This past Sunday afternoon I did just that and decided to railfan the west end of St. Clair Sub and see what train came our way.
Sitting at the local McDonalds off I-75 It wasnt long before my scanner crackled to life with CN2224 east requesting DTC block authority for EMID, SQUA, and RIVE from the St. Clair Sub Dispatcher. Knowing the train was roughly 15 miles west of our location we took the opportunity to head to the east side of the Saginaw River Swing Bridge and setup for the train.
After catching the train crossing the river at an illustrious 10mph, we knew the train would be stopping at Bay Yard to change crews before continuing onto Port Huron, so a photo at the yard would be win as well.
On the way east to begin chase, we stopped briefly on the M-33 overpass to photograph the train coming out of Bay Yard.
The train was now well underway through fertile farmland dotted with sugar beets, corn, and soybean fields ready for harvest. While it would run through Gerhard and Edsel we opted to intercept down the line at Upper Huron.
The scanner came to life as the crew released "GERH" and "EDSE" blocks. We knew it wouldn't be long before the rumble would become a headlight coming into view at Upper Huron.
Continuing the chase into Grays Lake I decided to capture the train with the sleepy town as the setting with the train traveling through it.
Out of Grays Lake the county highway parallels the main into Gerhard allowing us to capture the head end with the passing siding and local setout track in the foreground. Most of the time we would make a meet here but with a quiet Saturday the train races along at track speed.
With our last spot picked out in advance of the arriving train we catch Z-BKPH-30 passing Gerhards restored station on its way to Port Huron. As the train rolls out of "GRAY" and into "GERH" block we hear the dispatcher issue the "KINC SDG" block at Kincaid to westbound U-MYPB-30 (Empty limestone Marysville to Port Belle), signifying the Z-BKPH will hold the main and continue on east.
Lastly what looks to be a freshly painted Minnesota Commercial boxcar brings up the rear.
Peeking into the photos foreground is MCIS GP40-2 #4008. Traffic levels from numerous customers at Gerhard and Grays Lake warrant a local switcher, which is based out of Gerhard during weekdays. Normally any four axle general pool EMD can be found on this assignment, but lately 4008 has been holding the job. Here in a week or two we will see it back at Bay City for its 90 day, probably swapping with GP38-2 #3816.
We could continue the chase onto Port Huron or wait here for the U-MYPB-30 which never has a dissapointing consist, but today we are going to call it and head for home.
I hope everyone has enjoyed this narrated chase of Z-BKPH-30 on the St. Clair Sub.