Summer 2015 Local Highlights

Photos by Dave Ingles

The Waukesha area's local railroad scene was mostly of the "same old" variety, so presented here are only some unusual occurrences plus a smattering of "nice shots." Carol and I made exactly one trip out of the immediate area this past summer, to the Detroit area in early July, which is a separate file. We pick up after the June 19, 2015 conclusion in the "May-June" file and run thru August.

My only photo of the day on Sunday, June 21, 2015, was this CN northbound freight, behind 2327 and SD40-2 GTW 5947, descending Cemetery Hill in southwest Waukesha at 535 pm, as we went thru town to one of our favorite "Greek restaurants" (the ones with the 400-item menus) for supper, Sunset Family Restaurant, next to the CN track a few blocks south of here. The SD40-2 is one of 19 CN SD40s rebuilt by Alstom in 1998-99 for  KCS; originally in scattered numbers in CN's 5000, 5100, and 5200 series, they became gray KCS 6621-6639,before coming home in 2002 and being renumbered GTW 5938-5956, but not repainted.

The only unusual shot on the next day, June 22, among 5 trains at Duplainville, including the Empire Builders in both directions, and one each CN and CP freight, was this eastbound CP train, symboled 280, behind CSX 3021/UP 5501 with 123 cars at 515 pm.

Wed., June 24 was semi-sunny and found me at Pewaukee for CP #281 behind DM&E 6096/CP 6255 at 1218 pm. He met CP #484 at Nashotah, which came by me behind 6234/4618 (ex-Soo SD60 and ex-MILW GP40 2039) with 70 cars at 1247.

An hour later, I raced out of Waukesha to catch up with this southbound CN frac-sand train behind NS 9851/NS 2552/CN 2505 at Glendale Road, MP 93. In years past the tree line to the right (east) of the track wasn't there and you could stand on the road a few hundred feet east of my point here and get a nice more-broadside view.

CN northbound stack train #119, a regular early-afternoon sight, usually has new units as power, but on this Wednesday was led by ex-UP Dash8 2038 with IC 2719 trailing, at Weyer Road along north Duplainville siding at 323 pm.

CN's "rock train" out of the quarry up near Allenton, officially U702, apparently did not stick to its nocturnal schedule as we'd seen before, as it became a quasi-regular sighting off and on, northbound in the afternoon, here at Duplainville at 1230 pm on June 26, with ex-UP Dash 8 2027 as power, which stuck around for a while. Consist was the usual 35 cars. It was the only unusual sighting for me among 5 trains this day.

My only rail subject on Sat., June 27 was CN local L504, passing Grand Avenue (WSOR switch) in Waukesha on its way to Burlington with one car of lumber behind CN-IC GP38-2 9622 at 1128 a.m.

An ordinary visit to Duplainville on Tues. afternoon July 9th turned serendipitous when, as this westbound CP empty tank-car train, symboled 581, approached the diamond, I spotted something different behind the lead unit -- it was the PRR Heritage unit, 8102! I concentrated on slides; this coming-on view is highly cropped and not super-sharp. Time: 1 p.m. It was the 4th train I'd seen, but the first one out of the ordinary.

Thinking he just might have a meet at Nashotah, next siding west, I hit Highway 16, which is 4-lane (but takes some lights getting thru to reach from "Dupy"), but no luck. However, I learned an eastbound was due shortly, which turned out to be an ethanol train behind two NS units, 7542/8030, at 1:35 pm, shot along Vettleson Road, which links Hartland and Nashotah villages. I finished the 7-train day with the two Empire Builders, nothing unusual.

Friday, July 12 found me out again, getting 4 trains within an hour between 1:20 and 2:11 p.m., not unusual on most days. Shooting thru the newly opened lot at the diamond's southwest quadrant -- note the pile of sawdust, which was still there in September -- as CN stack train #119 nears the diamond behind 2802/2420 at 1:33 pm. The presence of the "zebra," Dash8-40CM 2420, which dates from 1990, makes this worthwhile to present. We see these from time to time, and when clean, they are among my favorite CN engines -- I remember them brand-new from a visit to Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, when going someplace (an hour or so from Winnipeg by car) to see both CN and CP mainline action at one spot was "something different." (Today we essentially live there -- who'da thunk it!) All 55 apparently are still in service, the first 30 built in 1990 and the other 25 in 1992. The majority still have the factory "stripes" paint.

