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2016 Update
Four GP38-2s Arrive
February 7, 2016

     Four GP38-2s have been purchased through MEI in St. Louis, MO numbered 2010-2011, 2013-2014. All four were painted into TCWR colors and underwent a light overhaul by Metro East Industries in East St. Louis, MO. The units came equipped with PTC, air-conditioners and extended range dynamic brakes and are planned to be used on the east end of the railroad. While no existing units are planned to be retired, the CATs are getting old and a deadline is beginning to form in Glencoe. As the time of this writing, TCWR 302, 2004, 4300, 4301, 4302 and RRVW 406 are all Bad Order. TCWR 2004 has been BO since 09/10/15 and TCWR 302 has been BO since 12/09/15. The remainder have been BO for less than two months. With the GP38-2s now on property it remains to be seen if TCWR will invest the money to restore these units back to service. Currently, none of the GP38-2s are in service. The gap in numbering can be attributed to a miscommunication. Basic history of the GP38-2s can be found on the roster page.
Arrival Dates:
2010: 01/22
2011: 01/19
2013: 01/28
2014: 01/22

Glencoe MN 01/31/16

SW1200RS #1287 was stationed at the West-Con elevator in Appleton but has been replaced by ILSX 1350 (SD40T-2) for shuttle loading. The 1287 has been moved to Glencoe and may become the TCWR 1207, but that has yet to be confirmed.

Two More Shuttle Elevators
February 7, 2016

     TC&W will soon have four shuttle elevators on their system. Brownton and Buffalo Lake have been shipping unit/shuttle grain trains since 2012 but in 2015 the third shuttle elevator come online in Appleton. The West-Con facility received its first train on 09/28/15 from UP with 110-cars. The fourth shuttle elevator is currently under construction on the east side of Montevideo. All shuttle grain trains are received empty in the Twin Cities and return loaded in roughly 24 hours. These dedicated trains operate with TC&W crews and foreign equipment. For the past two years all shuttle grain trains have come from UP but after more than a two year absence TC&W is again receiving trains from BNSF. So far, two have gone to Brownton and were loaded soybeans for export at Kalama, WA. In the fall of 2013 TC&W also received two trains from CP for Brownton. The only shuttle elevator with a loop track is Brownton. The only other loop track on TC&W is for the ethanol plant in Granite Falls which has recently installed a second loop track. More shuttle elevators may be built along the system, especially if MPLI gets up to 25mph west of Winthrop.

Increased Track Speeds
February 7, 2016

     To better handle the shuttle grain trains to Appleton TC&W has performed extensive track work west of Montevideo to lift the long-standing 10mph slow orders and increase speeds to 30mph. The MPLI between Norwood and Winthrop was upgraded to 25mph in November of 2012 but didn't see 25mph trains until early 2013 after final preparations were complete. The first unit train ran fully intact, with "big" foreign power, to Winthrop on 11/27/15 with 66 ethanol empties. Unit DDG trains have also run directly to Winthrop and Grainte Falls has also begun to accept fully intact unit trains. In the past, it was common practice to break up a unit ethanol or DDG trains and deliver it in pieces or split it between Granite Falls and Winthrop. That practice seems to have changed during the past few months. Entire loaded trains are also departing from Winthrop.

Granite Falls ethanol empty in Sumter on 01/31/16

Possible Savage Turn
February 7, 2016

     After almost nine years of sitting silent, TC&W is planning on repairing the ex-MN&S Savage swing bridge over the Minnesota River. This would restore operations to Savage using the former MN&S line south (railroad east) out of St. Louis Park. The last TC&W train to Savage was in 2007 and since then the traffic for the elevators has been interchanged to UP who then handles it to Savage and returns the cars as empties to TC&W in St. Paul or Minneapolis. It's been reported that concrete ties are awaiting installation near the swing bridge. While not directly related, CP has raised track speed on the MN&S spur from 10mph to 15mph and installed welded rail.

