After a quick but scenic roundtrip to Audubon in the morning, I was joined by George Durbala for some train-watching around Short Line Junction in Des Moines. George and I found a train waiting when we reached the junction around 1:15. The "Interstate Tramp", with IAIS 407, was stopped just east of the diamond ready to head back downtown.
When I was driving to Des Moines I'd heard radio conversations indicating that a northbound UP train was nearing Carlisle, so we went down to the BN diamond for the crew change. The train was waiting south of the crossing when we arrived at 1:34 and was rolling again with a fresh crew at 1:45. On the point of the manifest (KSIT, I believe) were UP 6820 and 8043.
Our next encounter was with the regular eastbound IAIS train. We spotted it headed our way as we crossed the NS yard at East 18th street. They charged across the NS and past us at 1:52. Leading the train were IAIS 103, 602 and (still in ICG colors) 466.
George and I were having pretty good luck this afternoon! We cruised through Short Line Yard to check out the power parked there. Behind the old yard office were three units, UP 6996, NS 8534 and an ex-CR unit renumbered 3612 (for NS?). At the fuel and sand tracks were WC 6533 and UP units 8207 and 3037.
We next drove down to southeast Des Moines to check out the rearranged tracks used by the BNSF to do NS business. At the NS's "Glake" yard we found BNSF 2556 and BN 8091 on one leg of the wye, and BNSF 4231 parked in front of the yard office.
After we checked out Carlisle and were headed back north we heard a detector on the "Spine Line" announce another train, so we went to the north end of Avon to wait for it to pass. This turned out to be a grain empty pulled by UP 3443 and SP 9731. They were by us at 3:06.
From the radio we learned that there was to be a southbound grain extra as soon as the above train made it into Short Line Yard, so we took up a position in the snow drifts at Market Street and waited. They arrived at 3:45 with UP 8099, UP 8129 and SP 8646 in charge.
I had an evening appointment back in Indianola, so after this last train I dropped George off and headed back home.
On Thursday morning, Aaron and I headed down early in the morning to see if anything were visible or accessable for pictures. We arrived at 8:00 to find a work train of ballast and panel rail at Shannon (manual crossovers near Lucas) just starting to back down Main 1 toward the wreck site. Power on the work train were BNSF 9798 and 8912.
As we drove west toward the wreck site, we heard the work train told to get back into the clear on Main 2 so that a westbound "Z" train could be run past the site on "skeletonized track". We took a tour around the site on county roads, checking out all the Hulcher trucks, but found the engines from the wreck just barely visible through the trees from about 1/2 mile away.
Aaron and I drove back to Lucas to await the Z train. They were running around parked trains on the north track and came down Whitebreast Hill on Main 2 just after 9:00 and slowed for their crossover move to Main 1. Power on the intermodal was BNSF 8230, 9263 and 8220. The work train had backed west into the clear and a switch tender at Shannon already had the high-priority train lined for the crossover move.
Since this was the only train we had, Aaron and I went to the wooden bridge leading into Stephens Forest for some more pictures as they came around the curve and headed west to the wreck site, about four miles away.
Before going home, we drove up into Chariton for a quick pit stop at Casey's and then went out to the east end of town where we found a coal empty, with a crew aboard, waiting on the cleanup work. The time was 9:45 and we heard the crew told on the radio to expect to wait until "1400". On the point were BNSF 9790 and BN 9452. 9452 had a little paint problem above the prime mover.