Jan and I headed northwest out of Des Moines on a clear and warm morning to do some train-watching in Boone. We took the blue highways, stopping in Grimes to check out a grade crossing project. This railroad was once part of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St Paul and Pacific, and was taken over by the Chicago and North Western. The line is currently being operated by the Iowa Interstate.
When we got to Boone, we went first to the Boone and Scenic Valley depot to see what sort of operations they might be doing today. Groups of grade school students from a couple of districts were riding the Scenic Line today. Parked by the water tower was BSV diesel 1858, carrying a logo for the Iowa State Cyclones. ISU is just a few miles east of Boone in Ames, Iowa.
The B&SV had lots of equipment ready for the tourist season, including "Fort Dodge - Des Moines Line" diesel 2254, and coaches Rock Island 2584 and BSV 9101. On display, but not operating, were Crab Orchard and Egyptian 17, and Alco road switcher 205.
The B&SV folks have refurbished a Southern Pacific observation car, and will add first-class service using this car to this season's excursions on the so-called "Wolf Train". SP 9044, the "City of San Francisco", was built in June of 1950.
We also took a look around the B&SV storage area to see what sort of equipment was on hand. We saw several CNW bay-window cabooses, 10971, 10966 and 11068, two South Shore electric cars, 102 and 103, Mopac caboose 12434 and Des Moines Union caboose 306. Also in the outdoor storage; electric loco 703 and a turntable from Iowa Falls.
The B&SV depot is just a block north of the ex-CNW mainlines in Boone, and we couldn't visit there without catching some of the heavy traffic on the UP. At 11:15, just west of the Boone yard, we caught a coal empty with UP 6816 and 9423 on the point. This train had a mixed set of CHTT, CNW and UP hoppers.
Doing the switching duties at the west end of the yard this morning were leased SW-1500s GATX 153 and 157. In front of the yard office, I got a quick picture of CNW 4160, one of the few of this type remaining in service. Other power in the yard today: UP 1704, UP 9278, CNW 8551, CNW 8711, CNW 6867 and UP 6235. As we drove out to the east end of the yard, we saw a westbound local, consisting of three UTLX tanks, arrive behind CNW 4709 and 4711.
East of the yard, at S Avenue, where some track and signal work was in progress, we met a westbound behind UP 9721, 9537 and 6355. This was an unusual sight - an entirely empty stack train.
Track work was forcing all trains to use the south main through Boone, and was resulting in quite a few trains waiting to get through the town. We drove back to the west end of town and found a waiting eastbound stack train with UP 6200, UP 3276 and SP 9358 on the head end. Just as we decided to go get some lunch, the Scenic Line excursion returned and I got a picture of the train, behind BSV 1003, as it neared the BSV yard area.
We took our lunch trackside in downtown Boone, where we could watch the UP parade. At 12:45, an eastbound intermodal came by with lots of power: UP 3069, SP 7374, UP 3253, UP B3556, MPI 9005 and UP 3408. In this area just west of the yard, the UP is cutting in a new switch and adding a number of new signals.
After lunch, we drove around in the country northwest of Boone for a while, just checking out the B&SV route and following the Des Moines river. At the Y camp, we found B&O C2231 (Reading Railroad), a captive caboose.
Before leaving Boone, we went out under the CNW "Kate Shelley" High Bridge to watch a few trains. At 2:00, a westbound stacker came overhead behind CNW 8653, UP 6213, 3281 and 6282. They were met just west of the bridge by eastbound CWEX coal pulled by UP 6847 and 8003. At 2:20, another westbound had a turn on the bridge. This was the tank cars and some power we'd seen earlier in the yard, plus three more units and a set of stack cars. On the point were UP 8711, 9278, 8551, with CNW 4160 and UP 1704. I think the perspective in this picture really shows how high the bridge is over the Des Moines river valley.
On the way back home we stopped east of Jordan to get another picture of the the coal train that had passed over our heads on the high bridge earlier.
BNSF at Osceola, May 9.
Construction continues on the passenger shelter east of the depot. The concrete that I reported earlier seemed to not have been formed very well has been broken away and is being replaced. We caught two trains during a short evening visit, both behind SD-70 MACs. A westbound empty came first, at 5:35, and a load from the other direction at 5:43.
IAIS at Booneville, May 16.
Jan and I encountered a westbound IAIS freight while headed back from Des Moines. On the headend were IAIS 100, 603, and 407. The train was primarily intermodal cars.