Commuting Encounters

April 28 - May 6



My almost daily round-trip from Indianola to Susan's place near Pleasantville has provided some opportunities to see rail traffic on the UP's "Spine Line" (Originally the Rock Island Short Line), as well as on the BNSF/NS Des Moines Branch.  Here are accounts of some recent encounters.

Monday, April 28, 8:00 p.m.

On my way north on the "Palmyra Pavement" (S-23) I hear the Trenton sub. dispatcher talking to a pair of trains that would be meeting at Carlisle.  Once in town, I can see the southbound stopped at the signals at the north end of the siding, so I drive back east on Hwy. 5 and park near the south end of the siding.  Before long the detector at MP 61.6 announces the arrival of the northbound train.  They are to take the siding and have to stop for the switch marking the end of the Trenton Subdivision and the beginning of CTC in Des Moines.  On the point of the manifest is an interesting collection of locos, UP 3466, 3162, 9181, and CP 5957 and 5716.  Although there's very little light left, as the train rolls into the siding I try to get some images of the units.

It's nearly 8:30 by the time the southbound comes down the main.  They too have to stop and deal with the spring switch, left lined for the siding by the northbounder.  I pull alongside and get some images of the power, UP 4299, 9267 and 5031.  Here, to illustrate the low light, is a flash shot of 5031.  As they power up and come out of the siding, I drive east and stop near Hartford for a flash image of them approaching the bridge over the highway around 8:45.

Friday, May 2, 7:00 p.m.

Nearing Pleasantville, I hear the BNSF Ottumwa sub. dispatcher talking to the M-DMOWQM as it passes through Runnells.  I give Susan a call on the cell phone and tell her that I'm in "P-ville" and will be waiting for an eastbound train to pass.  She tells me we've received a package from her daughter in Dubai, UAE, which turns out to include this interesting little Easter item.  It's not long before the manifest crests the hill and comes past the Pleasantville siding.  On the point are BNSF 8634, EMD 9021 (once Oakway) and BNSF 8275 (obviously once ATSF).

Tuesday, May 5, 7:00 p.m.

Once again on the Palmyra Road, I hear the M-DMKC in Des Moines getting a warrant to run from CP U064 (Carlisle) to Beech, where they will meet a northbound.  The sky is dark and threatening as the train comes around the corner southeast of Carlisle and starts up the hill toward me.  Up front are UP 9267, UP 2162 and CR 8331.  As soon as the train passes I turn around and start east beside it.  A heavy rain starts to fall as we pass the detector and head toward the bridge over Hwy. 5.  The female-voiced detector reports 466 axles and 39 MPH.  I park the Jeep west of the bridge with the nose to the wind and set up the camera for video.  As the train approaches, I put the passenger window down and get a short motion picture (2 Meg .MOV file) as they pass over the highway.

Wednesday, May 6, 6:00 a.m.

On my early morning run to Indianola I catch another southbound on the hill near Carlisle.  This train is a coal empty, miscellaneous company hoppers, apparently detouring due to the UP's double-derailment near Carroll.  Up front are UP 7241 and SP 203.  As they pass the detector at MP 61.6, the synthesized voice reports a count of 436 axles and a train speed of 47 MPH.

That's It!