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.