Beech Briefs

Friday March 28 and Saturday March 29



My almost daily commute between Indianola and Pleasantville has taken me past the UP's "Spine Line" siding at Beech on a regular basis.  I stated that in past tense because road construction on Hwy. 5 near Pleasantville has recently closed G-40 changing my route so that I now cross the UP rail line near Hartford.

On Friday evening around 6:00 I spotted rail cars on the bridge over Hwy. 92 and drove south on the gravel to a wooden bridge over the rails just south of the south siding switch.  A train with SOO 6013 leading a block of autoracks and some mixed freight was in the siding.

The next morning on the way to Indianola, I could hear on my scanner warrants being read to several trains.  It sounded like a pair of southbounds was to meet one north at Beech.  I got to Beech at 6:45 and went back to the bridge where I found a southbound manifest stopping on the main.  Ten minutes later the opposing northbound, a grain empty with SP 129 and UP 7207, rolled under the bridge and took the siding.  (The noticeably poorer than normal picture quality here is because I was using my backup camera which does not do well in low light situations.)

I drove back to Hwy. 92 in time to see the power cross the highway and then went to the first grade crossing north of Beech to await the second of the two southbounds.  I knew this train wasn't far away because I'd already heard the detector between Carlisle and Hartford (MP 61.6) announce its approach.

At 7:05 the trailing southbounder approached and slowed as it neared the siding.  This was another manifest, powered by UP 4355, 6066 and a couple of repainted SP tunnel motors, UP 2941 and 2885.  Apparently in the SP tradition, the UP's keeping 2941 good and dirty.

I waited at the grade crossing for the northbound to come out of the siding.  In a few minutes, SP 129 poked its nose out of the trees and rolled across the grade crossing toward Des Moines' Short Line Yard.  The UP's doing some improvements in grade crossing protection here as part of a paving project on Warren Co. road S-31.  This road would have made a short detour between Highways 5 and 92, but the county and the state projects coincided and S-31 is now closed as well.

That's It!