Saturday, April 30, 2011

Today's Train of Thought- Be Deviled in the Badger State, April 30 2011

Today's Train of Thought comes to us from a corner of Wisconsin that's probably not what most people envision when America's Dairyland comes up.

Located just outside of Baraboo WI, Devil's Lake State Park turns 100 this year. The namesake lake was created by a retreating glacier an estimated 10,000 years ago, along with 500 ft sheer quartzite bluffs eroded from the surrounding hillsides.

The park, which is just northwest of the state capital at Madison also has Wisconsin Southern's branch between Madison and Reedsburg, WI running through it beneath the cliffs and along the lake's shore. This used to be part of the former Chicago & Northwestern line linking Madison, WI with the Twin Cities and besides online customers for the WSOR, the Mid Continent Railway Museum is located in nearby North Freedom.

Here, contributor Micheal Quagliano has caught WSOR SD20# 2054 with Madison-Reedsburg Local freigh M3 moving north beneath the sheer rock face along the shores of Devil's Lake State Park the day after Independence Day in July 2007. The SD20s were rebuilds created from the hulks of retired SD24s and cabless SD24Bs by the Illinois Central Gulf's Paducah, KY shops in the late 1970s/early 1980s. They were retired by the Illinois Central in the late 1990s and sold off to a number of reigonals and shortlines including the Wisconsin Southern.

Since then, a number of shortline operators have taken advantage of the proliferation of the more standardized GP38-2 or SD40-2 models in the secondhand market and retires, scrapped or re-sold the SD20s. WSOR #2054 was retired and since sold to a biofuel plant in Fairmont, MN where it works as the plant switcher.

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