Wind on the Rails

May 27th, 2005

This just in from Ron Barber of Stewartville:

This photo (that isn’t here, waiting for official permission) was taken by a friend of Ron’s near Trempeleau, WI today, as was the other, below.

I received word that an entire train of Vestas wind generators for 12 plants will be passing through Minnesota in the next couple of days.

The material was unloaded from a ship at Houston TX onto a Burlington Northern Santa Fe special train. The train passed through Kansas City this morning and is working its way to Minneapolis, where it will be
interchanged with the Canadian Pacific (former SOO Line) for delivery in Saskatchewan.

The BNSF routing will be along the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi River, where it will then swing over at Hastings MN, through Cottage Grove, Newport, St. Paul and Minneapolis. There, the Canadian Pacific RR will take over and run the train through towns like Buffalo, Paynesville, and Glenwood, then through North Dakota and finally Canada.

Train makeup:
64 cars total consisting of two BNSF office passenger cars and many 70 foot and 89 foot long flat cars. There are 12 hubs, 12 pods, and 36 blades and two shipping containers. Each 125 foot long blade has what is called an ‘idler’ flat car accommodate the length of the blades around curves. Because this is considered an ‘oversize’ train load, there will be a 45mph speed restriction for the train.

Photos of the turbines here! These were taken in Ft. Worth, Texas.

Below are a couple of Vestas press releases last autumn that must be about these turbines:
One press release
Another press release

And more from Ron:

Here are some pictures a friend sent. They were taken about 11am today. I would say the train is now in the Twin Cities metro area. A new rumor is that the train will head north out of Glenwood MN on a different CP RR line that will go through Thief River Falls and on to MN before crossing into Canada.

(the great photo that isn’t here is a long string of train cars with wind turbine hubs)

Hopefully permission for photos will come through, or some others to post!

Another update from Ron (5/27 @ 7:15 p.m.) about the route:

The possible routing of the train on the Canadian Pacific (former Soo Line) will be after it leaves the Twin Cities and heads northwest to Glenwood, it MAY get on another line that goes north to Noyes MN (Canadian border), instead of west through Minot and Portal ND (the other border crossing). Hopefully I will get a confirmation by tomorrow on this routing.

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