Saturday, June 7, 2014
Railfanning in Fargo, North Dakota (Again)
"You're not one of those 'railfans,' are you?"
That's what the BNSF employee asked me while I was watching trains one evening in May in Dillworth, Minnesota.
"No, I'm not one "those" railfans," I replied, assuming she meant someone who had let train-watching move from a hobby or interest to an obsession. "I just like trains."
What followed was a friendly conversation about trains and traffic on the line through Fargo, ND and Dillworth. Can you say "tank car trains?"
It wasn't so long ago that the most dominant trains on the line were those carrying coal, or returning to the coal fields. Today it is oil, and lots of it.
As I have said before, Fargo and Dillworth are great places to watch trains. The day I was there featured a steady parade; no sooner had one train passed by when headlights of the next one could be seen in the distance.
And because there's so much traffic, BNSF is borrowing lots of power from other railways, and from lessors--something that adds a bit more colour to the consists.
The other thing that makes train watching in Fargo and Dillworth so enjoyable is the access. The trains roar through the heart of Fargo, passing right by plenty of public places to watch trains.
Plus, BNSF employees are very accommodating--as long as you obey the rules and aren't, I assume, one of "those railfans."
I know that not many people will find their way to North Dakota--it's a long way from most anywhere. But if you do, you won't be disappointed by the great railway action.