New Interchange Point
February 7, 2016

     The ever moving interchange point with UP has moved again and this time to East Minneapolis. TC&W no longer interchanges carload traffic at Western Ave but receives most unit trains out of South St. Paul. The St. Paul Turn has often been skipping CP St. Paul Yard and instead makes the turn at the MNNR Midway Yard. On the days the St. Paul Turn does go to CP it often skips East Minneapolis and MNNR. Two trains have been running out of Hopkins on some days with one going to CP St. Paul Yard and another going to East Minneapolis and MNNR but this done only as needed/when possible.

TC&W Purchases Sisseton & Milbank Railroad
February 7, 2016

     In July 2012 TC&W completed the purchase of Sisseton & Milbank Railroad (SMRR). TC&W and SMRR have been interchange partners from the beginning in Milbank SD, which TC&W reached using trackage rights on the BNSF Appleton Subdivision west of Appleton MN. The purchase included the rolling stock and two locomotives; SW1200 #627 and SSB1200 #561 (rebuilt SW1200). The SMRR line extends north from Milbank 37-miles to Sisseton and serves the towns of Milbank, Corona, Wilmot, Peever and Sisseton. The SMRR operates as a subsidiary of TC&W and continues to operate much like it did prior to the purchase. To my knowledge, the two SMRR units have not ventured onto TC&W proper. TC&W hopes to eventually upgrade the track and increase business along the line. With the acquisition of SMRR, the total owned trackage is roughly 275-miles, plus roughly 65-miles of regularly used trackage rights.

Two New Shuttle Elevators
New Shuttle Grain Elevators and Granite Falls Expands
December 19, 2012
     The fall of 2012 saw two new shuttle grain elevators put into service. An entirely new elevator and loop track was built just west of Brownton (pictured below). The other is an expanded elevator in Buffalo Lake and in place of a loop track the exisiting track was extended westward plus a pocket track. A TCWR locomotive is assigned to Buffalo Lake to load the trains.

     It's still early but Buffalo Lake and Brownton run a combined 2-3 trains a week. Unit trains of phosphate/fertilizer were said to be planned for Brownton but none have run yet. All but two trains for Brownton have been BNSF trains with the balance and all Buffalo Lake trains for UP. The trains arrive empty complete with foreign power and come in on the east end of the system at Cedar Lake Jct.
     The ethanol plant in Granite Falls has also built a new loop track however, I am not aware of any unit trains running yet. A unit train of fertilizer from UP ran early this fall for Winthrop but appears to be a one-off. Unit DDG trains have begun running again, all for UP.

2011 Update
Unit DDG Trains Cease & ILSX 1418 Arrives
February 1, 2011
     Unit DDG trains are no longer operating. Heartland Corn Products (ethanol plant) claims they make more money on single cars moves than unit trains. The DDG trains have been "dead" on several occasions so there is always a chance they could start running again. All depends on the market most likely. UP had the contract to receive the trains but BNSF won the contract at the end. I've only confirmed that one train ran with BNSF in late March of 2010 but is possible, albeit somewhat unlikely, that more operated. The confirmed train was destined for Longview, WA.
     Independent Locomotive Service recently acquired a former BN GP10, number 1418, and is now on lease to TCWR. The unit was interchanged at the MNNR Midway yard on 1/30/11. No word yet on where the unit is planned to be used. The 1418 still wears its Cascade Green paint, but the BN logo on the nose has been painted over and a black "ILSX 1418" patch has been placed under the cab. This was the last GP10 in use on BNSF.

Likely The End of NSI Trains
NSI Moves Out of Montevideo
February 24, 2010
     North Star Intermdal has moved out of the Montevideo intermodal site. The intermodal facility has been operated by NSI since 2007 but the current situation looks bleak for any future intermodal service. 2-3 trains ran a week for most of 2008 but a continued shortage of available empty containers limited the amount of trains that could run. In 2009 NSI trains were run very sparsely and the last load out of Montevideo was on the evening of May 9th. The leased flat cars used for this service are now stored at Bass Lake Yard in St. Louis Park. No final decisions have been made at this time.

