March 4

Iowa's been enjoying record warm weather this year, and we had a forecast of clear skies and temperatures near 70 for Saturday. On Friday I called Drew Cannon, a friend from RITS activities, to see if he'd like to do some train-chasing on Saturday and he readily agreed.

I picked Drew up at 8:30 and we headed over to Short Line Yard. We began the day by driving into the yard for some pictures. We spotted some new Cargill hoppers at the west end of the yard. Drew's a freightcar fan and used his long lens to get a closeup of the hopper from his vantage point near the "Sugar Shack" while I walked over for a picture of grimey SP 8245 at the diesel service area.

To the east, we spotted a Diesel Supply Co. freshly-painted switcher marked for Potlatch Corp., McGehee Arkansas. The switcher was lettered "Spirit of Arkansas, Cypress Bend Facility". We next drove on up to the Hull Avenue yard where CNW 4633 and UP 2225 posed for their picture in front of the yard office.

A couple of trains were getting ready to leave Short Line, but Drew and I opted to head north for the UP mains instead of waiting on air tests and such. We got to Nevada around 10:00, just in time to see a long stacker heading eastbound through town. I had some problems with camera and tape recorder (just wasn't prepared, I guess!) and managed to get only this closeup of the logo on the next train, a westbound manifest. There were a CNW and SP units on the point. I got a shot of the rear of the CNW unit, but I'll spare you the obscene grafitti.

We moved on east and rolled into Marshalltown around 11:00. We went first to the south side of the yard to have a look at the power parked outside Transglobal's shop. On the west side we found Paducah and Louisville 8201, 8328 and 8202. The assorted CNW units that have been out here for some time are now being parted out. Around on the east end were two interesting switchers marked ITEX 955 and 952.

At 11:17 we intercepted a CWEX load as it came under the viaduct west of the depot. On the head end were UP 7229 (really bad horns!) and UP 7165. We drove next out to the east end of the yard where CNW 4609 and UP 1682 were blocking the grade crossing.

Back at the depot just before noon we caught an easbound manifest behind UP 9492, NS 7052 and UP 3055. I got two shots, one coming under the viaduct and another as they passed the depot. We headed for Taylor's MaidRites next and missed one, an eastbound stacker at about 12:20, while we were away. Lunch was eaten beside the tracks. At 12:34 another eastbound came through. This was a coal load, solid NS except for the lead unit, UP 7213. Trailing were NS 2538 and 8542, and NS and CR hoppers, some converted to gons, it appeared.

After lunch we went to the south side of the mains west of the west viaduct. Here, at just about 1:00, we intercepted another eastbound manifest with UP 3023, 2641 and 6739 in charge. This train, the CBPR, came in on the south track in order to do some work in the yard. Drew got some pictures from atop the viaduct. We drove out to the east end and had a talk with UP John Smith while they switched and assorted trains ran around on the north track. They were still trying to get out of town almost an hour later. This gave me an opportunity to get a good shot of the middle unit, an aging GE.

At 2:00 an empty NORX coal train came by on the north track, but our view was blocked by the CBPR. At 2:30 a westbound manifest came by with UP 2998 and MKCX 9043. Our next train was another westbounder, a CWEX coal empty behind UP 7002 and 7258. By this time the BYDM had rolled to a stop east of the yard on the south main and was waiting to work the yard. This train was pulled by UP 9596, 3796 and 3349.

At 3:00, yet another westbound manifest came though, passing the BYDM on the north track. On the point were UP 7232 and 6114. We went back by the depot and caught a westbound stacker, powered by UP 9456, 6303 and 9680, at 3:17. Drew and I left town around 3:30, pacing an empty grain train westward toward Nevada. They slowed considerably just before entering town, so we had time to get a picture of them on the bridge over the Spine Line. We stopped at the highway bridge south of Kansas City Junction and watched an eastbound manifest and the grain train again before heading south for Des Moines.

We made one quick stop around 5:00 at the south end of Hull Avenue Yard to catch another grain empty doing a crew change. This train was powered by UP 4819, SP 8200 and UP 3623.

That's It!