Keokuk and Fort Madison

March 13 and 14


To wrap up my spring break, Susan and I headed down to the southeast corner of the state to attend an auction at a school where she used to teach.  We left early Saturday morning, went directly to the school and spent much of a cool and cloudy day watching the sale.  In the afternoon Susan met up with an old friend to practice a duet that they would sing in church the next day.  While they were practicing, I went down to the yard near the Keokuk Jct. railroad office and have a look around.

There were several interesting old locos on a stub track in front of the railroad office.  Three F-units from the Algoma Central, marked PREX 1752, 1754 and 1750 were parked behind a couple of ex-CN Geeps, 4101 and 7002.

Further west in the yard I saw an old Santa Fe GP-20 3048, BNSF 2922 and PREX switcher 1500.  There were numerous rebuilt GP-20's in the yard, including 2018, 2053, 2050, 2057, 2054, 2047, 2017 and 3023.  Also, an Alco unit could be seen buried deep in the yard.

On the radio I could hear a coal train being spotted up the line a few miles.  Susan and I followed the river road back to Fort Madison late in the afternoon and saw one of the units from this train, BNSF 9520.

We stayed at the Kingsley Inn in Fort Madison, a fine place for railfans with plenty of intermodal traffic right outside the windows.  Before returning to Keokuk for church Sunday morning, we stopped at the Amtrak depot and stuck around long enough to watch an eastbound pig train pull up for a crew change.  They pulled again at 7:44.  The intermodal had lots of power, BNSF 4854, 4546, cabless 345 and 4470.

We were back at the Santa Fe facility again early in the afternoon.  The BNSF personnel were moving some power around and ran BNSF 4361 and 1065 by us while we waited for an eastbound to make a crew change.  At 1:10 this intermodal started toward us behind BNSF 5224, 4104, 5193 and 4729.  We watched them from the river side of the rails until they were clear and then started toward home.

Along Hwy. 34 west of Lockridge we spotted an eastbound manifest.  I turned onto the old highway, drove ahead of the train to an abandoned overpass and caught them just after 3:00.  In the lead was BNSF (the stenciled number board makes me wonder if this was FURX?) 7006, NS 8636, BNSF 7502 (another cabless unit today) and BNSF 8718.  I got one more shot of the power as they took the high green on the way into Lockridge.

Between Ottumwa and Albia we heard a warrant being given to a coal empty leaving the "ISU" switch near Chillicothe.  I had Susan drive into Albia and we parked near the west end of the yard at about 4:30.  While we waited on the empty, I took some pictures of the helpers, FURX 7254 and BNSF 7026.  The OGSX train arrived at 4:50 and came by the helpers and spreader with BNSF 5668 and 8924 in the lead.  These trains usually run distributed power when eastbound to the electric plant.  After they went down the hill we continued our trip north out of Albia toward Susan's acreage.

That's It!