 800212, Super Dome 800862, DM&IR 33 and the Cedar Rapids 800040. I decided to walk the train. I went to the baggage car talking with Frank Sandburg then walked through the train to the Cedar Rapids taking a look at all these unique train cars. On the way back I settled into the Montana talking with Joe Harper and Debbie Crimmin plus others. I told about my Millionth Rail Mile Trip and the first trip to see my brother Bruce in Pocatello, Idaho. That killed most of the trip back to Duluth. We backed into the Duluth Union Station at 9:50 PM before I walked back to the Holiday Inn. I watched the end of the game where the Ducks lost to the Ottawa Senators 5-3. I called home before I went to bed getting a full night of sleep.

6/03/2007 I was up at 6:40 AM, showered and got my printed boarding pass for my flight home tonight. I went to the restaurant getting ten dollars off. I watched the new Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I checked out before I took the Duluth Skywalk back to the station. I put the stuff on the train before getting my pre departure picture of the Milwaukee Road 261. I thanked Steve Sandburg for all of the unique Milwaukee Road 261 Trips over the years that helped me reach my million rail mile goal. I then with time to kill decided to go through the museum again for a third time out of four in me visiting Duluth.

Lake Superior Railroad Museum 6/03/2007

I went inside this wonderful museum.

Northern Pacific 0-4-0T 1 The Minnetonka.

St Paul and Pacific 4-4-0 1 William Crooks.

The DM&IR 2-8-8-4 Yellowstone 227 and Milwaukee Road 10200 A&E, the First Milwaukee Road Electric Locomotive.

LSRM 530 a trolley from Lisbon, Portugal.

LSRM 1A Mack ex Minnesota, Anoka and Cuyuna Range 7438.

D&NE 2-8-0 28 and Northern Pacific 2-6-2 2435.

A Copper Range Baldwin.

A RS-1.

Oliver Iron Mining HH 1000 901.

Line up of unique diesels.

Soo Line FP-7 2500.

Hanna Mining 307.

Peavey SW-1. I then went back to the train and got caught up on my writing and listened to some tunes before the train departed for the Twin Cities.

Milwaukee Road 261 to Minneapolis 6/03/2007

The train left Duluth at 11:07 AM and I got a pair of Hot Dogs and relaxed at my seat. I read the Rolling Stone article about Keith Richard and Johnny Depp working on Pirate of the Caribbean at World's End! It took the train almost an hour to get to Superior.

The train came out of that tight curve in Superior before the rain started pouring down. We crept south until we passed the UP 3095 North at Boylston. I sat back and enjoyed the northern Minnesota countryside as the rains stopped south of Nickerson.

A pair of pictures south of Nickerson. Before Bruno the rains returned and lasted until Askew. I walked back to the Montana to let Debbie Crimmin hear "The Ballad of Chris Guenzler, Million Mile Man".

I was back at my seat as we crossed the Kettle River as more rains started to fall. Our train stopped at MP 81.4 to service the engine and the rains washed away our Photo Runby planned here. On the move again the rains stopped then the main whistle cable broke so a stop would have to be made to fix it. The 261 air horn was used and the second whistle was too. We arrived into Cambridge and stopped at 3:32 PM to fix it. We departed Cambridge at 3:50 PM with the main whistle fixed. The sun finally came out.

At Bethel there is the Independent Locomotive Services. BNSF 4949 North held the mainline at Andover before we ran down to Coon Creek but had to wait for a BNSF freight train to clear the junction.

After Coon Creek we were on the BNSF mainline from Seattle to Chicago.

Passing through Northtown Yard with the skyline of Minneapolis standing guard.

The train passed under the former Soo Line {now CP Rail} that I rode over behind the Canadian Pacific Empress 2816. At Minneapolis Jct the Milwaukee Road 261 cut off and headed to the shop. The Amtrak engine pulled us back to where we had started yesterday morning at 5:48 AM ending another fantastic Milwaukee Road 261 Trip.

I got off the train and ran to my rental car being the second car out of the parking area. I gassed up the rental car and got on I 35W towards the airport. This highway was closed south of downtown so I had to take Hiawatha Avenue following the Hiawatha Light Rail Line out to the airport. I returned the rental car, got through security and just missed getting on the 7:15 PM flight to LAX by two minutes. I had a Subway Sandwich for dinner which I took to Gate G2 to wait for my 9:10 PM flight to LAX. Sudoku puzzles, Aerosmith "Permanent Vacation" and the Scorpions "Crazy World" killed the time until boarding.

Northwest Airlines 321 6/3/2007

The 757-200 airplane was boarded at 8:40 PM CDT and left the Gate G2 at 9:08 PM CDT. The plane took off at 9:23 PM CDT during a beautiful sunset. Keith Emerson "Hammer it Out" got me back all the way to California. We touched down at 10:33 PM PDT and I was in front of Terminal 2 by 10:50 at the Prime Time Shuttle location finding the man in the red hat and jacket. I was told to sit on the bench and wait, which I did. No ETA was ever given. Finally at 11:15 PM my van showed up and started its two trips around the airport. We left the airport at 12:06 AM {6/04/07} and headed down I 405 first to a home in Fountain Valley and then to an apartment complex in Irvine for two other passengers. I was next to the Santa Ana Train Station getting dropped off there at 1:08 AM. I walked to my car and drove home pulling in at 1:12 AM ending a fantastic trip to Minnesota for the Minnesota Zephyr Dinner Train and the Milwaukee Road 261.