A Visit to Boone on the C&NW


This is a brief account of a train-watching excursion taken to Boone, Iowa on April 1, 1995. The "photos" were taken with an Apple QuickTake camera, and processed with the program PhotoFlash into JPEG images. A list of most of the trains seen during the day appears below, just to give you an idea of the amount of traffic on the CNW mains.

On the way to Boone:
We left Indianola at about 8:30, and followed the Spine Line north out of Des Moines. At Cambridge, we intercepted the southbound ITDMA. At Ames, we hit Donutland and bought some gasoline. While we were so occupied, a couple of eastbounds slipped by us. We waited at the Ames depot, which is being converted into a strip mall, until a westbound stacker came by. We stayed fairly close to the mains through Ames and went west on gravel roads to Jordan, where we found a Plymouth switcher parked near an elevator.
(skip several hours)
On the way home, I stopped to take a picture of KC Junction, just west of Nevada.

In the yard:
The C&NW yard at Boone offers some interesting sights. On the way in from the east side of town, an old concrete coaling tower is plainly visible. We drove into the old roundhouse area to find that the turntable is still operational, and, although the roundhouse is gone, the stalls are being used to store maintenance of way equipment. One roundhouse track held an interesting plow. The yard office is at the west end of the yard, and is the site of almost continuous crew-change activity.
Eighteen locos were in the dead line at the south side of the Boone yard:
5537, 5513, 5509, 5507, 5500, 4527, 4344, 4483, 6544, 6633, 4162, 4184, 6567, 950, 6481, 6639, 6537, 6523

Trains at Boone:
While in Boone from 11:00 to 3:00, we saw around 15 C&NW trains, headed by both CNW and UP power. Images of a few of them are available from the list below:

The High Bridge:
Just west of Boone, the C&NW crosses the Des Moines river valley on a high double-track bridge. We grabbed some take-out and drove out into the valley to watch trains cross the bridge. The first was the 6918 West. After it passed, I walked down the gravel road under the bridge and took a picture looking back toward Boone. We then moved up to the top of the hill southwest of the bridge and watched one more train, the 8606 East.

Boone and Scenic Valley RR:
Boone is home to the Boone and Scenic Valley Railroad. On the day we visited Boone, this tourist line was expecting company. A model railroad convention in Des Moines was planning a field trip to the B&SV. We checked out the B&SV depot area, where a centercab diesel was rattling away. Nearby, B&SV 2254 was parked. In the depot area, we found a former Southern Pacific observation car, B&SV 85.
Later in the day we caught a B&SV trolley out for a trip to downtown and back, complete with a flagman for the highway crossing. The B&SV trolley is the former Charles City Western Railway 50.