Chariton and Albia

Thursday, April 8



Simpson had no classes on Monday after Easter, and had scheduled "Campus Day" for Wednesday, which left me with almost a week off from my two math classes.  Thursday arrived clear and cool, so I decided to go see what was rolling on the BNSF today.  After getting Susan off to work, I left the ranch around 7:20.  The HHR thermometer showed 38° this morning as I ran south toward Chariton.  (Yes, there are new wheels here.  My daily driver now is a GM stylist's notion of a modernized 1949 Chevrolet Suburban.  The Jeep is still on the property, but at 232,000 miles, it has earned a rest.)

On the drive,  I heard the dispatcher say that BNSF 4118 East was out of Creston just after 7:00, and that BNSF 8833 was at MP 349.  I arrived in Chariton at 8:00.  There was a Herzog tie train in the yard with BNSF 8947 on the east end.  I moved to a point on one of the curves in town with a good view of the mains and caught an eastbound at 8:20 with BNSF 8833 and 6100 leading DEEX and CEFX tub gons.  The train snaked through the curves where there was still plenty of evidence of the cleanup from a derailment this winter.  BNSF 9725 brought up the rear.

A call to "Julie" revealed that Amtrak was only ten minutes down and was expected in Osceola at 8:30.  I heard Amtrak report their Osceola stop as 8:26 and :30, and at 8:55 they were coming around the work trains on Main 1.  AMTK 4 and 54, elephant style, led the short train (9 cars and two locos) through the Chariton "ess" curve.

Two work trains were in the Chariton yard, a tie train and a ballast train.  At 9:15, the tie train moved east and then back west, affording opportunites to get images of the locos on each end, BNSF 8947 and BNSF 4652.  Fifteen minutes later, the ballast job went east out of town behind BNSF 4118 and 7627.  All of the work equipment was on Main 2 this morning.  Shortly, the detector at Russell reported 532 axles on Main 1, and at 10:00 an empty came around the curves with BNSF 8937 and 9326 dragging shiny new COPX tubs.

It sounded like things were going to be pretty quiet in Chariton for a while, so I decided to drive over to Albia.  I didn't hear anything of interest on the radio during the drive over, so I first went to Relco to see if there was anything unique on the APNC connection.  There were three locos on the south leg of the wye connection, BNSF 2753, BNSF 5941 and SF 6862.  In front of the shop sat CREX 100.

I drove out to Maxon, taking a detour around the street work at the APNC underpass.  The gravel road out to the point where the BNSF mains rejoin is in pretty bad shape after months of snow cover.  A railfan I've run into many times before was parked at Maxon.  This fellow has a scanner, and just hangs out in his car to see what goes by.  We visited for a minute, and he told me he had seen Amtrak, and heard the dispatcher talking to "No. 4", but he thought it was a detouring Southwest Chief.  I didn't try to correct him.  At the BNSF shop, the helpers 6242 and 9255 were tucked in behind the building, so I didn't try to photograph them.

I headed back to Chariton and shortly after leaving Albia, heard a westbound, hit the detector just east of Maxon with 538 axles.  The leader was BNSF 6056, and they got a warrant from Halpin to MP 332, so I figured I'd have time to get lunch and catch them at the west end of the Chariton yard.  However, once I got in position, the tie train pulled down across Curtis Ave. and blocked the view as the UCEX empty passed.  I did get some good up-close views of the Herzog "Cartopper", as it dropped ties, and then grabbed the side of the railcar in order to drag itself along the tops of the cars.  It looked a little scary from my point of view, but apparently it works!

Eventually, the rear of the tie train passed and the Russell detector announced another westbound with an axle count of 480.  This train came past the Chariton yard at 1:15, with BNSF hoppers pulled by BNSF 8977 and 9245.

That's It!