These days, leading locomotives don’t necessarily reflect the operator or even the originator of long distance freights. In fact this is a Canadian National train, working the old Wisconsin Central line.
Musical legend and an electric guitar inventor, Les Paul was from Waukesha, and here a thoroughfare has been named for him. Its elevated crossing of CN made for nice vistas in both directions.
Although it was partly cloudy, momentarily brilliant morning sun made for nice illumination.
Last week, John Gruber and I called into TRAINS Magazine for a social visit.
John has been a regular visitor at TRAINS since David P. Morgan was editor. I’ve been calling by since 1994.
We pre-arranged for the visit during a conversation at Beecherfest. TRAINS’ Matt Van Hattem met us inside Kalmbach’s glassy office building and we spent an hour chatting with the magazine’s editors.
Editor in chief, Jim Wrinn was away on assignment in California where he was on a live-feed covering the pending movement of Union Pacific Big Boy 4014.
For me, railway photography has always been more than just images of tracks and trains, and I brought my Lumix into this inner publishing sanctum to make a few photos of the people that produce America’s most popular railway magazines.
Southbound CN Stacks work the old Soo Line, November 8, 2013.
Between July 1994 and October 1996, I lived within walking distance of the former Soo Line station at Waukesha, Wisconsin.
At that time the railroad was owned and operated by Ed Burkhardt’s Wisconsin Central Limited (a 1980s regional carved from the old Soo Line after Soo Line merged with the largely parallel Milwaukee Road)
I’ve long since moved to new horizons and in the meantime, the ever-expanding Canadian National empire assimilated the WCL. The line through Waukesha that had once been part of the Canadian Pacific family is now a CN route.
Today’s CN has a very different operating style than that of WCL in mid-1990s.
Where WCL ran a tightly scheduled railroad with frequent but relatively short freights connecting Shops Yard at North Fond du Lac with various Chicago-land terminals, CN leans toward enormous rolling land-barges, many of which now take an Elgin, Joliet & Eastern routing around Chicago to reach the former Illinois Central or other connections.
Like the WCL, EJ&E and IC are now part of the CN empire.
On November 8, 2013, Chris Guss, Pat Yough and I photographed CN’s southward intermodal train symbol Q11651-04 led by SD70M-2 8800 passing the old Waukesha Soo Line station. At the back of the train was a modern General Electric working as a ‘distributed power unit’ (a radio-controlled remote locomotive controlled from the head-end).
This is a big change from the pairs of SD45 leading strings of 50 foot box cars or Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range ore jennies that I regularly saw in the 1990s. And, by the way, DM&IR is also another of CN’s railroads.