Araquan Skytracer (araquan) wrote in railroading,
Araquan Skytracer

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Commuting near Sunset, or The Rise of the Northstar...

After having my fill of shopping, I managed to work in a little time to check out the newly established (as in, service started just shy of two weeks ago) Northstar Commuter Rail line. And so I did, right around sunset:

Looking northwest (in the direction of trains heading to Big Lake) right about sunset.

A few minutes later, one of the first trains out of Minneapolis arrives.

And here it is, up close. 503's got that new-locomotive shine to it.

Another view of the cab as the train waits in the station.

The "split level" cars this system uses are similar to those found on commuter lines in San Diego, Los Angeles, Seattle, Miami, Montreal, and Toronto, where they originated. Take a good look, but better hurry up and get on board... The train's at the station just 45 seconds per stop, and then... it goes, toward Big Lake. The trailing car has a cab as Minneapolis-bound trains are pushed, saving the hassle of turning the train at the end of the run. This is also a common feature of many commuter lines.

In between commuter trains, a freight heads toward Northtown Yard. Only the orange and green locomotive (the second one in the train) has seen a proper repainting since 1995 or so- and then not much more recently than that itself.

In the last of the rapidly fading light, the 16:45 train, this time carrying two locomotives, arrives at the station.

45 seconds later, it too is gone.

Also, while I was there, a number of large aircraft passed overhead- 747s in particular. Leaving contrails at high altitude, these were not bound for MSP, but rather came in on vectors from the northwest and turned slightly to the east over the western suburbs- I suspect they were bound for east-coast destinations, or maybe Chicago after further course corrections. Of course, I grabbed a few photos of those too. Unfortunately, my longest lens has chroma problems at wide apertures when zoomed all the way, and I was fighting the dying sunlight here, so... these are very high ISO and not exactly artistic grade. But still possibly of interest.

This one is definitely Korean Air, but whether it's one of their freight or passenger craft is unknown.

This one... Lufthansa? Probably not. China Southern...? No. Dunno. (mcniadh suggests Atlas Air, partially repainted from Polar Air... could be, though it's a fairly generic paint job either way)

And this one... I have no idea which airline this is, in spite of its distinctive markings toward the rear of the fuselage. I'll admit that I haven't had time to research this one at all though. Probably be very interesting to see. (Probably Asiana, as per mcniadh's suggestion)
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