Some time ago, I learned of the efforts of some citizens of Chariton to preserve the Rock Island depot on the Kansas City Short Line (known today as the "Spine Line"). One of those involved in this effort was Dorotha Fluke Many, and I'd been looking for an opportunity to visit with her, since Chariton is just a short drive south for us. Early in May I received a letter from Mrs. Many saying that the RI depot was in use by the Union Pacific and not yet available for other purposes, but that she was now trying to get into conversation with BNSF about their freight depot in Chariton. She'd sent a letter to Chairman Krebs in March, but had not yet received a reply.
Sunday, I called and arranged for Jan and myself to go and visit with Mrs. Many and find out more about her involvement in historic preservation efforts in Chariton. We had a delightful conversation. Mrs. Many is a person who obviously is not likely to take "No" for an answer and who approches red tape with energy and determination. We exchanged some ideas about persons to contact and some ways of determining just who was in charge of the old Burlington freight house.
After our meeting, Jan and I took a few pictures of the freight house, which has a large dock on the west end. It appeared that at least part of this dock was at one time under a roof.
The BNSF MoW forces have been working seven days a week lately, and had a Form B in effect through Chariton this afternoon. Some traffic had been crossing over, and a switch tender was working in Lucas (switches at Shannon) when we came by on our way to Chariton. A coal load was stopped just east of town when we arrived at 1:40. By 4:00 in the afternoon, westbound trains were starting to stack up east of Chariton, between there and the CTC at Halpin. We went out to the east end of town and got a picture of an empty with a variety of cars waiting for the switch tender to come up from Shannon and switch them over onto Main 2 for the trip down the hill.
Once they were rolling we went back into town, just east of the depot, and watched the power come by - BN 5588, BN 5085 (with red number boards) and Oakway (EMD) 9071. The next of the waiting westbounds came through town at 4:40. This train had DETX and DEEX cars behind BN 5581, SF 8161 and BN 5553.
We knew that several trains were coming and that a crew was going to be relieved on one of them somewhere east of town, so we started down the gravel toward Russell. Along the way we spotted two more trains. Just east of Chariton we met another coal empty with BN 9547 and a second 70-MAC, and fairly close to Russell, a manifest with BNSF 4704, BN 7017, 7836 and 7182.
We arrived in Russell just after 5:00, as another manifest rolled up to a stop to relieve a crew dying on hours. This train had two older units, BN 2121 and BNSF 2957, and 95 cars, according to the paperwork. The Russell detector reported 400 axles, so it may have been more like 98 cars.
We turned around, went back to the depot in Chariton and waited for them to come through town, where I got a picture of the renumbered SF unit. According to a conversation with the dispatcher, with their limited horsepower they could only make only 35 mph.
We went down the hill to Shannon, getting there just as 2121's train was going by the crossovers. From the signals at the bottom of the grade it appeared that we'd missed an eastbound, probably BNSF 9999, judging from a warrant we heard cleared at Halpin later.
At 6:15, the next westbound came down the hill, with BN 7833, BN 5009, Oakway 9052, Oakway 9029, BN 7817 and a string of CIPX and NCUX cars. We did not wait for the next one, according to our log of warrants at Halpin led by BN 9404.