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The crater that tunnel 11.1 opens into is made up entirely of high basalt (lava) column cliffs. This photo was taken by photographer Dave "Smart Guy" Corsi. His photo feature can be seen in the archives section of this magazine. Here we see a BNSF intermodal with a cut of Boeing cars on the head end. This is the same train seen in the coulee below a few pages back.
As I said earlier, this crater was created during volcanic eruptions but was also the drop basin of a tremendous post ice age waterfall. Under the pair of stacked white containers if you look closely, you can see a torent of white water falling from a culvert under the tracks and dispersing into the lava detritus. This is drainage from the small lakes up the coulee.

These two photos show a westbound container train descending into the crater from the rock cut that leads out to the plateau.


The crater is a great place to get shots of trains running along high basalt cliffs. The main high cliff in fact, is so steep that it overhangs the tracks. This eastbound mixed freight exited the tunnel 1000 feet ago and is now about to roar into the dark confines of the long deep cut that gives passage from the crater into the shallow coulee that climbs up to Quincy. The shot is taken from the cliff above the little culvert waterfall in the photo above.
Early morning summer sun greets a domestic stack train as it roars up through the long cut from the crater. It will soon hit the slightly steeper grade that winds up the last mile to top out at Quincy. The grade through that stretch curves past two small lakes in the shallow coulee.
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Copyright 2001
Iron Horse America
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