Short Line and Spine Line
April 4, 1998


Jan and I set out for Hobby Haven in Des Moines on a beautiful, sunny spring morning. We drove through Carlisle and up to the east end of Short Line Yard, getting there in time to see a northbound pulling into the yard with the head end just under the E. 30th Street viaduct. CNW 4612 was doing the switching (Job 2) at the east end of the yard.

We drove down to the junction, to find some power being turned, at 9:40. UP 3040, 3315 and 6133 ran out of the yard on the southeast leg, rolled north across the diamond and then backed into the yard and onto their train. Job 1, working the west end of the yard, had UP 2312 and something blue.

At 10:00, a grain train came south across the junction behind CSX 7718, UP 4462 and 3523. After checking out this train, we went out to the west side of town to visit the hobby shop. After stocking up on paint, glue and some structure kits, we headed back out to Short Line.

We arrived at 11:15, just in time to see the power we'd watch turn earlier bring a northbound mixed manifest out of the yard. Another northbound, the MKSIT, had changed crews and was waiting at the BN diamond to go north. They came over the Easton Boulevard crossing at 11:50 with UP 698, an old Amtrak unit, 347, and UP 3910.

We started back in the direction of Indianola, following the Spine Line back down to Carlisle. The UP has put a new detector on the line just a couple of miles south of Carlisle, at MP 61.6. I'd heard it's distinctive female-voiced announcement on the scanner at home, but hadn't figured out just where it was located. Just after we arrived, it announced another train.

This turned out to be an empty grain train, with SP 5513, CNW 6824, UP 6146 and SP 9353 in charge. They were by us at 12:40. We started on down the road to home again but, about 2 miles south of Carlisle, the new detector came on once more. We drove back to the crossing to watch a manifest, with a block of empty grain hoppers on the head end, pulled by UP 3360, SP 8506, and UP 906. Both of these trains moved pretty slowly, since there was signal trouble and they had to be talked by the switches at both ends of the Carlisle siding. It's interesting seeing these "tunnel motors" running around out here in the flatlands.

That's It!