Quantcast

Coal Train (Soultrane?)

Parked (?) train blocks view of Lake Superior

Parked (?) train blocks view of Lake Superior from http://duluthdailyphoto.vox.com/

I thought this was intended as a temporary winter seawall.

But Duluth Daily photo (above) and later the Duluth News Tribune had some good coverage of this that straightened me out, apparently these coal cars are just being stored on those tracks, even though they do sit in a storm prone spot. Now, DNT’s Brandon Stahl writes that the train will be moved to Leif Ericson Park. This is a good PR move on the part of The Lake Superior RR in my opinion simply because it will dampen any negative public will over the issue. Although as an often-time food vendor in Leif Ericson Park I can almost guarantee the Buehler is gonna have his hands full keeping unwanted folks away from the cars, and I bet they’ll finish the winter with a few extra coats of paint, too.

But … like I said I thought it was a seawall. There’s a great very detailed blog account of it all here by (I think) MN DOT’s John Bray here But to summarize, when the highway was designed by federal engineers in the 60s and 70s they had originally planned to build a seawall along the entire length of the highway that runs along the lake shore. Including where those rail cars are now. Notice how upset folks are about a few football field lengths of obstructed view for a few months in winter. Imagine, what if the obstructed view was permanent, and for a much longer stretch of lake front as originally planned?

Thankfully, preservationists intervened and fought hard to ensure that wouldn’t happen and instead we ended up with an award-winning and elegant but much more expensive tunnel and bridge system on I-35. Thanks to visionary local architect Kent Worley we also got a new award winning park Lake Place (one-time home of my alter ego ). Obviously, we also saved our amazing rose garden and added the lakewalk. Those two amenities alone contribute immeasurably to the quality of life in this town. All of these things are good for the economy, too, naturally, so this altered plan turned out to be an excellent $ investment in addition to the environmental and aesthetic value of it.

Why do I write all this? If you happen to drive by those rail cars sometime in the next few weeks just imagine three or four miles of obstructed views that we would have had if local people had not ORGANIZED, FOUGHT (nonviolently) and VOICED their opinions until something changed. So, yes, I’m on my soap box and I’ll get off in a second, but I believe this is a great lesson for us all today. And that’s what I mean by Soultrane … that and it made a catchy rhyme/cultural reference

29 Comments

mevdev

about 10 years ago

My advice to those that are angry their view is lost: Get over yourself! You can see the Lake from pretty much anywhere.


Oh trains, how can so many people love and hate you.

DuluthDailyPhoto

about 10 years ago

Hi Wildgoose,
Thanks for the link.

Yes, it was spoiling the view, but I also wonder about the issue of unwanted visitors to the cars when it is in Leif Erikson Park.

We do need to protect our view (s).
I am a little disappointed by the big parking ramp now going up by the DECC because it changes the skyline looking both from the city and from the Lake.

davids

about 10 years ago

Nice post--appreciate the combination of local knowledge, history, exhortation to being civically engaged, etc....Thanks!

jr

about 10 years ago

This is news?

TimK

about 10 years ago

The original freeway plan (pre-tunnel concept) also called for the demolition of most buildings on Michigan St. and all of the lower side of Superior St. between 5th Ave. W. and 10th Ave. E. You can thank the beloved painter John Peyton, the not-so-beloved Dr. Ringsred and the rest of the Stop the Freeway group. I might even have one of their posters somewhere....

the REAL Sinatra

about 10 years ago

Ken Beuhler, man of action, should really think twice about how to get people to like trains...parking one in front of a treasured lake view and scenic pay off for driving here from the cities doesn't really make sense. The claim that the trains will roll free if parked else where is odd, dont they have clamps or wheel arrests?...also..last time I looked wasn't there a TRAIN YARD out by goodwill?

wildgoose

about 10 years ago

Thanks for the background TimK, I knew about Dr. Ringsred's connection but not the painter. As far as I can tell there were a few leaders, but hundreds, maybe thousands of people who banded together to change the original plan.  That's how you do it.

udarnik

about 10 years ago

Real Sinatra, that's the BNSF trainyard.  The cars belong to Detroit Edison and Wisconsin Public Service.  LSRR probably has much better rates than BNSF for car storage.

Frankly, I thought the whole outcry over a seven-second view of the lake from scenic I-35 a bit much.

Jeff

about 10 years ago

Didn't block my view at all... :o)  Ride your bike, have the best commute every day!

vicarious

about 10 years ago

(whispered dread) 

The horror. Oh God, the horror...of the train cars.

Shane

about 10 years ago

I actually find that the train cars provide a nice blocking of the view of the freeway when running on the Lakewalk, as well as a bit of an extra windbreak during the cold winter months.

Johnny Rotten

about 10 years ago

I live on South Street right above where these rusty things sit.  Thank you Ken for moving them as they were blocking the view out my front window.  Those who say, "hey, watch the road or what is the big deal" need to think about how it would feel if these were parked in front of your house.  There is a neighborhood down here and families who enjoy our view of the lake.

