02 December 2016

Fargo Training: Great Northern Yard

Fargo is a rail town. A rail town with a former commercially navigable river.
Fargo came upon the scene when the Northern Pacific sought out a place to cross that river while forging a northern transcontinental rail link.
I have said elsewhere in the blog that Fargo was served by 3 railroads- Northern Pacific, Great Northern, and Milwaukee Road. It lessened to 2 in 1970 with the merger that created the Burlington Northern. And then just 1 in the 1980s when Milwaukee Road finally gave up the ghost and the abandoned the branch line that went right by my house and workplace. Northern Pacific's and Great Northern's main lines cut through downtown on their way west. The GN's mainline veered northwest as it exited the edge of downtown. They main yard was placed out there a little south and west of NDSU. It is still in use by BNSF, although not quite as busy.
Below are some photos taken from the 12th Avenue bridge back in May as I was returning from a stint volunteering for Fargo Marathon. The bridge provides an excellent view of the yard.
I am going to guess the hoppers below are for maintenance of way work. It is pretty rare these days to see a hopper which is not part of a unit train in Fargo.
Hopper Hang Out
There was a large lash up of diesel power which is either long term storage or potentially en route to other owners. No engine maintenance facilities in Fargo. There is one up in Grand Forks. These engines have been sitting there for quite some time.

Long Line of Power
Finally a indication that there may have been some sort of maintenance in Fargo long ago. To me it appears to be a the footings for a roundhouse. More than likely for steam. I do not recall that there are many buildings around the yard. There are a few small sheds or equipment buildings on the south side.
Building Footprint
Here is a link to a map of the Fargo yard with entrances and exits as it was in 1970. The footprint above indeed is from an engine house.

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