A fatal grade crossing accident involving the previous day's eastbound Empire Builder and subzero temperatures (evidenced by the exhaust condensing above the BNSF locomotive) have the BNSF's northern transcon struggling to stay fluid. Usually flying through town and just minutes away from their next stop at Staples, on this day Amtrak 8 is slowly pulling into Wadena to pick up the crew from an eastbound oil train led by BNSF 7489. This is the fifth such crew they've retrieved from dead trains between here and Perham, 25 miles to the west. The struggle to keep trains moving will hit more snags throughout the morning, causing Amtrak to sit in Staples for three hours. At one point, we guessed that there were around 25 trains within 20 miles of our location, none of which were moving.
Photos of Amtrak's northern U.S. long distance train the Empire Builder from Seattle/Portland to Chicago. Westbound Train #7 (27-Portland section, 807-Chicago to St. Paul) & Eastbound Train #8 (28-Seattle section, 808-St. Paul to Chicago)