Nature Boy

about 10 years ago

Don't thank Beuhler, thank a citizen who asked a question and voiced an opinion. When Beuhler was first asked to move them he replied to my friend that he couldnt' and then said "tough." My friend did not respond well to being told that by a person who owes his employment to the generous people of Duluth, so he went around the obstacle and found a solution. And enough of the "get over it crap," we live here because we like to look at pretty things, Lake Superior among them. If you enjoy the view of a line of train cars, the BNSF trainyard mentioned above has all you could want.

E.

about 10 years ago

Yeah, Buehler is just a big fat jerk for assuming that public safety is more important than a small swath of our precious view being blocked temporarily. 

He is also a jerk for finding a way for the Lake Superior RR to make some of its own money instead of standing in line for a taxpayer funded City hand-out.

What will he do next? Probably chock the wheels of each train car with frozen kitten carcasses plucked from the back of the Olive Garden. Jerk.

the REAL Sinatra

about 10 years ago

I know Beuhler ... he is not a jerk ... he looks real good (almost too good) in lederhosen...he's tops in my book b/c he's an advocate for the NLX. He's so cool that Tangier 57 has a whole song dedicated to him(Ken Beuhler, Man of Action). He's trying to do good but sometimes, "actions" need to be re-thought. I'm glad he's movin' the trains to a less scenic spot.

wildgoose

about 10 years ago

Can we lay off the thumbs up, thumbs down on Buehler? Character assassination of quasi[public figures is not my gig at all.  

I'm pretty sure he's a nice guy and in addition to all this train stuff, he's got a great voice.  I remember him well as the straight man/news guy for Michaels in the Morning on KZIO in the 80s.

E.

about 10 years ago

Its called sarcasm folks. I think Buehler is in the right and the public is whiney. Or was that a "thumbs up"? I guess I am a jerk.

DuluthDailyPhoto

about 10 years ago

Thank you Wild Goose.
Sarcasm is mean and a good way to lose friends and not influence people.

Swan

about 10 years ago

Who's got the spray paint? Bomb tag them all!

The Big E

about 10 years ago

E, thanks for filling everybody in.

wildgoose

about 10 years ago

E. allow me to partially come to your rescue here.  I got the sarcasm the first time and I found it amusing.  So it was edgy but it did work for me personally. I hate that feeling when I post something online and it falls flat or misses or comes off mean-spirited. So ... yeah I got it.  But ... DuluthDailyPhoto is right, too.  Sarcasm has a big downside.  I should know I use it all the time.  And that is what I was getting at.  

I do like Ken Buehler and all he's done for the community and the rail work he is promoting I find very tantalizing and exciting.  That was my original point, in fact. Not about Ken Buehler but about some people stood up for dreams and ideals and brought them to life ...

DuluthDailyPhoto

about 10 years ago

There is a story on MPR radio right now about trains parked in other cities.
http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2009/12/15/parked-rail-cars/

There are now 451,000 parked railcars around the nation.


Lakeville, Minn. — Due to the bad economy, about 300 empty rail cars parked on the tracks around parts of suburban Lakeville, and it's a scene that's become familiar in cities and towns around the country.
Read more here
http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2009/12/15/parked-rail-cars/

hbh

about 10 years ago

Thanks for posting that DDP. I think that's what bothers me about these complaints over the view. The railcars are there because we are in a huge recession. And so there are massive amounts of railcars idle across the country. To have people complain that their view of the lake is interrupted (in a town that was *made* by the railroads) seems myopic and a bit selfish in light of the fact that it's a potent symbol of People Out of Work. Whether or not it's true, it sounds (to me) not so different from when the rich complain about having to have their eyesight inflicted with homeless beggars. Heaven forfend having to see the results of the bankers' greed.

DuluthDailyPhoto

about 10 years ago

Hi bhh,
I thought about that too, but really it isn't the very rich whose view is being obstructed. I doubt most of the people living in the neighborhood are high income. And everyone drives on that part of the freeway...not just the rich.....so it is a mixed bag. 

It is frustrating when you enjoy a something and it is changed. 

It is symbolic of what is going on in our nation.  I heard that parking these cars was worth $200,000 to the Lake Superior Railway.

Jude

about 10 years ago

All political interests aside, when we are in such a deep recession we go to little pleasures~~~and if they are free so much the better.  Like our lake views. Don't spoil this for us if there are other options, IMHO.

Bruce

about 10 years ago

Why not move em up the shore in the "wooded" areas or some place besides the lake front?

Looks like crap!

DuluthDailyPhoto

about 10 years ago

I think they would be less likely to be vandalized up north, than right inside of the city limits.

zra

about 10 years ago

@ Bruce: there's a bridge out father up the line. So here they sit.

Leave a Comment

Only registered members can post a comment , Login / Register Here

Read previous post:
Sledding Spots In Duluth

Can anyone recommend a good spot to take the kids?

Close