More Spine Line Encounters

May 11 and May 13


Sunday, May 11

While headed north on the Palmyra road on a cloudy Sunday evening, I heard the Trenton sub dispatcher give a warrant to a northbound train to go from Beech to Carlisle, and decided to see if I could catch them in Hartford.  A couple of years ago Hwy. 5 was being widened to four lanes here and the UP, along with placing a new bridge, changed the track alignment a bit.  A great deal of excavating was done and the rails were moved to the east a few yards.  This has created a long area clear of brush and trees, with one grade crossing about half way between opposing curves.

I parked on the west side of the track and waited.  The train, a grain empty, appeared at 6:17.  As they came around the corner to the south, the engineer got on the horn and stayed on it.  I had my tape recorder on which I keep notes going and I later timed the horns at a continuous 35 seconds.  In the previous picture you can see the ballast of the old Rock Island track alignment to the right.  The covered hoppers were led by SP 264 and UP 7051.  As soon as train went north and into the curve leading onto the highway bridge, I drove back through town and chased the train west on Hwy. 5.

I parked by the siding switch and watched the train come down the hill toward Carlisle.  There were problems with the switch and signals at CP U064 and my grain empty had to stop, take the switch on hand and be "talked by" the signal, which is controlled by the "North" dispatcher.  There was some conversation as the permission/authority was negotiated and an omitted engine number and location were required by the dispatcher.  The train passed the switch and then abruptly stopped, rang up the Trenton desk and inquired if they needed anything else from him.  The conductor was assured that the Trenton sub's control ended at 64 and that everything was "copacetic" with him.

With that, at 6:35 the two big locos (Anybody can see we don't keep these things around for their good looks!) proceeded into the CTC and around the mainline corner toward Des Moines.  The Short Line Yardmaster informed them that he had somewhat of a jam up, but that he thought he could bring them to Hull Ave., where their relief would be on duty at 7:15.


Tuesday, May 13

Again northbound through Palmyra, I heard the dispatcher telling a southbound waiting at Carlise that he had a "short" KSIT coming to meet them.  I went to my newly-discovered spot just west of Hartford to await the train.  They came around the corner at 7:15 with UP 8104 and 7007 in the lead.  After they passed the road crossing and headed onto the bridge over Hwy. 5, I took off to chase them down into Carlisle.

Just after passing under the railroad bridge I met my fiance, who was driving home after teaching an evening ESL class in Des Moines.  Having just met the short manifest herself, I'm sure she didn't have any trouble figuring out where I was headed!  The detector reported the KSIT at 180 axles and 29 mph.  They passed the boundary between track warrant and central train control at 7:24 and followed the mainline curve to the north toward Carlisle.

The waiting southbound, a grain train, came around the corner on the siding track and accelerated toward the south switch.  In these shots the difference in elevation and alignment between the siding and main are very obvious.  The former Rock Island mainline was once much closer to the siding, but the main was raised and the curve radius increased when the Red Rock Reservoir project was under construction back in the 1960's.  The grain load was powered by SP 241, UP 8035 and UP 4675.

I drove up the hill to a gravel road grade crossing to get some more shots as 241 pulled the hill south of the siding and headed for the highway bridge.  I then got back on the highway, passed the train and drove back to my spot in Hartford, arriving just at the train appeared at 7:30.  I watched the train approach and pass, and then heard the dispatcher inform the KSIT that they would be meeting the DMKC (pronounced "damn KC") before they would get to come north.  I decided to let that one go and took of eastbound on Hwy. 5, headed for Pleasantville.

That's It!