Three Stops at Beech

April 23, April 24 and March 2

Friday, April 23, 5:15 P.M.

On my eastbound commute, I heard southbound train pulling into Beech to wait on a meet with a northbound.  By the time I'd made it to the abandoned bridge south of the siding, the crew, apparently with a trainee, had lined the northbound into the siding.  The waiting manifest had two units, CP 5879 and CEFX 3142.

The northbound, a grain empty, appeared at 5:20.  On the point were UP 4815, UP 7150 and UP 6245.  They headed under the bridge to make their meet, take the switch and head for the north end of the siding.  When the rear end cleared, the switch was thrown for the main and 5879 throttled up.

The engineer put on a pretty good show, I could hear the wheels slipping on the rails as they rolled under the bridge and accelerated away toward Kansas City.

Saturday, April 24, 7:00 A.M.

On the way back toward Indianola on Saturday morning, I heard a northbound getting a warrant at Williamson.  It was cloudy and threatening to rain, but I stopped at the bridge again to see if I could catch them coming through.  At 7:12 a grain empty came slowly around the corner and approached the bridge.  This train had three units, UP 4348, 6740 and 8045 on the point.  As soon as the engineer saw the green signal, the train accelerated down the mainline.

Sunday, May 2, 5:30 P.M.

Eastbound on Hwy. 92 on Sunday evening, I heard a southbound getting a warrant from the Trenton Sub. dispatcher.  They'd not appeared yet when I got to the highway underpass, so I drove to the bridge to wait on them.  On the way out I'd been able to see a rainbow ahead of me and by the time I stopped at the bridge, it was raining.  As I waited in the Jeep, the Hartford detector announced the train's passage.  Knowing that I had a few more minutes to wait, I relocated to the UP grade crossing northwest of Beech on S-31.  From there I figured I could shoot from inside the car if it were still raining when the train arrived.

The train, consisting mostly of covered hoppers with about a half dozen others thrown in here and there, arrived at 5:40.  The rain had let up to just a sprinkle and I stepped out to get a couple more shots as they pulled up and crossed the highway.  On the point were UP 7314 and 7306.  They were moving fairly slowly since they were to be routed through the siding.  Before the CTC was extended to the north end of Beech and the north siding switch remotely-controlled, southbounds usually took the main and northbounds the siding.  Now a southbound's routing tends to depend on where the south switch (still manual and not in CTC) has been left by previous traffic.

I was on the north side of the grade crossing and had to wait for the train to pass before I could drive back down to Hwy. 92.  I turned east and drove under the rails just as the head end was going overhead.  I went south on gravel to the old bridge and got there in time to catch them approaching the end of the siding.  I watched the train turn back onto the mainline, pass the signals and head under the bridge.  We were still having a little precipitation, so after watching the head end pass and head out through the fresh spring evening I took cover and dried off the camera in the car.

That's It!