Trainspotting on the Iron Range

I grew up along the train tracks that ran parallel to Highway 7 in Zim, Minnesota, and then just up the road next to the tracks that fed Eveleth Taconite. Every day of my life on the Iron Range I’ve heard, seen or at least crossed the tracks of trains carrying iron ore, coal, paper from up north or grain from the west. Though I’m sure all kinds of freight moves through the area, I’ve only seen iron ore, coal, wood products, mining equipment or nondescript DM&IR freight cars.

Last Sunday the family and I drove to Duluth and stopped at the tracks on Highway 37 east of Iron and south of Eveleth, my old stomping grounds. So what the heck is in these double-decker Chinese freight containers? Where did it come from and where is it going?

There were a ton of interesting company names on this Canadian National train. Some were obviously Canadian, but there were a lot of Chinese words as well. I missed some of the more interesting designs.

Anyway, there are more efficient ways to get this information, but I’m going to treat this like birding and learn through constant observation. I’ve never seen one of these birds (trains) before. I wonder what this means to the larger ecosystem (global economy).

I also noted that there was very little graffiti or girls’ phone numbers on these cars. Classy. Welcome to the future.

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