Monday, January 6, 2014

Today's Train of Thought- Hail Cobra! Jan 6th, 2014

Today's multimodal Train of Thought takes us to the windswept plains of North Dakota and features an Army veteran's life in a small town after retirement.

Manufactured starting in the late 1960s, the Bell AH-1F 'Cobra' helicopter was adopted by the US Army as an attack and ground support helicopter that saw service in Vietnam, Grenada, Panama and Desert Storm before being replaced by the Boeing AH-64 Apache in the mid 1990s. A number the militaries of allied nations still use the 'Cobra' to this day including Israel, Japan and some NATO members. While some Cobras were passed along to other countries once they became surplus, the US Forest Service also began using a number of Cobras re-fitted with thermal imaging and firefighting gear to combat wildfires out west.

And while the 1967-built AH-1F is seen off to the left in a wintry repose at a park in Lidgerwood, ND, contributor Bryant Kaden snapped this Dakota, Missouri Valley & Western freight as it trundles past in the background powered by a pair of SD45s of a similar vintage. The train is headed eastbound towards the Canadian Pacific interchange in Hankinson, ND. Lidgerwood was the westernmost point of the line when Soo Line predecessor Minneapolis & Pacific constructed it in 1886- work resumed in 1891 when the Minneapolis & Pacific was merged into the Minneapolis, St Pail and Sault St Marie Railway. By the early 1990s- when the US Army was phasing out the Cobra attack helicopters- the Soo Line was divesting themselves of branchlines throughout the Dakotas and sold hundreds of miles off to the upstart Dakota, Missouri Valley & Western.

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