Following #119 not far back was rock train U700 with 27 rock jennies (ex-CN ore cars converted to rock-haulers by Wis. Central, with SSAM reporting marks) behind ex-UP Dash 8 2027. Time: 1:55 along Duplainville Road 2 miles north of the diamond.

There is nothing unusual about this shot of CN #446, the NS connection, which I shot after returning to Waukesha, at 2:11 p.m., except we counted the cars and took note of its unusual consist: 138 total cars behind 8952/2652, with 28 miscellaneous cars, then a cut of 18 frac-sand loads, then 45 more miscellaneous (including 18 center-beams), a cut of 10 sand hoppers, 14 miscellaneous, 16 more loads of sand, and 7 miscellaneous. One just hopes this train was blocked for proper and easy sorting in Chicago someplace!

On July 14, the weather was fairly dark, but one of 7 trains I saw is worthy of remark: CN #119, with 2324/5538, not so much just for the rear unit but that this "everyday" stack train had an empty new-welded-rail train set on the rear! This is at Duplainville at 4:40 p.m. The 5538 is GM's version of CN's Zebras, SD60Fs from 1989, up to 62 of the 64 built still in service, many in the original "stripes."

With oil trains fairly predictable on turnaround times to the Dakota loading points, I was "on alert" for the return of the PRR Heritage unit. I saw 7 trains on July 14th, nothing unusual, but the PRR unit indeed showed up the next day, in the lead, at Duplainville at 2:20 p.m. The same NS 8043 was with it, but now trailing; this is unusual to see diesel consists turned in the oil-patch, usually they come back in the same order as they go wet. The NS Heritage Photo Gallery on-line evidenced many shooters followed this train out east into Pennslvania and I think Delaware. This was the third train I'd seen this day.

July 15 later gave us one more train, and its unexpected appearance was worthwhile, at 5:45 in southern Waukesha at the Amron Spur switch (named for the former industry here) as we went out for supper: a Wis. Public Service empty Powder River Basin coal train with UP power: 6048/5716/7571. The spur, with two customers including one building transformers that go out on drop-center flats, is normally switched by our nighttime switcher these days. Not all these Green Bay coal trains come down the Waukesha Subdivision, oft-times they interchange from UP to or from CN in the Twin Cities.

Friday the 17th was a nice day and presented a few trains worth sharing. After two routine CN freights, Amtrak's short eastbound Empire Builder, technically #808, came thru Duplainville at 1:55, only about 15 minutes late, with P42 127 and 5 cars. Writing this six weeks hence, I cannot not recall why the train hadn't come from west of the Twin Cities, it was a summer of so many delays to this train for so many reasons, from BNSF wrecks to multiple washouts along Puget Sound to forest wildfires in Montana.

Parked in the shade on a hot afternoon, I was surprised by, and could only shoot going-away digitals of, this nice eastbound CP consist on an oil train at 4:37: 6247/Soo 6044/CP 6257, three Soo SD60s, the lead and trailer refurbished, repainted, and renumbered by adding "200" to their number. CP probably is finished with this program, or close to it, on the 42 SD60s of Soo's that CP has kept (including the last 5 which are 60Ms with wide-noses. I now sense from several shots I had my D70 sent on too slow a shutter-speed, sorry about that.

The next consist of interest was on this southbound CN, shot across the newly cleared lot by the diamond at 4:48: Leader one of the ES44s with a number familiar to CP steam fans (for a 4-6-4), 2816, then 2875, ex-EMD demo 8101, 2336, and GP38-2 7520 trailing. It's rare to see such a B-B unit on a road freight here, at least one that is not assigned to some Wisconsin or Chicago point as a switcher. Originally CN 5551, it is one of a couple of dozen of the class left, all converted to operate in hump sets with slugs.

This visit was basically timed to shoot Amtrak #7, which was an hour late, coming by at 5:19 with 160/99 up front and private car Sierra Hotel on the rear of 14 cars.

On Sat., July 18, while Carol was grocery shopping, I as usual went to trackside on the CP nearby to await her call and hopefully see some trains. After an eastbound with a lone red ge, 9371, went by (dark cloudy) at 1110 a.m., and a westbound empty tank-car train went by at 11:!5 behind NS 5635/8365/CP 8823 (still dark), the sun came out in time for CP #281, which passed at 11:57 behind BNSF 5699 with only 55 cars. Usually I'm lucky if I see one train on these grocery runs.

