Old 02-09-2005, 08:41 PM   #1
Ween
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Default North Dakota railfanning

Yep, I made it to the top of the CONUS, and now have residence in Grand Forks, ND. Moving in has prevented anytime along the rails, but driving by the yard in downtown GF has got me salivating.

Anyway, I'm just looking for any info on railfanning in North Dakota (Grand Forks/Fargo/Moorehead areas): freqs, passing sidings, etc. Thanks for the info...
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Old 02-10-2005, 04:16 AM   #2
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Get on the internet.

http://www.bnsf.com/about_bnsf/html/division_maps.html

http://www.on-track-on-line.com/amtfreq-bldr.shtml

ETC ETC
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Old 02-11-2005, 03:23 AM   #3
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Usually, coal trains and the like, using the more modern power - SD60's, 70's, and Dash 9's, come in from the south. They leave headed east. Line parallels Hwy 2 from East Grand towards Crookston, MN. Locals head west towards Devils Lake and north toward Grafton and those communities. Usually the locals are GP38 or GP39 powered. Sorry, don't know freqs or sidings. Usually a pretty interesting selection of power in town. If you want the intermodals and whatnot, head down to Fargo. The main runs from Fargo to Minot.
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Old 02-11-2005, 05:02 AM   #4
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Default Grand Forks and Fargo Information

Hello, I just registered for the forums here, but Iíve been lurking around for a while, and have a few photos listed in the database. Anyway, since Iíll probably be going to UND in the near future, and am pretty familiar with the cities of Fargo and Grand Forks, I thought I might have some information that may be of interest.

The following frequencies are the ones that youíll be able to hear trains on in Grand Forks:

161.100 - BNSF Devils Lake Sub (runs west from the Grand Forks yard), Glasston Sub (runs north from Grand Forks yard), BNSF Hillsboro Sub (runs south from Grand Forks)
161.385 - BNSF Grand Forks Sub (runs east from the Grand Forks yard; this frequency is used between East Grand Forks and Cass Lake, MN), BNSF Noyes Sub (runs north from Crookston, MN)
161.410 - BNSF Grand Forks Sub (this frequency is used between East Grand Forks and Grand Forks yard)

The Walhalla and Drayton Subs, branch lines that connect with the Glasston Sub, also use 161.100. They are about 30 miles north of Grand Forks, however, so, depending on the antenna on your scanner, you may not be able to pick them up very well, if at all.

The nice thing, if you like to listen to your scanner a lot, is that all the subdivisions in the Grand Forks area operate with track warrants, so youíll be able to hear dispatchers giving and clearing warrants quite often.

As Iím sure youíve seen by driving past the Grand Forks yard, there is a lot of grain and coal coming through the area on rail. Iím not sure about the exact number of trains passing through the area each day, but the area is pretty busy, busy enough to satisfy any appetite to watch trains go by, Iíd say. The line going east and west out of Grand Forks probably has the greatest frequency of trains, following by the line heading south and then the line heading north. Also, if you havenít yet seen it yet, the sidewalk on the western side of the Columbia Road overpass in Grand Forks is an excellent spot to watch and take pictures of the yard below.

Although BNSF is the dominant railway in Grand Forks, if you head east of town to Crookston, MN, you will have the chance to see the Minnesota Northern Railroad (MNN). Iím not exactly sure where all of their tracks are, but I do know they run north and south through Crookston. As a shortline, MNNís tracks arenít that busy, but when you do see trains on them, theyíll usually be powered by old geeps. I know theyíve got a lot of GP9s in their collection, as well as some GP35s and other odds and ends. The frequency they use would be 161.535.

You also said youíd like some information on the Fargo/Moorhead area, so here are some of the frequencies used in that area.

