Marshalltown and Oelwein

May 15


My nephew Alex Dyer is just finishing up his first year of teaching as the high school band director in Elkader, Iowa.  I'd been looking for an opportunity to hear his band and the last concert of the year was to be Tuesday night, so I took off around 9:30 in the morning, figuring that I could do some train-watching on the long trip to northeast Iowa.  It was a warm day, already 80 degrees by the middle of the morning.  I went north to Nevada and had a quick look around but didn't see any trains, so I got back on U.S. 30 (old 30 being closed east of Nevada) and drove on over to Marshalltown.

A short manifest with the symbol CLMT was ready to put its train in the yard when I arrived.  Feeling a bit hungry, I decided to visit Tayor's for, "One with pickle and mustard, and a chocolate shake.", before settling beside the mainlines.  The Marshalltown yard was as empty as I remember seeing it; Transglobal was visible from the north side of the tracks.  The CLMT was shoved into a yard track and the power, UP 2994 and 2985, was parked at the engine service area south of the yard.

Form B's were in effect nearby, and I knew from the radio that a westbound was expected.  It was a fairly bright day, so I decided to move to the south side of the tracks at the east end of the yard.  Tie replacement work was underway on Main 1.  The first of two trains arrived at 11:56.  This was a manifest pulled by UP 8001 and 9721.  I drove to the west end of the yard to catch a stacker just 15 minutes later with UP 4622, 4166 and 4581.

I started to leave town and continue my trip, missing another westbound at 12:20.  From the radio I determined that a couple of eastbounds were due, so I drove to LeGrand and went to a crossing just southwest of town.  The first appeared under the Hwy. 30 bridge at 12:40.  This was a EDGX coal load behind UP 6578 and 8217.  Another coal load, CWEX cars, followed at 12:56 with UP 7156 and SP 347 on the point.  Both loads moved very slowly and took quite a while to clear the crossing.

Before the second load cleared a very short westbound came around the corner, just a gondola and two locos, UP 849 and 1714.

After the CWEX load cleared I took off for the northeast.  I'd hoped that it would be cooler up in the north part of the state, but the temperature just kept climbing.  I passed Waterloo at 2:00 and it had reached 91 degrees.  The only other train stop I made was in Oelwein.  Near what I assume used to be the CGW yard, I found a couple of captive cabooses, RI 17958 and CGW 637.  Nearby there was a switcher lettered "C.St. P. M. and O.", No. 55.  It was parked just south of a tower overlooking the yard area.

That's It!