While she has received some minor modifications since she first rolled off the EMD assembly line in 1966, Great Northern SD45 400 remains a vibrant reminder of the glory days of the railway rail baron James J. Hill’s name forever will be linked with. Owned by the Great Northern Railway Historical society, the brawny unit decked out in Omaha orange and green which sports the name “Hustle Muscle” resided for years at the railway museum in Duluth before moving south in December of 2000 to home turf at the Minnesota Transportation Museum’s Jackson Street roundhouse.
This summer, the Hustle Muscle has been used to power the caboose rides offered on Saturdays at Jackson Street which normally utilize Anderson Windows SW-1 3110 as the power to tote Soo Line caboose 31. It was on just such a hop the above vista was captured by me. What a sight to see in this ultra-modern railroad day and age! Thank God for historic preservation, too; without it, such scenes never could be except in imagination.
Note: for more information on the GN 400, click here: http://www.mtmuseum.org/jsr/roster/gn400.php
Once upon a time on a Sunday evening in June, 2008, the uncompleted Highway 12 bypass in Long Lake lay devoid of cars beneath the warm sun as it waited to be tied off at both ends thanks to unstable soil at its western end that dictated a “land bridge” solution money was slow in coming for.
The BNSF had its new alignment of its Wayzata subdivision up and running long before now, though, and darn did the uncompleted bypass make a great place to railfan from, especially now, with North Star Rail’s Alco Class S-3 4-8-4 Milwaukee Road 261 approaching with the westbound BNSF Employee Appreciation Special to Howard Lake and return.
After a westbound freight passed, here she came, beautiful and dramatic as ever. Out of the photos I took of her that evening, this one is my favorite. I especially like how I got her smoke plume, one of the westbound signals, and a bird flying right overhead, all captured in decent light.
Viva the Milwaukee Road 261! I look forward to taking more such pictures of her when she returns to the rails from her overhaul.