Chariton - April 24

Short Line - April 25

Amtrak's 30th - May 1


Tuesday, April 24

Professor Nancy St Clair and I had a lunch date on this gorgeous spring day and we decided to drive to Chariton.  We had lunch (excuse me, "dinner", in southern Iowa) at Donna's Cafe on the southwest corner of the square.  The dinner specials were meatballs, fried chicken, or liver and onions.  I asked what came with the meatballs and our waitress said, "Mashed potatoes and gravy, vegetable and salad."  I said I'd try the meatballs, expecting to choose a vegetable, but no, she just said "Help yourself to the salad bar", and was gone.

We saw and heard several trains while we were in town.  Just before noon an empty went over the Highway 14 overpass with BNSF 9869 and 9945.  After lunch I saw the gates go down on 8th Street and hurried to the crossing for a DP load with 9883 on the point and 8894 behind.

The vegetable?  Corn.


Wednesday, April 25

I gave final exams on Tuesday evening and on Wednesday morning.  After doing so, it's necessary for professors to find a place to hide in order to get the grading done.  If you make yourself available, you find that students call and drop by the office, "Uh, I just wondered, do you have our exams checked yet, and could I find out what my grade was?"  I thought Short Line Junction would be a good hiding place on a sunny afternoon, so I took my homework along and got to the junction around 1:00.  While I graded, the UP provided some traffic to observe:

1:04 - The SSDM arrives behind 3034 and 2986 and rolls around the northeast leg into Short Line Yard.

1:49 - The DMEA begins pulling out of the yard.  They wait on the northeast leg while work is done on the frog of the switch leading to the mainline.  The train has an all-GE consist, UP 116, SP 5111 and UP 180.  They are finally allowed to take the mainline at 2:03.

2:12 - Power for a southbound train pulls out onto the southeast leg and backs into the yard, waiting on the DMEA to clear.  Units are UP 2967, 1429 and 2959.

2:56 - The above train, a DMKC, comes out of the yard, crosses the NS diamond and heads south.

3:09 - Job 63, with UP 396, comes south out of Hull Avenue Yard and takes the northeast leg into Short Line Yard.

By this time my presence at the junction had been discovered, not by one of my students, but by a gregarious young railfan anxious to share his stories of the junction with me.  It was time to look for a new hiding place this afternoon.


Tuesday, May 1

On this sunny, sixty-degree morning, I drove down to Osceola for Amtrak No. 6.  May 1, 1971 is the day that Amtrak began operation and the 30th anniversary was being observed at depots around the country by members of the National Association of Railroad Passengers.  A couple of these individuals were on hand when I arrived and visited with me while we waited on the Zephyr.  We'd had some showers overnight and Main 2 just east of the Hwy. 69 crossing was deep in the mud this morning.

The detector east of town announced a westbound with 222 axles around 8:15.  This turned out to be a stack train, pulled by BNSF 5420 and BN 7882.

The Zephyr, now on a new schedule calling for an 8:38 a.m. arrival, appeared at 8:52.  In the short train today:

AMTK 153 and 154
Baggage 1757
Transition Sleeper 39033
Coaches 34002, 34064 and 31537
Sightseer Lounge 33001
Diner 38042
Sleeping Cars 32067 and 32019
Material Car 1530
Box Cars 71039 and 71142 (in paint matching the new locos)
Material Car 1416
There were no roadrailers on the rear this morning.  Some first-class passengers disembarked on the west side of the highway - not the normal routine at Osceola, although there is a platform there.  Unaware that the sleeping car people were already off the train, they pulled down and made a second stop.  After that confusion was cleared up, there was a request that a passenger be called on the train's P.A. system because someone was here to pick them up and they'd not appeared.  The party looking for a passenger stated, "I'm sure they got on the train yesterday in Sacramento."  Of course, getting on the train yesterday in Sacramento would mean that this passenger was currently somewhere in Utah.  Assured that everyone was off who was going to get off, they reported their times as, ":52 and straight up", and were away.

I went inside to join the birthday party.  It didn't take too much persuading to get the station attendants, J.R. Black and his companion Pat Green, to pose for pictures.  These two give the job lots of personal attention.  Pat said they'd been in charge of the Osceola Amtrak stop for 17 years.

That's It!