The Faribault and Central Minnesota (F&CM) is a shortline / branchline / bridge route running through the heartland of Central Minnesota with it's main base of operations in Faribault. Essentially, the line runs from the Twin Cities (Union Yard, Minneapolis and the Minnesota Transfer) southward into Faribault where is splits off to either Red Wing, Mankato, or Albert Lea.
F&CM ALCO C-424 #210 creeps across the grade crossing going into Tri-County Wood Products with its air horn blasting. CNW ALCO #402 sneaks into Faribault behind Tri-County. The two trains will swap traffic and head back to their respective yards for classification.
Chicago Northwestern ALCO C-424 #402 pauses at the Faribault Depot to get orders for its run back to Randolph, MN, with a short transfer.
Big industry abounds on the F&CM. This is a long view of Koppert Plastics in Faribault. They produce those beloved "plastic peanuts" for the packaging industry. The building is mainly a Walther's kit (kitbashed) with loads of rooftop details added, a smaller building (background) is built from of DPM modular packs and the green tower is scratchbuilt.
Interchange with the major railroads is very important on the F&CM. Without interchange, where else would all the traffic that keeps the railroad going come from???? This is Shakopee, MN, where the F&CM interchanges with Bill McKean's Lakeland Western. Here we note the LW switcher and caboose patiently waiting on the mainline for the F&CM local crew to cross the diamond. The interchange track is the line of rolling stock just behind the depot.