I accepted an invitation from an Internet acquaintance to meet Amtrak No. 6 on Tuesday morning. Bob Drenten, from Sioux Center, and I have corresponded by email a number of times, and each of us has stopped at the other's home, but we'd somehow never managed to visit face to face.
It was a chilly and gray morning, thirtyeight degrees with a light mist. I rolled out of Indianola around 7:15, figuring I might see some traffic ahead of the Zephyr. According to Amtrak's web site, the train was running pretty close to on-time today. Driving west on Hwy. 92 at 5 mph over the limit I found myself tailgated by commuters, and thanked whatever gods were involved that I live only 4 blocks from my job.
I got to Osceola just before 8:00. Two work trains were parked in town, a ribbon rail train just west of the Hwy. 69 crossing, and a "Slot Machine" tie-train off to the east in the north siding. The maintenance forces were bringing their equipment out from the old branch line to the north of the depot onto the westbound main. They pulled west to clear, down near the ribbon rail train, and then took off out of Osceola eastward bound.
The ribbon rail train then pulled east a short distance to allow fueling of the equipment and locos. On the head end were BNSF 2297 and an old SF GP-30, BNSF 2462. The ribbon rail train had a green BN caboose, number 12622. I drove out to the next crossing east of the depot to have a look at the tie train. It had BN 2334 and articulated GREX cars.
Back at the depot I took a few pictures of the signage provided for Amtrak customers. Just in case you've been wondering what not to do, the interior of the Osceola depot provides the answer:
I missed the (no) parking instructions inside and outside the depot. That'll wait for another excursion.
Just after 9:00, I heard No. 6 on the station radio report its stop at Creston as "45 and 56". About this time, the ribbon rail train came across the Hwy 69 crossing and pulled up the branch in order to clear the crossover onto Main 1. This gave me and a couple of other railfans at the depot a good look at the SF GP-30.
Simultaneously, the tie train pulled down to come out of the siding onto Main 1. The crane was in motion, moving along the interior of the cars as the train traveled to the west. The caboose on the tie train, BN 10165, actually had a fire going in the stove today. I haven't seen that for a long time! As soon as they cleared the switch onto the mainline, the short train accelerated westward, smoking from both ends.
Amtrak arrived at 9:26. In the Zephyr today:
AMTK 88 and 66
Transition Sleeper 39003
Coaches 34048, 34053 and 31511 (Smoking)
Sightseer Lounge 33002
Sleeping Cars 32044, 32039
I met my friend Bob at the doorway of 31511 for a handshake and a short conversation. With stunning absence of mind, I did not think to take his picture! Oh well, that can wait for some other excursion, too. The passenger train was out of Osceola at 9:34, just 16 minutes down.
The annual Great Midwestern model railroad meet was held Saturday at North High. Byron (who'd chaperoned an all-night "lock-in" at his church Friday night) and I had conferred and decided that, if he came over, he'd meet me at noon at the high school. I left around 10:00 for Des Moines. Once at the meet, I spent most of my time visiting with old friends and getting introduced to new ones. I did take a few pictures of the three modular layouts that were set up in the east end of the gym with the vendor area.
Des MoiNTrak was represented, running those
tiny little trains of theirs.
Des MoiNTrak (0-5-0 action)
Des MoiNTrak bridge
Des MoiNTrak city scene (note monster)
Section Gang from the HO Central Iowa model railroad club (the one at the Fairgrounds)
Iowa Central Railway HO layout from Marshalltown - steam loco with sound, even!
Bryon and Tammy appeared just before noon and we decided to go for some take-out and a stop at Short Line Junction. While we were there the DMKC got its air and rolled around the southeast leg of the wye to join the "Spine Line". On the point were UP 5090, 3527 and 5657.
It was 12:50 and I was due back at North High for an informal board meeting of the Rock Island Technical Society at 1:00, so we didn't linger after the DMKC left town. Byron, who was by this time very ready for a nap, and Tammy had a look at the train show and left for home before my meeting ended.
I skipped the evening RITS meeting at the Royal Fork this time and instead put in a few miles with my daughter Sarah at the Relay for Life at Simpson College in Indianola. We were members of the Hometown Fitness team (in my case, honorary, not earned). The folks at Hometown were wonderful to Jan as she worked to maintain her strength during chemo treatments. Sarah and I heard that the event raised over $30,000 this time!