Marshalltown with Byron
Friday, April 18
Byron and I both had Good Friday off from our teaching duties and planned
to meet for a day of train watching along the UP mainline. The weather
did not cooperate and we had a cool and cloudy morning (45 degrees) with rain
in the forecast. We decided to meet in Boone at 8:30, so I left Indianola
around 7:20 and headed north on Hwy. 65. On the east side of Des Moines
I saw the rear end of Iowa Interstate's CBBI climbing the hill out of the
Des Moines River valley on what was once Rock Island right of way.
I got to the elevators at Jordan, just east of Boone, at 8:15 and just
missed an eastbound manifest heading for Ames. A couple of minutes
later I intercepted an eastbound intermodal and
stopped to get some pictures as they came by. On the point were UP 5049, 9808 and 4956. As I approached the
east end of the Boone Yard, Byron called and said he'd meet me there. There
was a coal load led by UP 8197 parked in the yard. At 8:26 another
eastbound came by, this with a mix of automobile racks and stack cars led
by UP 9787, 9528, 3988 and 4320.
Byron and I drove to a parking lot just west of the old C&NW depot,
arriving just in time to catch a stacker behind
UP 4754, 9055, 9109 and 9228. A westbound (CLNP, I think) was stopped at the new yard office, waiting for
a crew called at 8:45. At 8:52 an empty ballast train blasted by with
UP 4818 and 4516.
The train was made up of freshly-painted Herzog
"Fast Freddy" Baffle opened the throttle on
the westbound manifest at the yard office at 9:01. Power here was
UP 4153 and 6311.
Another westbound, apparently long pool without a Boone crew change,
highballed the yard office and came by us at 9:20. This was a CWEX coal
empty behind UP 6693 and 8218. We moved to a parking lot north of
the yard office for the next train, another coal empty, CIPX/NCUX cars behind
UP 7228 and 7331, that pulled up to the yard
office at 9:46. They made a quick crew change
and rolled west toward
the high bridge in three minutes.
Byron got his gear out of his car and we started out of town to drive toward
Marshalltown. At the east end of the yard we saw the locomotives of
the Herzog train being fueled from a tanker truck.
Just before we left Boone we met another westbound,
a CWEX empty with UP 6543 and 6597. As you
can see in these shots, the weather was not improving much as the morning
Traffic briefly quieted down a little bit as we passed Ames and started
toward Nevada. From the radio we learned that a PRCB was coming toward
the junction, so we went to a grade crossing at the east end of Ames yard
and intercepted them at 10:26. This manifest
had UP 3079, 3019 and 3057
on the point. As we drove through Nevada we saw the gates go down for
westbound light power, CNW 403 and UP 3076. Around 10:45 near Colo
we caught up to a stacker we'd seen in Boone and watched them meet a a coal
empty with UP 6617 and 7128. Near Lamoille we overtook another of the
eastbounds we'd seen earlier and then met yet another westbound manifest,
followed by a stack train, just west of Marshalltown. It was a busy
morning on the UP!
Once in Marshalltown, at 11:10, we got to a grade crossing at the west
end of the yard just in time to get pictures of a westbound intermodal train
with some interesting power, UP 4051, 9617 (an SP patch) and CSX
9000. After getting extra shots of the
SP and CSX units, we parked on the north
side of the mainlines west of the old C&NW depot location.
At 11:35 a stacker with 4754, 9055, 9109 and 9228, that we'd
passed on the way over, got into town and came by.
Byron and I repaired to Taylors' Maid Rite for rail fan takeout and
returned just in time for another train. Next
up, at 11:55, was a re-run of the Herzog ballast
train with 4818 and 4516. Running ten minutes behind the ballast empty was a coal load
with an as-yet-unpatched C&NW unit in the
lead. On the point was C&NW 8810,
followed by UP 7354 with a couple of its doors
flapping in the breeze. As the lead and
trailing locos passed I noted KGLX, NRLX and C&NW hopper cars in the consist.
The hopper train was barely out of the way when a westbound with WEPX empties
popped up. Eastbounds had been coming through pretty slowly, but this
guy, with UP 8020 and 6237, was really moving. At 12:30 we had a coal load, CWEX tub gondolas behind UP 6534 and 6605. They
came to a stop in front of us and we couldn't see much of a westbound stacker
that came by on the south track at 12:38. We moved to the east end
of the yard to catch 6534 once they were on the
move again at 12:52. At the same time, the Oskaloosa
train was tying on the EOT and getting ready to leave town.
By now the sprinkles and mist that we'd had most of the morning had turned
over to just plain rain. We turned around and started our trek back
toward Boone, stopping first at the overpass near West Marshall to intercept
an eastbound stack train pulled by 4864, 5099 and 9479. As
they went under the highway learned on the
scanner of another westbound, so we drove to the Hwy. 330 grade crossing
to wait for it. By now it was raining hard enough that I was keeping
the camera under my jacket until the last moment. You'll note some
raindrops on the lens in the pictures.
The westbound, a stacker with UP 9830, SP 8652 and UP 4847, got to the highway grade crossing
and rolled off into the showers at 1:12.
We heard the Lamoille detector announce an eastbound, so we waited
a couple of minutes to catch it at the same place. This train was a manifest freight, pulled by UP 8306, 4428 and CSX
98(?). Just to the west we missed a following manifest at about
Our next stop was at the crossovers at Clear Creek, where we waited for
a westbound automobile train that arrived at 1:42.
I'd not paid very close attention to the picture count and managed
to fill the camera's memory card (149 images) as this train passed. They
crossed over from Main 2 to 1 and came to a stop with a few cars still in
the crossover, so I reloaded and we tried to intercept them again just east
of Nevada. However, we weren't able to get to the crossing in time
We caught a couple of trains before Byron and I headed for our respective
homes. At 2:24 we had a westbound stacker at the east end of the Ames yard, with three units running
"elephant style", UP 4990, 4598 and 4142. Back
in Boone just before 3:00, we saw a CWEX coal load led by UP 8122 and 6442.