Dairyland Driftings

| March/April 1964

The North Shore country has always struck my fancy. The Twin Ports area is certainly a fascinating tourist region, enroute to Canada or the Great Circle Route via the North Shore drive. The picturesque Skyline drive over Duluth, the Enger tower, the Long-fellow zoo and numerous city parks merit any travelers time. Seeing the ancient aerial lift bridge or crossing the new twenty million dollar Hi-bridge to Superior are a must. Here too can be seen ore boats and ocean going vessels both foreign and domestic, freighting grain and other commodities. Fortunately in Duluth can be found several large stationary steam engines, not the least of these is a 150hp. Twin City corliss driving a compressor at the brewery. In this same engine room is a standby smaller Twin City corliss and a slide valve Chuse engine shafted direct to a generator. Regulations almost prohibits visitors but there was no objection to picture taking. I was fortunate to go with NICK BLATIE who is acquainted with the power house Superintendent.

At nearby Proctor on a hillside is spotted a 2-8-8-4 DM and IR mallet no. 225. Its past was hauling ore from the iron range and Via Proctor to the loading docks in St. Louis Bay. This a symbol of power, second to none.

On Nov. 4 it was my pleasure to take a steam train trip from Cloquet to Saginaw a distance of eleven miles. This run is made week days on the Duluth and Northeastern Ry. and primarily hauls pulp-wood, lime and other material used by Cloquet Paper Products Co. This railroad still has five steamers on the roster ready to go and used daily to make the said run and in switching operations. At the depot about 8 AM I met NICK BLATIE and NICK WATRY from Duluth, who were also scheduled to make the trip to Saginaw. The fare was 84cent, and we rode in the caboose with the crew, where we were permitted to ride in the 'top story' to take pictures. It was heated by the traditional pot bellied stove using coal for fuel. The locomotive on this trip was a Baldwin built 2-8-0 number 16. This enjoyable trip tasted like more so the following Friday at 5 AM I again took off for Cloquet. With me this time were two local fans, namely ERNEST ALDEN and RONNIE GJERNING. On this occasion they rode the caboose and I drove on ahead to get pictures of the train where it crossed highway No. 33 and 2. Not too surprising. I met up with two other rail fans in the pursuit, one was from St. Paul and the other from Willmar, Minn. The guy from Willmar told me this was his 6th trip to photo this steam line. Pictured coming down the track is No. 16 closing up on crossing highway 33. This picture taken Nov. 8th '63 and it is evident the fireman was aware of us shutter bugs. Perhaps it was taken too far away, but from my vantage point, I still had to pick up the slide camera for a shot, and then run some movies before it passed by. Try it sometime; and I should have had a tape recorder too. In the locomotive picture the engineer is stepping down for a snack lunch while still at Sawinaw, prior to the return trip. The young man on the ground is Nick Blatie. To think this railroad has stuck to steam all these years and only a hundred miles from my home. Sad to say something in the wind has it that a diesel will be on the roster in the near future.

Wife: 'Wasn't it disgusting the way those men stared at that girl getting on the train?'

Husband: 'What train?'

We had the pleasure of ESTHER and HARVEY OBRECHT from Thor, Iowa visit us a couple days. From here they were going to take that steam ride out of Cloquet, Minn. As far as Harvey is concerned any vacation that includes a steam locomotive is tops for him.