On Monday the 20th I got a call from Terry Norton, who lives trackside to CN in Grayslake, IL, that a northbound was coming behind two SD40-2s, so I went to Grand Ave. junction in Waukesha where this time of day the light angle is better than any other place, and the Carroll Univ parking lot empty this time of year. The units are 5367/5330 at 10:20 a.m. The lead unit is one of a dozen or so left of a batch of ex-UP SD40-2s with a lengthy history, this one being built as MoPac 808, then 3108, UP 4108, and CN 2nd 6108; the trailer 5330 is original CN from 1980 in a group of originally 123 units.

I'm not including many shots of Amtrak's Empire Builder this month as mostly it always looks the same. This pair of #7 on July 21 is included because of the 2nd unit, 163, whose numerals on the flanks are slightly larger than other P42s. I've often wondered if this is because the 163 was originally to be a "Heritage" unit displaying the current "Shamu" paint scheme; it never got notoriety as such, but I recall seeing it on an early list. The first view shows a "different" angle with the newly cleared lot. Time: 4:18, basically on-time, 11 cars, lead unit 207. The 2nd view also shows one of the new baggage cars, which by this time were regular.

We now skip a bunch of routine stuff to show #7 on Fri.,July 31, at Milepost 100. I've not shot it here before, and you can see why -- I didn't quite make it over to Brookfield station and just pulled on the shoulder of River Road for this thru-the-windshield grab shot, which does show the signal. There is no real shoulder here, a few more feet to the right and you're in the ditch. No place to park close by, either. Time: 4:29, about 10 minutes late, 11 cars, engines 147/207.

Getting #7 was just a bonus, as I was Brookfield-bound for #8, running late as usual (over 3 hours) but with a PV on the rear. The entire local stretch is very backlit, and I got clouded, so I'm not sure who "won" on this one, but in addition to New York Central 3 on the rear, a Cascades F59 was trailing as third unit. Time: 4:55, 12 cars, engines 99/160/465.

The next day, a hot Aug. 1st, I was parked in the shade at Dupy to watch Amtrak #8 go by, but when this Quad/Graphics 18-wheeler pulled up, I couldn't resist a "symbolic" shot as "Quad" is a big rail shipper, prints most Kalmbach magazines, and employs several people I know. So we look across Duplainville Road just as units 196/39 hit the CN diamond at 4:20, 2 and 1/2 hours late.

The main mission this Saturday (8-1) was to nab Sheboygan trolley 26, making a rare outing on the East Troy Electric, a charter by Wis. Chapter NRHS, operating in late afternoon after the museum's usual weekend runs, of which the 4 pm departures are the last. Carol & I went down to East Troy, without specific knowledge of a departure time, and found the car just loading, so followed him north for a few shots. We then bailed to go find supper, not realizing the car would go all the way into Mukwonago to the CN interchange run-around track, for a photo op. But we got some nice shots anyway, in East Troy loading and at Byrnes St., then  crossing Hwy. 20 and at the old Sawyers Market site and Army Lake Road crossings, from 5:25 until 5:50. Note the helicopter chasing it, in the shot with the RRX sign.

On Sunday morning, Aug. 2nd, i went to downtown Milwaukee to, among other things, check on progress at the Amtrak station, which is getting a new trainshed, platforms, and an elevated  (with elevators and stairs) overhead concourse to access tracks south of Track 1, the normal track for Hiawathas and preferred for the Empire Builders. Hiawatha #334 pulled out shortly after my arrival so I went to see it, and include the shot of the P42 pushing at the rear only because of its road number -- "We're Number One!" The control cab up front was 90221; time, on-time at 11 a.m.

I'd been alerted by Jeff Hampton to an approaching CP #470 with SD40-2 power, so I parked at Hart Park in Wauwatosa by the CP main (the parking lot is on the r-o-w of Milwaukee's last streetcar line, #10) to await him. He showed up with RCP&E 3433/ICE 6410/DM&E 6083 up front of 74 cars at 11:42 a.m. Genesee & Wyoming now owns the old C&NW east as far as Tracy, MN, as the Rapid City, Pierre & Eastern; IC&E is the former Soo/CP subsidiary on ex-MILW track to Kansas City, and DM&E -- Dakota, Minnesota  & Eastern -- was the independent outfit that bought the Rapid City line from C&NW in the 1980s. All 3 SD40s here, I believe, are of Milwaukee Road origin.

