Nevada and Boone - Wednesday, May 9

Stuart - Thursday, May 10


May 9

I took the day off from work Wednesday and decided to see some traffic along the Union Pacific.  I got out of Indianola just before 8:00 in a clear, mid-sixties morning.  On my way north I heard a southbound train leaving Des Moines, so I jumped off the Hwy. 65 bypass and went to Avon to intercept them.  This turned out to be made up mostly of covered hoppers with some manifest freight on the rear.  They hit the crossing south of the General Mills elevator at 8:07 with UP 3607, 2482 and 3570.

Back on the bypass, I spotted a few BNSF units at the Countrywide Grain Terminal in Pleasant Hill and drove in to get pictures of them.  There were four units, in matching BNSF Heritage paint, BNSF 4431, 6936, 6938 and 7307.  As you can see from the images, we had a fine, shiny morning in central Iowa today.

I went northwest into the east side of Des Moines and cruised Short Line Junction.  It looked like there were two or three trains made up in the yard, but nothing much moving yet.  I got back on the freeway and headed north for Nevada and the CNW-constructed "mixmaster" of California and Chicago junctions.  I monitored the radio on the way up I-35.  Myra, "My Dear Girl, M.D.G.", generally a fixture on the Trenton subdivision, was working the Mason City desk today.

I got to the area just after 9:00.  From Hwy. 30 southwest of Nevada I could see a coal load coming around the junction to go north on the "Spine Line" so I continued east and then north, and intercepted them at the south end of the Nevada siding.  This was a CEFX/DEEX/DETX train behind UP 7318, 7034 and 6601.  I drove back to Chicago junction and caught another northbound, coming out from under the 30 overpass at 9:20, with UP 5982, 4735 and SP 8841(?).  This train had quite a few Herzog cars.  They were held on the main for a southbound that was to arrive about an hour and a half later.

Next I drove over to the east end of Ames Yard, where I'd seen some units on the way in.  There were two sets of locos, UP 5945, SP 8362 and UP 2956, and UP 2966 and 5957.

As I drove back east to the "Devil's Hollow" overpass, I saw a CWEX empty go by at 9:40 behind UP 8105 and 8225.

I took up a position on the south side of old 30 and just east of the "Spine Line" overpass.  On my right was the bridge where the CNW mains once crossed over the route of the Rock Island.  To the left, the northbound I'd seen earlier at Chicago Junction waited for its meet with a southbound that I'd heard warranted out of Buckeye.  At 10:00, the signals changed to red over yellow to route the southbounder into the siding.

The first thing through was an eastbound work train pulled by UP 5962.  They went over the old 30 bridge at 10:18, just a few cars, including some cranes and a MoPac caboose.  Following close behind were track alignment vehicles and a broom.

I had to wait until almost 10:45 to catch a "real" train on the bridge.  What finally showed up was a coal load, consisting of miscellaneous older hoppers pulled by UP 6869 and SP 155.  According to a lineup given to me later in Boone, this train carried the symbol, C-CVMHR.

I decided to get a closer look at the northbound and went to the grade crossing near the east end of the Nevada siding (CP U109).  At 10:50 the train they were awaiting showed up and took the siding.  This southbounder was a manifest behind very rusty SP 7339 and UP 9753.

At this point I decided to move on over to Boone for lunch by the tracks and an afternoon of train-watching (as opposed to train-chasing).  On the way west, I saw a couple of eastbound manifests, but wasn't in position to take pictures or get the numbers.  At 11:40, between Jordan and Boone, I caught an eastbound manifest coming out of the yard behind UP 6210 and 5871.  Switching at the east end of Boone Yard were CNW 1316 and UP 1714.  A couple of coal loads and one empty were parked on yard tracks near the mainlines.  I cruised the yard and recorded the following power:  UP 3044, 3503, 3025 and 2993.  A bit later in the afternoon, the above engines were joined by UP 849 and SP 178.

As it turned out, 6210 (the NPPR) was the last train I would see moving through Boone until 1:10 in the afternoon - quite a lull for the UP.  I took some of this time to get pictures of the captive caboose, CNW 12566 and mural near the old CNW depot in downtown Boone.  I spent most of the rest of my afternoon parked near the mains west of the yard and behind the former HyVee store.  By noon we had a strong south breeze and the temperature was moving into the low 80's.

Things finally started moving again after the lunch hour:

1:11 - WB Stack, UP 9796, CNW 8565, UP 9482 and 7570 (Z-APSE)
1:40 - EB CWEX, UP 6820, 6565 (C-NAWK)
2:03 - EB Stack, UP 4186, 6043 and 9169 (I-GNKR6)
2:16 - EB Stack, UP 4188, 9133, 4145 and 4293 (Z-SEG17)
2:30 - Friendly gentleman in a blue Honda stopped to deliver a lineup.
2:46 - WB Stack, UP 4113, 7562 (I-APOA)
2:53 - EB Mixed, UP 4550, 4742, 6101 (I-SEG2) - stacks, autos, pigs, stacks, autos, stacks - seemed like a very long train
2:59 - WB Autos, CNW 8668, UP 3664 and 9223, and CNW 8543 (A-PRNPB)

I had an evening schedule to meet back at home, so I started back in the general direction of Indianola.  I went across the north side of the yard and waited while a CWEX empty changed crews with about 15 cars hanging out of the east end of the yard.  Just east of the yard at 3:20 I encountered a manifest, (a PRNPX) with UP 9819 and NS 8944.


May 10

Mid-morning Thursday I headed west for a lunch and tour of Danish settlement country with my friend Jane Jensen in Audubon.  Just after I got onto I-80 west of Des Moines, I heard the Iowa Interstate dispatcher tell maintenance-of-way personnel that the "East Train" was near Wiota.  I figured that I could easily intercept it at Stuart and have time to get some pictures of the town's restoration projects.

The railroad depot in Stuart has been saved from demolition and will hopefully be restored one day, though a great deal of work will have to be done to make the building viable once more.  This structure was once a stop for Rock Island Rocket passenger trains.

Just north of the depot across what was once U.S. Hwy. 6 is a hotel building that is also involved in a restoration project.  The broken neon sign on the Hotel Stuart proclaims it to be "Strictly Modern".

The IAIS train, carrying the symbol "CBBI" for Coucil Bluffs to Blue Island, appeared at 11:24 behind IAIS 603, 401, 627 and 604.

That's It!