I heard an Avon turn, UP 7305, getting permission to take light power to Short Line, and when I got to the elevators I found an antique switcher pulling a set of cars off of a side track and shoving them into the elevator. The loco, marked "NWLX", with 7703 showing on the headlight number boards, featured external manifolds on its exhaust stacks. After they cleared the crossing and I was headed on toward Des Moines, I heard a track rider asking for some time on the rails around 8:05. But dispatcher MDG said that she was already giving "lights across Des Moines" to a CPFW train. I decided to go for it and see if I could catch them somewhere near Short Line. As it turned out, I got to the Maury St. crossing with a few minutes to spare. The signals at the BN diamond were lit for the soutbound, so I pulled up there and waited for the train, which appeared at 8:35. On the point of the manifest were UP 4147 and 3974.
The CPFW was given a warrant to move just off the end of the CTC (CP-U053) and to hold the main track at Beech. They were to meet a northbound there and another at Williamson. Meanwhile, the yardmaster had started the Eagle Grove train down toward the junction and into the yard on track 4. I drove up to the Dean Ave. crossings to wait for them. The EADM appeared at 9:00 and came by the old Inland Mills elevator. They had two units, UP 3671 and 3384.
I decided to follow the CPFW out of town, so I drove back through Avon
to Carlisle, made a quick restroom and fresh coffee stop and started east
along Hwy. 5. On the radio about 9:50 I heard the northbound they
were to meet at Beech report themselves by MP 40, basically out of Melcher.
I hustled back down S-31 and got to the abandoned bridge at the south end
of the siding just in time to get a picture of the train
waiting on the mainline. They'd already lined the switch for
the siding and at 10:00 the northbounder arrived.
This train was led by UP 2330, 9097
and 9505. They entered the siding and continued
north while the conductor threw the switch back to the mainline route.
By 10:10 the meet was accomplished and the CPFW, with 4147
and 3974, was on its way toward the next meet
In KC, Susan and I had some time to run around before meeting the "kids". Among our stops was Doc's Caboose Hobby in the West Bottoms. No helicopters, no boats, no rockets, 'cept for the Rock Island kind. Just trains, and mostly HO at that. I got that diesel with sound and a bit more.
Saturday, January 5
The girls went off by themselves in search of fabric, organic food, etc., and Stan and I walked over to the Union Station. On the elevated walkway, I caught a grain train coming through eastbound with UP 5899, 8218 and 5674. They met a track rider just as they passed the Christmas Train that KCS brings out during the season. Inside, Stan and I had a conversation with one of the volunteers tearing down the large layout of G, O and S gauge trains that is put up each Christmas, and then went in search of other sizes of trains. The station hosts HO, N and Lionel setups along with (of course) what remains of real passenger service these days.
We located the HO club setup and checked it out. This modular layout had a double-track mainline with modules that were deep enough for some real scenery. The modules included some with light "sheds" over illuminated structures, and the required (in KC) model of the famous Western Auto sign. Before we went back over the walkway, I got a shot of a streetcar displayed outside, and the beautiful nose of KCS 34. On our return trip we caught another block of covered hoppers, this time westbound with UP 5995, 6524 and SP 177 (apparently not yet renumbered by UP).