CP #470 had hardly cleared when #281 showed up westbound behind 8881/8753 with 56 cars, including 19 trilevels up front, at 11:48.

On Wed., August 12, I had shot a routine CN train north of Duplainville when CP #281 surprised me by crossing front of me, with BNSF power up front. So I gave chase, fought traffic, and got to the end of the 4-line Hwy. 16 on Oconomowoc's east side without having seen him. My scanner, alas, was not on. Thinking i had missed him (it's happened before here), I made the U-turn at Gifford Rd./Hwy. P and was just halfway down the ramp when I saw his headlight -- I'd run right past him when 16 is out of view of the tracks! Furious, I just pulled over on the shoulder of the ramp and fired one digital frame. I THINK the lead unit is 1118, with 970 in the middle, and an unknown CP unit trailing. Time: 12:33 p.m. At least i had a clear shot at him, tho this is cropped in a lot.

Fast forward to a busy Sunday, Aug. 23, for the next non-routine local power consist, on what I was told was #367 when Terry Norton called to alert me of its approach, behind 5462/BC 4607 at Grand Ave. in Waukesha at 12:27 p.m. He had 113 cars; the consist looked to me like the NS connection, which used to be #445, I think. I really don't keep up with CN's oft-changing train numbers.

After meeting the 5462 North at Waukesha, here came a southbound with 2452/5618 and 117 cars at 12:43. The train included 36 empty trilevels and several Wisconsin Central short covered hopper, most of which southbound are carrying roofing pellets from Upper Michigan; I don't know the train symbol. TRAINS staffer Brian Schmidt, who lives about two blocks from this Carroll Univ. parking lot at the Grand Ave. WSOR junction, showed up, having shot the front end from the Grand Ave. grade crossing just to our left. Waukesha siding is normally used for meets only on weekends when the big quarry it splits is not loading trucks,as there is a busy private crossing for them in the middle of the siding.

After a northbound CN (engines 2925/5780, clouded over), the promised Wisconsin & Southern extra showed up. We normally don't see WSOR on weekends after the westbound Horicon-Janesville freight on Saturday morning, but this was an extra of 124 coal hopper cars that had been stored on its old Milwaukee Road Superior Division line north of Saukville. After being moved to Horicon the night before, a new crew took this train to Janesville. Power is 4004/4012 -- and at least the latter, one of two unrepainted from BN Cascade green, was trailing for once. Times by the Waukesha depot: 1:37 for the engines, 1:45 for Fred. Our local CN engine is at left, 4704, an original CN GP38-2; we usually get the ex-IC fleet members, occasionally one originally from GM&O.

CP stack train #199 was next, but under clouds with CP 9808/blue CEFX 1057 with 120 wells by Pewaukee at 2:11, which I let go, but on his tail came #281 with, yes, another BNSF "Northern" GE, 973, in charge by itself, halfway making up for the recent Oconomowoc disappointment. Time: 2:24; he had 69 cars, all but 4 trilevels.

It being a nice day, Carol and I took a drive north, and wound up capturing a meet at Rugby Junction, a bit unusual since CN built the longer Ackerville siding just a couple of miles west. The southbound NS connection, behind 2040/2404 with 129 cars, passed us at Scenic Drive at 3:07, although our nice sunlight went away. Waiting for him was the rock train, returning north to the quarry south of Allenton behind 2179 (ex-BNSF) with 27 jennies, which left at 3:12.

Right at the end of the month, sightings began of CN's latest GE Tier 4 units, numbered in the 3000s (not to be confused with the dozen or so earlier GEs delivered in the 3025 series instead of the 2925 series, soon rectified), and my first encounter was on Thurs., Aug. 27, at Duplainville on a southbound at 2:40 pm, with 3002/2920 and 87 cars. This day is our daughter's 35th birthday, but she was working so going out to dinner would have to wait.

The grocery run on Aug. 29th, a dark-sky day, netted CP #281 at Pewaukee behind NS 8461/NS 2666/CP 4422, at 12:10 p.m.

The last interesting consist of Åugust was the 5 units on this CN northbound #341, the last of 3 trains for the day, along Duplainville siding, with 2946/2928/2813/5613/5639 and 130 cars at 3 p.m. on the 31st of the month. Only the 3 GEs were on-line; the 2 SDs were along for the ride. The visible southbound he has just met, #118, had 2927/2901.


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