March 21, 1998

My son Byron came over on Friday evening and stayed so that we could get an early start on the Great Midwest Model RR meet in Des Moines the next day and perhaps do some train-watching as well. On Saturday morning we cruised through Short Line Yard on our way to the meet, but found things pretty quiet.

The model railroad meet was held at North High School. We checked out the model contest, the silent auction, and the vendors, who included recently-retired RITS Treasurer Dave Engle. I picked up some boxcar kits. There were a few portable layouts set up in the gym with the vendors, among them the Central Iowa Railway Club and the Racoon (sic) Valley Narrow Gauge layouts.

We decided that such a beautiful day should be spent trackside (prototype track, that is) and left the meet around 10:30 to see what we could find. We stopped by Transglobal, a loco rebuilder in Des Moines and found lots of interesting power on the property. Sitting in the snow and mud south of the shop were an unidentified frame and maroon cab numbered 2001, along with Paducah and Louisville 8328 and 8202. Another P and L unit, 8201, was north of the shop, along with CNW 6641, 6625, 6623 and 6622.

Byron and I headed north out of Des Moines along the Spine Line and intercepted a southbound UP train near White Oak at 11:15. On the point of this manifest were UP 5965, 2445, 1964, and CNW 4331.

At Nevada, stopped on the main next to the new Spine Line siding, was a northbound with UP 9029 and 2438. We'd seen this train at Short Line Yard earlier, around 8:30. We waited for a while to see if any traffic would appear, either on the Spine or on the UP east/west mains, but there was no action on either line, so we headed east toward Marshalltown.

At Marshalltown at 12:30, we found the MBVDM switching its train at the west end of the yard. On the point were UP 3040 and 3315. We got our "oil change" at Taylor's Maid-Rites and parked by the tracks. Nothing was moving. I talked to a couple of other railfans parked nearby, and they'd seen nothing but the BVDM themselves.

After cruising the town for a bit, we gave up and drove back to Nevada. We found a southbound with interesting power in the Spine Line siding. They were on the roll at 2:09, with CR 3391 and MRL 332 (in M-K colors).

The train they'd been waiting on was on the Nevada sub, stopped on the east wye of KC Junction waiting to go east. This was another manifest, with CNW 6897 and UP 2659 on the point.

We'd now been within sight of the UP mains for three hours without seeing any E/W trains! Very unusual. An eastbound stacker finally appeared in Nevada at 2:30, pulled by UP 6267, 3447 and SP 7375. After this train passed, the one on the wye did not move, so I assume some more traffic was on the way. Since we were due back in Indianola by 4:00, we headed south on I-35.

That's It!