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The Milwaukee Road 261 Circle Trip Part 2 9/14/2008

by Chris Guenzler

At 1:40 PM the Milwaukee Road 261 departed the La Crosse Station and headed east to the CP Rail yard and interchange with the BNSF ex CB&Q mainline.

We pulled east to the yard switch which we had to wait to be lined into the yard.

The Milwaukee Road 261 then made its way into the CP Rail La Crosse yard.

We headed down the yard track.

A CP Rail freight passed on the mainline heading towards the Twin Cities.

The Milwaukee Road 261 had to take some real tight curves to get out of the CP Rail yard to reach the BNSF mainline.

The Milwaukee Road 261 has reached the BNSF mainline with its train.

A BNSF freight waited at Grand Crossing for our train to clear.

A look west across the Mississippi River at Minnesota.

Another BNSF freight waits in the BNSF yard in La Crosse.

The Milwaukee Road 261 curves north out of La Crosse.

Another look west across the Mississippi River at Minnesota.

A look east at Wisconsin.

Further north at Trempealeau, the marina off to the west.

Views of the Mississippi River before the train started across the long fill north of Trempealeau.

Two views looking east across the lake from the fill.

The Mississippi River to the west.

Two more views of this Wisconsin lake.

We came to a stop at the end of double track so three views of this area.

One of the 261 crew inspects one of the cars during the stop.

An eastbound BNSF then came by our train heading south to La Crosse.

A look west across the Mississippi River at Minnesota.

One of the lakes covered with giant Lilly Pads.

The train was running along the Mississippi River.

A Dredge at the harbor at East Winona.

Our train is running along colorful Wisconsin!

There was an interesting barn near Cochrane.

The train ran by the Dairyland Power Plant at Alma, Wisconsin.

The train went by the Lock and Dam 4 which forms Lake Pepin.

Views across the Mississippi River at Minnesota.

The train running along the Mississippi River.

The lake to the Wisconsin side of our train.

The train running along the Mississippi River.

The train ran beneath the bluffs near Nelson.

The train crossed the Chippewa River.

The Mississippi River with Minnesota across the great waterway.

Red Wing is across the Mississippi River.

The Mississippi River makes a big turn to the northwest right before the train entered the heavy rain showers that would be with us until we returned to near Cottage Grove.

The train made a brief servicing stop at Diamond Bluff.

The train chasers had to put up with the heavy rains on this afternoon.

The inside of the Concession Car.

Our train crossed the St Croix River.

The view across the river.

Looking up the Mississippi River to the Hasting Lift Bridge.

Our train was nearing St Croix.

The Circle is complete at St Croix.

Approaching Lock and Dam 1. The train run straight back to St Paul and up Westminster Hill but about three miles from Minneapolis Jct we came to a stop. I said the Football scores so everyone in the Great Dome would know how their favorite team did this Sunday while we had been riding the rails today. At least the rains had stopped.

Two views looking forward during the delay that lasted longer than I would have expected.

During the delay I walked back to the rear of the Cedar Rapids for the view out of the back of the train. The Milwaukee Road 261 finally got moving again and about three miles later we returned to Minneapolis Jct at 6:42 PM ending another excellent Milwaukee Road 261 Excursion. I thought as I drove away that I hoped the 15 Year rebuilding goes off without a hitch. More about that later. I drove west on Interstate 384 West to Interstate 494 south to Eden Prairie where I found the Best Western Eden Prairie Inn which I checked in for the night.

Heading home 9/15/2008

After a continental breakfast at 6 AM I checked out and drove back to the MSP Airport where I returned the rental car. Security here is a lot friendlier than other places as they address you by your first name. The flight was oversold so they had to get 14 people to volunteer to take other flights. I boarded my Northwest Airlines Flight 319 and did Sudoku Puzzles almost the whole trip. We arrived into LAX early but it took too long to get off the plane. I waited 20 minutes and finally I spotted the LAUPT Flyaway Bus coming at me.

I boarded the bus at 11:18 AM and once we made all the pickups we headed to LAUPT with no delay. I went up to the train and sat on the bench looking at a Metrolink train. I thought of the accident pictures I had seen and how the entire side of one of those cars had been ripped open.

At 12:15 PM they open the doors of the Amtrak Surfliner 774. This train returned me to Santa Ana on time ending another great trip with the Milwaukee Road 261.