Assorted March and April Train Spottings
Saturday, April 7 to Marshalltown.
Friday, March 23 - Pleasantville
On the way home Friday evening, I caught the BNSF backing a ballast train to the east out of the Pleasantville
siding onto the Des Moines branch. The cars, all brand new BNSF ones,
apparently employ some sort of solar power.
The work train power included BNSF 2229,
2514 and 2846, all
ex-Santa Fe units.
Saturday, March 24 - RITS Meet in Cedar Falls
Susan and I drove to Cedar Falls on a rainy Saturday morning for the Rock
Island Technical Society's 14th annual meeting in that city. Parked
near the meet, in front of what was once the Rock Island depot, were two
12" to the foot examples of work by Rock Island enthusiasts. Dan Sabin
brought IANR 678, complete with a RI nose herald, and Timm Grimm drove his replica
of his grandfather's high-rail work truck, RI 73079.
Saturday, April 7 - Excursion to Marshalltown
Byron and family came over Friday evening and we took care of grandson Blake
while Byron and his wife went out for an anniversary dinner. Byron
and Blake stayed over and on Saturday Byron and I got in some train chasing
while grandma Susan entertained Blake.
We left around 7:15, with a mostly clear sky, and a stiff north breeze at
19 degrees. We went to Des Moines first and checked around Short Line,
ending up at Hull Avenue to intercept the M-MCDM
at 8:15 as it came in on the old Ft. Dodge line. Leading the freight
train were UP 3263, a long-nosed
unit, UP 3671 and UP 3305.
We watched them pull into the Hull Ave.
yard area and waited on another southbound that we knew was coming. The
second train arrived just before 9:00 and pulled up where we could only see
the first couple of units, UP 3036 and 3035.
We headed north on I-35, keeping pace with a northbound that turned out to
be the M-DMDM Marshalltown turn. At Nevada around 10:00, we watched
a freight with UP 6404,
7020, 7032 and 5653 leave the siding and head for Chicago Jct.
Traveling east on old Hwy. 30, we found the DMDM standing on Main 2 west
of Clear Creek at 10:25. We went to the grade crossing east of the
crossovers and waited, assuming that the DMDM was waiting to get over onto
Main 1. It was 10:45 before westbound light power,
UP 6472, 6348 and 7117, came through. Shortly
after they cleared, the DMDM started east, staying
on Main 2. Leading the "DumDum" today were UP
2979, 3072 and 3071.
We drove on over to Marshalltown, got our Maidrites for lunch and parked
by the tracks. While we were eating, a couple of trains came through.
At 11:42 we had a coal load powered by UP 5717 and 8076. In
just five minutes there was a westbound stack train with UP 4732, 5134, 8533 and 7652, the last two in fresh
paint. Interestingly, all the trains today seemed to be running right
handed instead of using the old C&NW practice.
At the east end of the Marshalltown yard, the grade crossing has been modified in an attempt to prevent driving around
the gates. Even the sidewalk has had a short
maze added to discourage bicyclists from speeding through.
We started back west behind the DMDM, which had apparently crossed over at
West Marshall to Main 1, stopping for two eastbounds on either side of Lamoille.
At 12:52 we caught another coal load, CWEX
cars with UP 5745 and UP 5898. At 1:00 we
saw a freight with mixed power and a friendly engineer, behind UP
4841, KCS 4009 and BNSF 9629.
Around 1:20 we intercepted the DMDM, a short train
eastbound but now with 120 cars, approaching Clear Creek. Waiting west
of the crossovers was a pig train that went over
onto the north track after the DMDM cleared. The intermodal had UP 8476 and 9332 on the point.
We learned from the radio that the DMDM and another southbound would be waiting
a Cambridge for a northbound, so we went to the first grade crossing south
of the Cambridge siding. At 2:20 the northbound arrived with UP 2859 and 3382. The
first south bound train, leading the DMDM, had UP 5465, 3596, 9063 and 9028. At 2:40 the DMDM came up the hill out of the siding, passed us and rolled off to the southwest.