This weekend is the annual Train Days event at St. Paul Union Depot. It's an event held to celebrate railroad history, and a bunch of rail equipment is brought over and put on display alongside vendors and booths representing various transportation groups in the area. This event hasn't been held for the past couple years due to covid, so it was extra crowded this weekend. I took a bunch of pictures, and am including ones from the last event in 2019 since I never got to posting those.
Here's a view of the tracks from up in the depot. What was once a major transportation hub with something like 12 tracks has now been reduced to two, served only by the daily Empire builder, one in each direction.
First off are two SD70ACe heritage units; Canadian Pacific #7014 and Union Pacific #1989.
I saw #1989 a couple years ago from an airplane window as we took off from Phoenix airport. I find it kinda wild that I got to see the same locomotive at opposite ends of the country like that.
This is the Friends of the 261's Milwaukee Road E9. My inner rivet counter screams at the fantasy paint scheme. It's a combination of a couple MILW paint schemes meant to match the group's Hiawatha consist.
This is what it looked like in 2019 when it had been newly purchased from the Wisconsin and Southern.
Here's a well known locomotive. Great Northern SD45 #400, the Hustle Muscle.
Northern Pacific SD45 #3617, recently restored to operating condition:
Twin Cities and Western GP38-2 #2020
This one I was really excited about, the new Amtrak Siemens ALC-42 Charger:
As we left, the Empire Builder pulled in, headed up by the black Amtrak heritage unit #301. I wish I stayed a few minutes more to see it, I didn't know it was coming.
This one was really out of place, Louisville and Nashville sleeper lounge:
BNSF Taconite car:
Take comfort in the fact that the prototype can get sandpaper paint too, and they just letter right over it.
BNSF Grain hopper:
Looks like an inforwarrior got his hands on this one.
The line to go inside the cars was really long, so I skipped out. Here's some pictures from last time instead.
I didn't take many pictures of the layouts beyond some module joint pictures for personal reference.
This is an interesting kit bash. A pair of SD30s, which never existed in real life.
To round things off, here are the other pictures from 2019:
Soo Line GP30 #700. Note this is one of the GP30s with AAR trucks.
UP AC44CW #7000. This unit had been brought last minute because the heritage unit that was supposed to be there couldn't make it.
California Zephyr Silver Palace
That's it for the image dump, I hope you found it interesting!
Time for the annual train days event here at St. Paul Union Depot. Not quite as much stuff as in past years, but interesting stuff nonetheless.
To start things off, here are a pair of locomotives from CPKC, showing off the new merger. KCS is a rare thing to see up here, this is the first one I've seen up close.
Here's a rail speeder, originally used by the CB&Q.
This is the real treat of the day. Milwaukee Road S-3 #261. This is a pretty well-known locomotive, and it's the primary steam excursion loco around here. I don't think I've seen it in person since 2008 or so though. It used to do pretty regular excursions around the state with Amtrak until Amtrak stopped their steam excursion partner program. Without Amtrak, finding places to run it has been a challenge, so it only gets out a couple times a year at most on the Twin Cities and Western, a local short line that runs on ex Milwaukee Road trackage.
One of the things that makes this locomotive notable is that it was one of the first steam locomotives to be modernized to Amtrak standards. Some of this equipment is part of that modernization, I think. This looks like a speed recorder:
There's what looks to be an MU receptacle on the back of the tender:
Next, this is Great Northern NW5 #192. The NW5 is pretty much a stretched NW2 with a steam generator. 13 were built in total, 10 for the GN. The GN used these for local passenger and freight service. Only two are preserved, and this one does regular excursion duty on the North Shore Scenic Railroad at the Lake Superior Railroad Museum in Duluth.
Some familiar faces from previous years. Milwaukee Road E9 #32A:
Twin Cities and Western GP38-2 #2020:
Here's something new. The Friends of the 261, who own and operate the 261, E9 32A, and passenger cars, just acquired this private observation car and had it painted up. It's an ex Frisco car that has been through a couple private owners.
The rest of the Hiawatha consist behind it. Pictures of those cars are in previous years' posts.
Tugboats and barges on the Mississippi:
Trackside views of Union Depot:
Kids zone in the distance where Baby Shark was being played on blast:
Not a whole lot to photograph inside. There was typical train show stuff and booths for local organizations. The one modular layout that was there had these interesting drop cloths around the edge. I wonder what kind of reference material the artist for this was looking at! We have N&W cars and European locomotives. The second loco is British, not sure about the first one though.
The layout had an HO model of #261 running around.
I really haven't seen much about #261, it's a beautiful locomotive. Have to say I liked the E9 too, as well as the passenger considt.
And...had not heard about the KCS/CP rail merger. Interesting!
The CP/KCS merger happened a couple months ago. Can’t say I’m thrilled about it, there’s so few Class 1s left as it is.
I agree, the #261 is beautiful. The Milwaukee Road S-3s only had a 9-10 year service life, so the #261 was chosen for restoration due to modern features (roller bearings) and low wear. I wish the models were cheaper, BLI is the only way to get one in plastic. I wish the E9 was painted in the historic MILW paint scheme rather than this fantasy one, but it still looks good.
Mark, I appreciate the photo compliment coming from you!