161.160 - BNSF KO Sub (runs west of Fargo and then diagonal across North Dakota to Minot), BNSF Nolan Sub (runs from Moorhead west)
160.920 - BNSF Moorhead Sub (runs south from Moorhead to Breckenridge, MN)
161.385 - BNSF P Line Sub (runs north from Moorhead and connects with MNN track)
161.415 - BNSF Staples Sub (runs from Dilworth to Minneapolis/St. Paul; this is the frequency used between Staples, MN and Dilworth)
161.410 - BNSF East Dilworth Yard

Like samusi01 said, if you want to see a lot of intermodal or container traffic, head down to Fargo. High-priority trains primarily going from Chicago to Seattle or Tacoma use the Staples and KO subs. A spot in the Fargo/Moorhead area to watch these trains is along highway 10 in Moorhead, MN. Tracks parallel this highway on both sides for a short bit. The tracks on the north side of the road belong to the Prosper sub, and those on the south side of the road belong to the KO sub. Youíll see quite a few trains on both of subs. In addition, if you continue on highway 10 to just east of Moorhead, there is the small town of Dilworth, where BNSF has a pretty extensive yard. Pass the sign marking the city limits of Dilworth on highway 10 and start looking south. The tracks are pretty visible from the side of the road here, and you should be able to tell when you reach the vicinity of the yard. Although there isnít really a very good spot to sit and watch the action in the yard, there are quite a few places just west of the yard where you could watch trains just as they enter or exit the yard. You could also listen to scanner traffic here, but one thing I should warn you is that it is completely illegal, unless you have an amateur radio license, to have a scanner in a car in Minnesota. North Dakota isnít as strict about scanner usage, and the state does allow you to listen to one in your vehicle.

The rail network in Fargo, though almost entirely BNSF, can actually be a bit complicated. In order to get away from some of the complication, Iíve gone west to the city of Casselton, ND to watch trains before. All of the intermodal and container trains that also pass through Fargo also pass through this city just before heading northwest to Minot, and a lot of coal trains also come through bound for Jamestown, ND and points west. I took this picture of a train in Casselton.

A very good page that deals with railroads in Minnesota can be found at http://www.skypoint.com/~hudsonl/. The person who runs this website also makes an excellent PDF, found here, that lists pretty much all of the railroad frequencies in use in Minnesota. The chart would make a very good reference to look at in case youíre ever traveling around in Minnesota and are wondering what frequencies the railroads in the area are using.

I hope all of my writing is some help to you. Welcome to Grand Forks and the great state of North Dakota! As barren and rural as the state is, thereís just something about North Dakota Iíve always liked; hopefully you enjoy your stay there .

Mitch Wahlsten
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Old 02-16-2005, 05:00 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mitch
I hope all of my writing is some help to you. Welcome to Grand Forks and the great state of North Dakota!
Mitch,

That's the exact kind of info I was hoping for. It's helped alot, and I've got your scanner freq info to thank for nabbing the Grafton local yesterday as it was coming back to the Forks (I'll submit it when I get internet in my house)

Thanks again for the all the info; it's invaluable!

Chris
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Old 02-19-2005, 03:50 PM   #6
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You can see some awesome CP action in North Dakota.
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Old 02-19-2005, 09:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mecha_Moose
You can see some awesome CP action in North Dakota.
Not where I am. Winnipeg is a couple hours north, but I think only CN comes down stateside around this area. I have heard CP advertising for employmeny on the radio here though...
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Old 02-19-2005, 11:24 PM   #8
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Yes, there is. There's CP in Theif River Falls, Minnesota. That's only like 35 miles from your home. CP also goes 50 miles south of Fargo, and Northwest up to Saskatchewan, where it joins up.
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Old 02-20-2005, 02:52 AM   #9
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Oh well. I have never shot any CP...I'm more of a CN guy...

BTW, according to Mapquest, Thief River Falls to Grand Forks:

Total Est. Time: 1 hour, 33 minutes Total Est. Distance: 71.29 miles

Now, I'm no speed freak, but I think I can cover 71 miles in less than 1.5 hours...

Never believe Mapquest, never, ever, never...
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Old 02-20-2005, 04:15 AM   #10
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Be sure to check the box for "most direct route" instead of "Bluehair behnd the wheel"
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Old 02-24-2005, 05:44 AM   #11
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I've started a Yahoo! Group of railfanning in the Grand Forks area if you're interested in the region, moving up there, or just coming up to do some railfanning. Here's the link:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/grand_forks_railfanning/

To be honest, the only members are myself and a buddy from Altus and the group is mainly just my online journal right now, but if you have info on the area, stop on by. Mitch, your info was truly invaluable. Thanks and you're more than welcome to join and make it a solid quarter dozen members!
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Old 02-25-2005, 03:57 AM   #12
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Thanks, glad the info was helpful. I'll join the group, and hopefully some other people in the Grand Forks or North Dakota/Minnesota area will too!
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