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A Tale of Two Trips



Finally settled in at the Idaho homestead, I decided it was time to start exploring the nearby BNSF Kootenai River subdivision. On separate days (Tuesday, October 11th & Wednesday, November 9th), I followed the ex-Northern Pacific, now-BNSF "funnel" from the Hauser, ID refueling station to Sandpoint, ID. North of there, I paralleled the ex-Great Northern line to Naples, ID. Let's see what I came up with.



Just starting out (about 1 1/2 miles from my house) is the Union Pacific Spokane Subdivision or ex-SI line. This piece of track gets about 4 - 6 trains a day and, talk about luck, I caught a merchandise train crossing my path at Greensferry Road. Power for this train is Canadian Pacific 8838/8645/8653/UP1208 (GE ES44DC/GE AC4400CW/GE AC4400CW/EMD GP39-2).



I catch up to the BNSF at McGuire Road where it meets Idaho highway 53.  BNSF #4223 a GE ES44C4, threads its way on to Main 2 with a grain train at the west end of the Hauser "gas station". Pushing is another ES44C4, BNSF #7982. All trains (except Amtrak) fuel up here. That's Rathdrum Mountain looming up in the background.



Brrr... The temperature is hovering around 25 degrees at the West Hauser signal bridges. A Q train (Guaranteed domestic service - closest to camera) and a Z train (highest priority) prepare to take off. The Q has four 737 fuselages from Spirit Aerosystems in Wichita, KS and will deliver them at the Renton, WA, Boeing plant.



At CP Silver (near Silverwood Theme Park) I snag an eastbound Q led by BNSF #7903, a GE ES44C4, on Main 2. Note BNSF "Warbonnet" 785 GE C44-9W in the first glimmers of daylight. After he goes by, a westbound Q (BNSF #3896 GE ET44C4) crosses over from Main 1 to Main 2. The WB features a trailing Kansas City Southern #4012, an EMD SD70ACe "ACE" in the low morning light.  Love that "Southern Belle" paint scheme!

A bit of trivia, the location of the CP Silver crossovers is at "North Pole, Idaho", at least on Google Maps. There's no local sign I've been able to find, but the above link explains things somewhat.



Granite Loop Road (MP 25) yielded the catch of the day (November trip). A westbound unit grain train on Main 1 featured BNSF 477433 -- a covered hopper with a Great Northern Railway logo!

Two units pulling and two units pushing (Distributed Power Units DPU) in three paint schemes, Heritage I, II & III. 7374 H3, 7685 H2 + 4464 H2, 977 H1.



Valley Vista Ranch in Cocolalla Flats! This is such a sensational morning shot, I stopped here on both days. Each train featured Norfolk Southern "Thoroughbred" units to complement the horses seen at the ranch. How about that barn?!



Classic shot of yet another WB grainer on Main 1 alongside Lake Cocolalla. BNSF #7008/4414/8392 + BNSF #4424/6711 DPU. All GE locomotives.



I was wandering around looking for new photo angles and came upon 32 Crescent Lane in scenic Sagle, ID. Led by BNSF #5303 on Main 1 comes a loaded coal unit train destined for export at Roberts Bank, BC. This was as close as I could drive to the west end of the Sandpoint trestle over Lake Pend Oreille.



Views coming and going on US 95 crossing the lake. I like the "frozen foamy water" in the second image. 

You can see they're just about done with the second bridge to complete the double tracking. No pictures from Bottle Bay Road this time. I've covered that shot in previous write ups.  But, I'll be back!



The ex-NP station at Sandpoint looks great in the low light. That's Schweitzer Mountain Resort to the left. You can see where they've removed part of the platform in front of the depot for installing the second track. It's gonna be a tight squeeze regardless! At Sandpoint Junction (just east of the depot), BNSF 3267 brings a J.B. Hunt-heavy double stack over from the ex-GN mainline.



On the west side of town, we find the former GN Sandpoint depot, now used by the BNSF section gang. Just up the track a ways (next to G N Road), I found this BN 10553 "stickers" caboose festooned with GN, NP & SP&S logos. Looks like someone's tried to peel off the GN sign on both sides!



Back in GN territory now, this morning's EB doublestack catches up to me at the Schweitzer Mountain Road crossing.



You can follow the ex-GN mainline for quite a ways out of Sandpoint on N Boyer Road. I was munching my lunch sandwich when this fella came along. Yet another WB grain train with 6739/3935 pulling and 982/7938 pushing.



Back on US2/US95 north (railroad east), I once more catch up to the NS 8007 double stack who takes siding at Elmira MP 1387 for a meet with WB BNSF 6672 on a grain train.



Naples, at last! This is one of my favorite places to 'fan as you have an old highway bridge to stand on for lots of different "down on" angles. I finally went trackside to get a standard 3/4 view of the ex-GN depot - recently refreshed with a new sign. Also, here's how it looks from the bridge in the snow.



Can you stand one more runby of the NS 8007 train? Here it is crossing Deep Creek a bit north of Naples, then ducking into Tunnel 10.2, just 479 feet long (MP 1376).



Oddly enough, I saw more UP action at Naples than BNSF. First was this short local pulled by UP 1201 heading west through the pines. The conductor looks very bored! Next was this morning's UP train from near my house -- looks like he dropped UP 1208 somewhere and continued with just the 3 red CP units.

Finally, the signals lit up and here comes BNSF #4401/1092/6023 eastbound with a V (vehicle) train.

I had a lot better luck in 2021 at Naples both coming and going during my Montana railfan excursion.

It was a fun trip(s)! I'm still learning new locations to shoot and you can bet there'll be more reports as I further explore the area. Train hype!

 

THE END