Saturday, October 27, 2012

Today's Train of Thought- Marquette Down on the Calendar, October 27, 2012

It doesn't seem that long ago that New England was the place to be for fall- especially if you were a sports fan. The days get shorter, the hills start to explode with reds, oranges and yellows and you could hardly turn on the radio or TV without listening to a Boston team winning.

It wasn't that long ago one could expect to tune in to the Red Sox vie for another American League pennant, the Patriots embark on their quest for another title, Boston College raise hell in the ACC with Matt Ryan at QB and the Bruins and Celtics season get underway- all in one weekend. But the only constant is change, and like the leaves lazily drifting to the ground an increasing number of these teams have made themselves in non-factors in the month of October.

Now, that mojo seems to have made it's way west to the Wolverine State. Granted they haven't gotten off to the best of starts in the World Series, but not only have the Detroit Tigers won the American League pennant, they also can lay claim to the first triple crown winner in baseball in more than 45 years as well as the defending AL MVP and Cy Young winner- starting pitcher Justin Verlander. Be it the Wolverines or Spartans, either one of Michigan's Big 12 college football teams have more wins than all three FBS schools in New England combined (the MAC teams are another story, tho').

Sometimes the icing on the cake is the bucolic scenery in the fall- whether in the Midwest of northeastern corner of the country. And if some active rail lines happen to cut their way through that bucolic landscape, then all the better.

And this is exactly the case with western Michigan's Marquette Rail. Here, contributor familymansystem caught Marquette Rail SD40-2 #3001 leading a pair of Union Pacific-painted leasers up the hill and under a wooden bridge at Newyago, MI with Grand Rapids-bound symbol freight Z-151. The wet weather and fallen leaves on the tracks made the rails especially slick on October 11, 2012 and the crew has decided to double up the hill- a process where the crew splits the train into two portions before heading up the hill with one half, placing it in a siding before retrieving the second half and continuing after reattaching the two portions.

Not surprisingly given the composition and bright colors [no easy feat on an overcast day- NANESB!], familmansystem's image has been selected for a People's Choice award by users.

Interestingly, the #3001 is the only such unit to wear such bright livery for the Marquette- the other units are primarily leasers, some of which had the Marquette Rail logo hastily applied. This will also likely be the only unit to wear this distinct scheme. Marquette Rail has the distincion of going from becoming an independent shortline to a Rail America subsidiary to a part of the Genessee and Wyoming system in a few months time. The GWI acquisition of Rail America systems means that there will be plenty more orange along the Marquette Rail in the future.

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