Urbandale and Beech

February 21, 26 and 27

Great Midwestern Division Meet, Urbandale

On this sunny Saturday morning I headed for Des Moines and a model railroad meet in Urbandale.  I came into the southeast side of the city first and stopped at 8:30 on Maury Avenue where a northbound UP train was waiting south of the "BN" crossing for room to get into Short Line Yard.  They started forward again at 9:00.  On the point were UP 6659 and SP 319.  After the train crossed Maury, I continued on out to the meet.

Modelers and fans had already gathered in the gym at St. Pius' Parish Center.  The activities were conducted in a somewhat smaller area than last year, and the silent auction seemed particularly crowded.  Clinics on weathering, kitbashing and treemaking were conducted next door to the auction.  Modeling and photography constests were in a dark corner of the gym.  I entered a couple of black and white pictures and got first and third places.

In addition to the vendors, RITS had its display set up and there were two small working layouts.  One was a regular N-Trak outfit, the other a new standard popular in Japan called T-Trak.

I stuck around until the last of the door prizes were given away and the contest awards presented.  There were just a handful of us left at that point.  John Averill, who did the tree clinic, announced that he wasn't sure there'd be another Great Midwestern Meet, since very few people were willing to do the work to put the meet on, although attendance seemed to still be pretty good, around 250 persons showed up Saturday.

After the meet there were several home layouts and one club layout open.  My plan was to pick up Susan and head back to Des Moines for the RITS meeting later in the evening.  One of the layouts was close to my line of travel, that of Paul Proska in Pleasant Hill.  Paul's layout is based on the NS/BNSF branch line from Albia up to Des Moines, and the Des Moines end of the line is mostly underconstruction.  Paul did have a nice start on the Younkers warehouse, today known as Brown-Camp Lofts.

Two Beech Encounters

Thursday, February 26

On my commute this evening, I stopped to watch a grain empty approach the south end of the siding at Beech.  After pulling slowly under the bridge from which I watched, the train had to stop and put itself into the siding.  The train was powered by three units, UP 4292, 1841 and 8522.  It was just after 6:00 when the switch was thrown and the train pulled ahead and into the siding.  The conductor stayed behind to lock them in.  I offered him a ride to the head end and he thanked me but said he'd walk tonight.

Friday February 27

On this evening I got to Beech just before 5:00, in time to catch a southbound as it came around the corner north of town.  This evening's train was a manifest, powered by UP 7303 and 7305.  They were to head down the main at the north end of the siding, but had to stop at the south end because the switch there was lined against them.  The north switch (CP U053) is remotely-controlled and marks the end of CTC out of Des Moines.  The south end of the siding is still manual.

I drove back down to Hwy. 92, east under the railroad and south to my wooden bridge observation point at the south end of the siding.  The train came very slowly down to the siding switch and stopped to let the conductor drop off and line the switch for the main.  After he was back aboard, they proceded southward at about 5:15.  I got a couple of shots as they went under the bridge and rounded the corner on their way to Kanas City.

That's It!