Desert Storm—Badlands Storm.
There’s no beach here. I stood on the edge of the Badlands looking east as a violent thunderstorm raged over the Missouri Valley near Mandan, North Dakota.
The sun was near the horizon as the last of its golden rays filtered across the open landscape. Lightning flashed in the distance.
This had been Yellowstone country in Northern Pacific days: massive 2-8-8-4s were built to move freight across the difficult undulating railroad east of Glendive, Montana.
No Yellowstones for me. By 1994, they were but a distant vision, all scrapped before I was born.
A headlight appears on the horizon. What’s this? A westward empty coal train returning to Wyoming’s Powder River Basin. An unusual white-faced locomotive in the lead.
This was Burlington Northern SD60M 1991, a specially painted to commemorate Operation Desert Storm.
This is among my favorite photographs from my big 1994 trip that began in January near Rochester, New York and ended six months later at Waukesha, Wisconsin.
I’ve made good use of this photo over the years. It appeared in Pacific RailNews 1994 Annual Rails West and again in my book The American Diesel Locomotive published by MBI in 2000.
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