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Western Railroad Discussion > Canadian National in Galena, Illinois

Date: 11/05/19 00:05
Canadian National in Galena, Illinois
Author: cchan006

It was my first time visiting the Wisconsin/Iowa/Illinois Tri-State area in August. While I've crossed the Mississippi River by land on a few occasions, this was my first time staying near the great river.

Initially, railfanning wasn't the primary agenda, as there were countless historic sites in Galena, and in nearby Dubuque, Iowa. I was made aware of the former Amtrak Depot in Galena, last served in 1981 by the Amtrak Black Hawk. I was going to be happy catching a train by the Galena Depot, so I researched on how to do that, and got a crash course on ex-Illinois Central, now Canadian National Dubuque Subdivision.

On my first full day in the area, I played tourist in Galena and Dubuque, and listened to my scanner while driving around. Few chirps (EOT, End of Train device, or FRED frequencies) were heard, but they were BNSF trains running on the Aurora Sub. I scouted some locations before dinner, and tentatively came up with a strategy for the next day, hoping to catch a train through Galena.

Next morning, I drove to Dubuque to check out the CN yard (Iowa side), and stumbled upon an ethanol train doing a crew change. Chase was on, and I got the Galena Depot shot I wanted. Locations in the video are the following: Aurora Sub crossing, East Dubuque Rail Tunnel, Galena Depot, Scales Mound, and Warren.

- Crew change in Dubuque, IA.
- Video of the eastbound ethanol train chase.

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Date: 11/05/19 00:18
Re: Canadian National in Galena, Illinois
Author: cchan006

I took a food break at Warren, and kept my ears on the scanner while eating. The eastbound "chirp" became faint, but I was a bit puzzled that the "chirp" did not go away. Did the train stop? Was it meeting a westbound?

"CN Detector, Mile 135.1, Westbound..."

Apparently, the eastbound met a westbound at Lena (MP 127.1) and it was heading my way! I quickly improvised a chase plan, and thankfully, my scouting the day before really helped. I chose Apple River, then Galena Depot again, with a different angle. I had put the Dubuque Rail Bridge across the Mississippi on my "To Do" list the day before, and this westbound "no-grainer" (grain train empties) was going to hand me that shot on a silver platter!

- View of the train from the top of the Fenelon Place Elevator.
- Video of the westbound chase, according to plan.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/05/19 07:45 by cchan006.

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Date: 11/05/19 00:54
Re: Canadian National in Galena, Illinois
Author: cchan006

Later in the day, CN gave me another eastbound, a loaded grain train this time, with a nice Nathan P5 on an SD75I leader. I got it at a crossing few miles SE of East Dubuque, then went back to Galena to get the depot again.

The building to the left of the depot (geographically north, railroad east) is a breakfast and lunch joint called Otto's Place. Highly recommended.

This eastbound met a westbound in East Dubuque (ethanol empties), and later on I caught the regularly scheduled manifest M338 (eastbound) at Scales Mound which followed this eastbound grainer. I chased the M338 east until dusk, which met the M337 (westbound) at West Junction (just west of Freeport), so I ran into 6 trains that day.

I'll post a video of the M338 and some Aurora Sub BNSF trains later, and I deliberately drove to Wisconsin to nab a BNSF, so I can claim I caught trains in all 3 states.

- The loaded grain train at Apple River.
- Video of the SD75I-led grain train.

That's it for the report.

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Date: 11/05/19 07:25
Re: Canadian National in Galena, Illinois
Author: FiveChime

Nice variety. IC always seem mix up the trumpets on their Nathan P5 horns and from this video it appears that the horns from the older locomotives
got moved to new units under CN management.

Regards, Jim Evans

Date: 11/05/19 14:05
Re: Canadian National in Galena, Illinois
Author: MEKoch

I note several grade crossings with no gate arms.  I am surprised to see such crossings.  Most communities are insistent that all grade crossings have gate arms.  

Date: 11/05/19 19:15
Re: Canadian National in Galena, Illinois
Author: oyw

Quite nice my friend, love that area!

Date: 11/05/19 21:12
Re: Canadian National in Galena, Illinois
Author: blueflag

Thanks for posting.  Spent many mornings catching the eastbound switching Dubuque before my classes in Platteville.

Galena has a sharp curve which must have a 10 mph or less max speed.  The wheel squealing is amplified by the tracks being in a shallow valley through town.  The main crossing of the tracks is done via an overhead bridge, this crossing and one other in town are essentially dead ends.

Jeff Eggert

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