Fargo, North Dakota [July 1999]

My 1999 summer trip to Fargo opens with this predawn shot of a westbound manifest train at Moorhead junction. Yes, some things are worth rolling out of bed at 0430.

A few hours later, an eastbound manifest rolls off of the Hillsboro Sub and onto the KO mainline. Note the freshly painted BNSF SD40-2.
The BNSF Fargo Terminal Headquarters is actually in Dilworth, about a ten minute drive from Moorhead Junction. The facility is somewhat off-limits, but not to good old Carl Zeiss optics.

The Dilworth Rotary basks in the summer sun, awaiting the snows and bitter cold of the North Dakota winter.

Moorhead is located on the Hillsboro Sub, a few thousand feet west of Moorhead Junction on the ex-GN. Moorhead is also the start of the P-Line Sub, which runs to Crookston and is now partially owned by the spinoff shortline Minnesota Northern. However, the BNSF still owns and switches the southern half of the line. Shown here is a rare P-Line local, which originated in Dilworth, and is now headed to switch a few tank cars into a sugar beet mill just north of Moorhead. The long backing move from Dilworth to Moorhead requires a caboose, which can be seen in the background.
Yet another postcard view of the famous GN passenger depot in Fargo. Amtrak uses the old freight house (out of view to the left), and so the depot stood unused for many years. It was purchased in the early 90s by a group of businessmen, extensively renovated, and opened as a microbrewery. However, the cost of the renovation bankrupted the brewery, which sat unused for two years. One of the tribal casinos purchased the property for a song in early 1999, and so the depot is open for business again. The former platform is populated with tables, making it possible to down a few brews while watching the trains of the Hillsboro Sub.
Fargo's warehouse district is located along the ex-NP KO mainline. Shown here is the afternoon switch job, waiting at West Yard for a signal indication. The switch job is primarly handled by SW1200s, or (rarely) a GP28M.
West Fargo, North Dakota, is the western end of the Fargo Terminal, and was the location of a depot at one time (note the house track on the right). After the BN merger, a connector track was added from West Fargo to JY Junction, allowing unit coal trains to avoid a stop and runaround at Dilworth. The Coal Connector and interlocking signals can be seen left of center.

A westbound stack train throttles up through West Fargo.

A few minutes later, an eastbound stack rolls by.
A westbound empty unit coal train from Cohasset rolls off of the connector and onto the KO, headed back though Bismarck, Mandan, and Dickenson to the Montana coalfields.
Note the ex-ATSF C30-7, something of a rarity on these trains.
At the outermost edge of West Fargo is an old dirt farm road with a grade crossing. The view westward is unobstructed, allowing for some outstanding sunset shots. My father and I did some exploring to find this spot, and as the sun sank in the western sky, I kept hoping that the dispatcher would fill the scene with an eastbound.

OS West Fargo, the Extra 1024 East at 2106 CDT. PAF.

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