Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Dubuque Local

The Canadian National runs a local out of Dubuque, IA that serves industries west of town. Making stops in Peosta, Farley, Dyersville, Delaware, and Manchester, this local often draws a pair of 4 axle locomotives, although that isn't always the case. We have 3 such rather unique examples for you.

In May of 2009, we captured this lone CN SD40-2W making a pickup of empty center beam flatcars at our Dyersville team track. While not ideal for the engineer, this local is running long hood forward for it's westward trip. As we can see from the photo, the local consists of one load, either to be dropped off here for our local truss manufacturer, or being spotted at a lumber yard in Delaware.

A year later (May 2010), the Dubuque local is "borrowing" a BNSF SD70MAC for power. Again, with a single unit running long hood forward, the westbound leg of the trip will not be ideal for the engineer. Given that there aren't any cars visible on the mainline behind the power, this is another over powered local. With only a single car in tow, this locomotive is handling more like a sports car, as it's normal assignment is handling 14,000 ton coal trains out of the Powder River Basin in Wyoming.

Back in 2010, the BNSF would hand off a loaded Powder River coal train to the CN in Sioux City, IA. The CN would run the train across Iowa to East Dubuque, Illinois where there was a rail to barge transfer facility. Our guess is that this single BNSF unit was the DPU on a coal train, and instead of leaving it in East Dubuque, it was brought across the Mississippi River to Dubuque.

In July of 2016, the Dubuque local is making good use of a CN SD75I and a former GTW GP38-2 for power. Again, we are in Dyersville, and the local is picking up a rather sizeable cut of empty center beam flatcars. And once again, both locomotives are facing the wrong direction for the westbound trip.

The only place to turn locomotives close to Dubuque is at the wye at Manchester. Given that the Dubuque local usually terminates is westward trip there, if the locomotive(s) are facing the right direction for eastbound movement, the crews will forgo turning the power in favor scooting back to Dubuque and completing any en route switching.