Crookston, Minnesota [December 2001]

I've always wanted to take a trip up to Crookston. Located at the junction of a number of former GN lines, Crookston is really active only during the grain hauling season. During Christmas 2001, my brother Jim and I were able to get away for a day, and do some railfanning, just as we did two decades ago. We drove up from Fargo, along the BNSF/MNN "P" Line, which is pretty deserted outside of harvest time.

Our first stop was Crookston Junction, which used to be home to a roundhouse, depot, and other railroad facilities. Now, it's just a wye with a lot of empty concrete slabs, and a few MOW cars on the remaining yard tracks. This BN piledriver doesn't look like it's seen any recent use.
Over on the other side of Crookston Junction, the Minnesota Northern Railroad (MNN) has a small engine house. Apparrently the small EMD switcher doesn't merit a warm spot inside the house.
The MNN also has several MOW cars stored here, including a few Soo Line cabooses, and this Jordan Spreader.
The builder's plate on the spreader indicates that this is a relative youngster, having been built for the Grand Trunk Western in 1948.
Just up the street from the junction, we found this EMD SW-1, built in 1939 for the CB&Q. The folks at the Mid-Valley Grain Co-Op have thoughtfully installed a block heater to keep the little guy warm.
Also next to the Mid-Valley elevator, we found a pile of what appears to be 60 lb. rail, which was most likely from the original St. Paul, Minnesota and Manitoba mainline through Crookston in the 1880s.

[December 2001]