This is a description of a short train-watching excursion taken from Indianola to Nevada and back, between 2:30 and 6:30 pm. The "photos" were taken with an Apple QuickTake camera, and processed with the programs PhotoFlash and GIFConverter. (Bandwidth Warning - the pictures are about 140K in size.)
On the way to the Chicago and Northwestern's Kansas City / Chicago Junction, we stopped to catch a meet in the siding at Cambridge. The northbound DMITA, with the 6809 and 7008 on the point, was already in the siding, and was followed in by 6921 and 7010, running light from Des Moines to Boone. They were met by a southbound stack train, led by 8001 and UP 9288.
Near the highway overpass, I acquired my first two insulators. One seems to be black plastic with no identification and the other is a brown-glazed ceramic one with an oval with the letter "B" (or possibly an "8") in it. We caught up with the DMITA at Chicago junction south, as it headed across the south side of Nevada to cross under the E/W mains and go north to Itasca, Minnesota.
We next drove to an elevator at the east end of Ames yard, just west of Kansas City junction. We waited there for several coal trains to pass, both loads and empties. The first was an empty, pulled by a single unit, 8519. In a few minutes, a load arrived, pulled past the elevator by 8506 and 8553. Another empty, with 8516 and 8562, and then another load pulled by 8647 and 8569 came by before the dispatcher finally found time for the light engines we'd seen at Cambridge to come out onto the westbound main and head for Boone.
As the sky darkened and it began to sprinkle, the reflective stripes on the engines began to pick up the light from the flash on the QuickTake camera. We went back into Nevada and caught a westbound manifest behind 8724, 8739, 8546 and 8545.
On the scanner, we heard a warrant given by the Spine dispatcher to a northbound leaving Des Moines. Since it was time to start back toward home, we headed back down the Spine line. Back at the spring switch at the north end of the siding at Cambridge, the rain had started to fall steadily. We waited for about 10 minutes for a northbound manifest with 6891 and 6851 on the head end to arrive, and then drove back to Indianola.