Roster Reduction
ILSX 1389 & RRVW 404 Leave TC&W
February 24, 2010
   With the arrival of the two GP39-2s and a decline in traffic, TC&W has rid itself of two locomotives. The ILSX 1389 left in late April of 2009 after nearly two years of being leased. The unit eventually found its way onto sister railroad RRVW where it runs today.
   GP10 RRVW 404 suffered a electrical fire on November 12th, 2008 on the Milbank Turn. The unit was stored until January 9th, 2009 when it was sent to RRVW to be repaired and entered into plow service. The 404 remains on RRVW in dedicated MOW service. The 404 was one of the original GP10s on the TC&W during startup in 1991. The only remaining GP10 is the 406.

GP39-2s Arrive
Ex-KCC GP39-2s Arrive...Finally
February 24, 2010
   After over a year from the time the purchase agreement was signed, the two GP39-2s finally arrived on TC&W property on March 17th, 2009. The units were picked up by the St. Paul Turn in the UP Belt Yard in St. Paul. The units were later brought to Glencoe DIT and minor electrical and mechanical problems were fixed before the units were placed in service. The 2300hp units primarily work on the St. Paul Turn/Glencoe Turn but also make appearances on the Ruebel Turn.
   Both units are former Kennecott Kopper units that had the unique raised cabs for increased visibility. The cabs were cut down to normal height and painted in Kansas City at Mid-America Car. Built in 1977, the TCWR 2300 is former KCC 910 and TCWR 2301 is former KCC 790.

New Trains
More Trains Added to Schedule
February 24, 2010
   2009 saw the introduction of two new trains on the system. The "West End Switch" primarily works between Ruebel and Montevideo and it's primary purpose is to take pressure off of the Milbank Turn crew to help them make their connections with the Ruebel Turn and SMRR more reliably. The crew for the West End Switch goes on duty sometime around midday, normally going on connection with the Ruebel Turn heads west towards Montevideo until the Milbank Turn takes over. Occasionally, an extra engine is left behind for the West End Switch to do work while the Milbank Turn works. The job isn't daily but runs a few times a week depending on the amount of work to do be done on the line and how many trips west are made. This job also makes trips from Ruebel to Granite Falls to serve the ethanol instead of the Ruebel Turn plant while the Milbank Turn is out west. This results in the Ruebel Turn crew dying on hours less and makes operations more fluid.
   The other new train for 2009 is the UP Turn working out of Hopkins. This job handles the MNNR and UP interchange traffic and was created to get the St. Paul Turn back to Hopkins on a more consistent basis. The Northstar commuter trains have put more restrictions on when the TC&W can run on the BNSF and the UP Turn helps with that as well. This train isn't daily either and the crew is often used for any extras that may be running that day (ethanol, DDG, coal, etc.). Ultimately, the train runs at the operations department discretion and goes on duty the same time as the St. Paul Turn which makes a straight run to and from St. Paul Yard when the UP Turn is running.

Ethanol Trains for CP
Ethanol Trains Switch to CP from BNSF
February 24, 2010
   Unit ethanol trains began running in January of 2007 all of which went to Watson, CA via BNSF. Starting on November 21st, 2008 the ethanol trains began running on CP for east coast destinations on CSX. The last train to BNSF ran on December 11th resulting in coal trains becoming the only BNSF unit trains on TC&W. The CP Ethanol trains ran with TC&W power for the first few months until February 11th when a CP AC4400 and SOO Line SD60 were used to take a loaded train out of the Bongards siding to St. Paul.
   The trains continue to run with CP power today and have seen everything from the ubiquitous GEs to EMD SD40-2s, SD60s, GP38-2s and even CSXT power. The trains run in 80-car sets and are interchanged with CSX in Chicago for eventual delivery to Providence, RI and Sewarden, NJ.


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  • 2016 Update
  • Unit Train Update
  • Unit DDG trains cease
        operation. ILSX 1418 arrives.
  • Northstar Intermodal
         moves out of Montevideo.
  • RRVW 404 & ILSX 1389
         leave the TC&W.
  • Ex-KCC GP39-2s arrive
        on property.
  • More trains are added
          to the regular schedule
  • Ethanol trains are now
         interchaged with CP

  • Updates

    Last Update: 02/11/16

  • News items added.
  • Updated Roster
  • Updated Operations

    Past Updates