Osceola and Creston
Byron and Tammy came over from Audubon on Friday evening to stay for the weekend. Byron and I had planned a day of train watching for Saturday. The weather was kind of "iffy", 28 and cloudy with a south breeze, certainly not a photographer's dream day, but we headed out for Osceola around 8:00. I'd checked on the Amtrak web site and heard on the scanner that the Zephyr was pretty close to on-time today.
The first thing we spotted in Osceola was some work equipment parked on the old branch line north of the depot, which included crane BN 975049 and BN caboose 10165.
There was a pretty good crowd inside the depot. Pat Green told us that they had 18 persons to board today. We heard No. 6 report out of Creston at 8:53, and the lead unit rolled by the Osceola depot at 9:22. They made pretty quick work of loading passengers and cleared the depot again at 9:29. In the CZ today:
GEnesis units 47 and 6
Transition Sleeper 39042
Sleepers 32064 and 32001
Sightseer Lounge 33039
Coaches 31500 (Smoking), 34054 and 34002
Boxcars 71136, 70036, 71032, 71064 and 70032
Four Road/Rail-type cars
Byron handled the tape recorder while I took some pixtures. They had quite a bit of freight today. This is the first time I've seen the road-rail outfits on the CZ. The station agent, "J.R.", said that they've been running these regularly lately.
Earlier, Byron and I had heard that the first westbounder was just out of Burlington and had also heard an eastbound train report out of Creston just after the CZ left, so we drove over to Murray, Iowa, to intercept the eastbound. This train turned out to be a manifest, arriving in Murray right at 10:00. On the point were BNSF 4355 and 4979. Nice clear stacks - GE's really cleaned up its act!
We heard another train report out and waited for it at Afton. From the bleeps on the EOT channel we could tell this would be a DP train - they have a different sound to them. This was a coal load with BN and COLX cars. The lead unit, BNSF 9987 came by the elevator at 10:25, followed a couple of minutes later (seemed longer standing out in the wind!) by BNSF 9815 on the rear.
We got to the east end of the Creston yard about 10:35. A pair of orange things, 4909 and 4618, were just being put on one cut of a grain train and a crew loaded. On the next track to the north sat BN 2337 and BNSF 2972. There was a new loco in town, over at the elevator by the east end of the yard. This appeared to be a Transglobal rebuild, TRGX 376.
Sitting near Creston's old roundhouse location was BN 2362.
Later in the afternoon, with some cars moved out of the way, I got a picture of BN 2352, BNSF 2749 and caboose 12526 at the southwest end of the yard.
The grain train was doubled together and got out of town at 11:20. The Thayer detector reported them at 444 axles. With them out of the way we went back for a picture of 2337 and 2972, switching at the east end of the yard.
Westbounds were stacking up east of town and finally started arriving just after 1:00. First in, at 1:08, was a long AEPX empty (520 axles) behind BNSF 8873 and 9782. They came in pretty hot and made an abrupt (and loud) stop for their crew change. Following at 1:22 were high mileage MAC's BN 9534 and 9465 with IPWX empties.
As crews changed and trains pulled west, more entered from the east end. At 1:54 a train led by two CSX units arrived. On the point were 7582 and 30.
From the scanner we learned of an eastbound that these trains were meeting west of Creston, so we went back to the west end of the yard for its arrival at 2:25. This was a CWEX load behind BN 9571 and BNSF 9971. They met the CSX train at the depot.
We drove back to the east end for the next empty which rolled in at 2:36. BNSF 8856 and 9820 were pulling JE hoppers. We'd concluded from radio conversations that this was the last of a set of four, so we headed back toward Osceola. However, just outside town, I spotted another train waiting to get into the yard, and parked at "Bullock's" crossing. We drove down the gravel and got a picture of it before leaving. Power was BNSF 8928 and nice, clean, green BN 7215, with GEAX gons.
Eastbound 9571 had made a crew change and pulled by now. We overtook them as they pulled up the hill at Thayer and stopped in Osceola for another picture or two at 3:30. We had a heavy overcast by now, and the Oly was flashing the "Low Light" LED at me. I got pictures of 9571 approaching and blasting by the Osceola crossover before we headed north for a spaghetti dinner prepared by Tammy and Sarah.
A special Thank You to all who've sent us such nice, supportive emails lately - it's good to be back trackside!