Marshall and New Ulm

My trip has moved westward to Marshall and New Ulm, Minnesota. Only one day has been sunny which is a shame but this did not stop me taking photos.

Marshall is a key location on my model railroad with key industries such as the ADM plant, Schwann Foods, Reinhardt Food Services, scrap dealer, propane dealer, and more.

Whilst New Ulm is not represented on the layout, it is a good place to check out industries. It is also well worth a visit to the Schell Brewery for some beer tasting and tour of the facilities.

I will head north to Minneapolis today and hope to get to a model shop or two. I have pencilled in Scale Model Supplies and Becker’s Hobbies.

Tomorrow I fly out of Minneapolis to Los Angeles and then back to Australia.

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Waseca

My US trip has focused largely on model railroading. However, today was my day to see some prototype train action. Once again, Waseca was the place where I saw some main line and switching action. First up was AC4400 locomotive CEFX 1025 and Canadian Pacific ES44AC locomotive number 8708. They were initially setting out a grain car at the western end of Waseca beyond the grade crossing. They were later to take a very long train, comprising mainly covered hoppers, out east. ┬áIn town was DME 4005 sporting it’s DME blue and gold livery switching on the branch just near the Waseca station building.

As the morning was surprisingly sunny, I also took the opportunity to take some building photos. These photos will form the inspiration for several industries on the model railroad. First up was the Birds Eye factory with it’s terrific assortment of building structures almost the length of a street. I had the pleasure of meeting a couple of guys from the plant who explained that some product still comes in and goes out by rail. In my time period of 1995-96 there was even greater rail traffic with the plant. I also took photos of various grain elevators and feed mills. I noticed that Brown Printing is now Quad Graphics and this remains an interesting building, albeit hard to photograph well.

I drove west to Mankato and had a scout around before ending up at Applebees. I took a few photos of the building as a possible structure to model, although by this time it was overcast. I met a couple of guys there who were surprised that Applebees were not in Australia.

I continued west and decided to spend overnight at New Ulm at my usual hotel chain. There is an Applebees restaurant close by but I decided that I would save the experience until later in the week, perhaps in Marshall (MN). I might go to the Schell Brewery if a tour is available.

Tomorrow I will go back to Waseca to catch up with a chap who hopefully will introduce me to a former DME engineer. I hope this can happen because I need to get a better understanding of prototype operation in the mid-1990s.

The rest of the week is forecast to be overcast with some rain. This is not ideal but I just have to deal with the weather as it plays out.

 

Another trip to the DME

There are lots of reasons, both good and bad, as to why this blog is not as active as it should be. I’d like to say it was because of all the time I pour into the layout that prevents me from blogging. Alas, this is not the case.

What I can say is that the layout (lower deck) is operational. I have had a few small operating sessions where trains have been run and some problems identified and corrected. It is still very much “plywood junction” but that’s ok for now. The upper deck remains unfinished and the incline is still without power. One of my friends is always lobbying me to forget the upper deck all together!

At the same time, there is some uncertainty in our household whether to move house or make some substantial renovations to the current house. This is not model railroad related but one of the key renovations could mean moving the model railroad from its current location in the double garage. A decision on all of this is yet to be made.

However, the really exciting news is that I am off to the US again in just over a week’s time. I will be visiting a friend in Kansas City before heading over to Ames, Iowa for the Thousand Lakes Region/Mid-Continent Region NMRA convention. It has been a few years now since I last went to a TLR Convention. I have made many friends from these convention visits and I hope to catch up with people this year in Ames.

After the convention I am getting a lift with a friend to Minneapolis. From here, I will hire a car for ten days to drive around DME/CP territory in southwest Minnesota. Although this will be my third visit to the prototype DME, I have more time this trip. More time means not rushing around and driving hundreds of miles each day. I intend to spend some time in Waseca as this location never disappoints for seeing DME trains. I anticipate going as far west as Brookings (SD) and east as far as Rochester.

If you’re out and about in Ames, or in DME territory, I hope to say g’day!