Gr8 River Road: Trainspotting 2.0
In Wisconsin, United States
How Geocaching Works
This is a regular cache to replace my ALR cache that was here that required a photo of a train. Since ALRs are no longer allowed, I had to archive that cache, and am replacing it with a new cache in the same spot.
Train spotting is a hobby that involves collecting sightings of trains. A train spotter will typically focus on a certain set of trains or moving stock — such as all cars of a certain model or all moving stock belonging to a particular company — and try to "spot" as many in that category as possible. Train spotters share information about the movements of trains with others and usually carry a data book in which they mark off the railway equipment they have spotted. (And you thought geocaching was the only weird hobby.) There are several web sites devoted to the hobby of train spotting.
This cache allows you to be a train spotter too, at least for one train. When traveling the Great River Road, one notices first the beauty of the river and the bluffs. But the next thing you will notice is that train traffic is quite high here, on the dual set of tracks that run between the river and the road.
The tracks that run along the Great River Road here are now owned and operated by BNSF, the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Company. BNSF was established as a result of a 1995 merger between the parent companies of the Burlington Northern Railroad and the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, and is the second largest railroad in North America.
The tracks here are a part of BNSF's "Northern Route" and is the backbone of their route between Chicago and Seattle. This route was originally part of the Northern Pacific Railway system, followed by the Burlington Northern Railroad system. The route starts at Chicago, Illinois and runs west-northwest to La Crosse. From there the route continues northwest along the east side of the river to Minneapolis and then on to Grand Forks, then to Montana, and then to Spokane, Washington, before heading to Seattle.
The assortment of colors used on the BNSF makes it one of the most colorful large railroads in North America. BNSF paints its locomotives in schemes derived from its predecessor railroads. Many locomotives, sometimes affectionately called "pumpkins," by train spotters are painted in "Heritage I" or "Heritage II" schemes, which are based on the Great Northern Railroad's colors of black and orange. Other locomotives are painted in the "Heritage III" scheme, which is the Santa Fe's famous silver-and-red "warbonnet" scheme, only with "BNSF" painted on the sides instead of "Santa Fe". Even more locomotives continue to be wear the green and white or blue and yellow colors of the two railroads that merged to create the BNSF. The majority of the trains that I have seen traveling the Great River Road the past few weeks have had the "pumkin" orange and black paint.
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Last Updated: on 5/22/2013 11:26:59 AM Pacific Daylight Time (6:26 PM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum