CN’s Latest Alternating Current Traction Diesels ply the old Wisconsin Central.
There’s nothing like a shiny new locomotive; It will never look any better. Best of all, it’s really something new, not just the ‘same-old, same-old.’
Last week, Chris Guss and I were working CN’s former Wisconsin Central Limited lines in Illinois and Wisconsin where CN’s latest locomotives were plying the rails.
Until very recently, CN was the last major North American freight railroad to refrain from AC traction technology. First used on wide-scale by Burlington Northern beginning in 1993, by the late-1990s most big railroads had at least sampled AC traction diesels. Yet, CN kept ordering DC traction. But not anymore; today AC’s are the latest thing even on CN!
CN’s new ES44DCs look good working in pairs in the rolling Midwestern countryside.
Here’s a few photos I made over a two-day period in early November 2013.
On our second day, Pat Yough joined us for some of the photos and we also met up with Iowa-based Craig Williams near Fond du Lac while waiting for southward CN ES44ACs to emerge from some trees.
We were all on our way to one of the Midwest’s premier railway photography venues: Beecherfest (held near Milwaukee every year).
Over the last few posts, I’ve alluded to this location at milepost 67. On the morning of October 26, 2013, I was up early. Before 8 am, I photographed at New England Central local at Palmer, and I suspected a CSX eastward intermodal train was getting close.
My feeling was confirmed when I heard that CSX Q012 was at CP 109 (near Westfield, Massachusetts). This was at least 40 minutes away, and I didn’t want to photograph this train at Palmer so I began driving east.
I looked a few old standby locations on my way toward Brookfield, but I was really intend on my location at milepost 67. Why?
On October 25, 2007, I’d caught CSX’s eastward autorack train (symbol Q264) at the Route 148 Bridge at milepost 67. This was a good angle and foliage was just how I like it, but the light was dull.
Move forward six years and the day was clear and bright and the rusty reddish leaves were clinging to selected trees making for a perfect autumn morning.
After a half and hour in the cold, which I used to make some test photos and vignettes of the old Boston & Albany line, I could hear the sound of General Electric diesels working eastbound. In short order the hot Q012 intermodal train came into view with relatively new Evolution-Series diesels.
I’ll tick that off in the ‘success’ category. Since the next eastward train hadn’t reached Pittsfield, I decided to get some writing done and called it a day.