Wednesday, May 19
Greg Hurt, a railfan and modeler from Missouri, contacted me some time
ago about sharing some time along the UP "Spine" line in the Des Moines
area. Greg is interested in someday modeling the line from Des
Moines on south. We made arrangements to meet in Des Moines on
Wednesday, and had a cool and clear morning. We first went to the
Hull Yard area and then worked our way south to Short Line, checking
out both ends of the yard and the remnants of a handful of railroads
that used to pass through under control of the Rock Island's Short Line
From the radio, we learned that an IAIS train was coming our way, so we waited at East 18th St. At about 9:20, we caught the IAIS "Tramp", engine 710, with two boxcars. They went west as far as the interchange with the NS, and apparently returned eastbound later in the morning.
We spent quite a bit of time "browsing" the downtown Des Moines area,
then headed southeast to the NS Glake Yard, out to Avon and down
through Carlisle. We checked out Hartford and Beech, and noticed
that the approach-lit signal at the south end of the Beech siding was
lit and clear for a northbound. From the radio, we could
also tell that the Trenton dispatcher was setting up a meet at
Carlisle. We started south along the line, but before we'd gotten
very far, we spotted a few cars of the northbound passing through the
trees south of Hwy. 92.
I hurried back to Beech, just in time to see the rear of the train
clear the crossing in town. We continued the chase north on S-31
and onto Hwy. 5. We stopped at 11:25 east of the overpass at Hartford
for some pictures. It was apparent at this point that we did not
have a run-of-the-mill UP manifest, but what was most likely a DME
We raced the train up the hill to the detector and stopped ahead of it
for more images. The train, which registered 406 axles on the
detector, was led by three units, DME 6072, DME 6085 and CITX 3067. At the bottom of the hill, a UP southbound with UP 5118 and 4310
waited in the siding. The meet was accomplished, but the DME
train had to wait for a few minutes for a signal to go on north.
As we were waiting, Greg pointed out the rearranged doors on UP 5118.
Greg and I went through Carlisle, headed up the Hwy. 65 bypass and went in on Vandalia Rd. to catch the train as it changed crews at the BN diamond south of Maury St. By 12:25 they were rolling again, across the IAIS main at Short Line. We got a few more images of the units, 6072, 6085 and CITX 3067 as they went by us.
At this time, the dispatchers, both north and south of the junction,
gave away the track to maintenance of way personnel until
mid-afternoon, so Greg and I got lunch and did a little more exploring
west of Short Line. Later, I dropped him off in West Des Moines
where his ride back home was staying.
A common sight these days in Pleasantville is a unit train of diesel
fuel, loaded in Des Moines and run to Lincoln or Alliance NE. This one is pictured in the Hawkeye siding.