Creston and Osceola
May 24, 1997


On this Saturday, Byron and I agreed to meet at Creston. I heard the BNSF "Kansas City" dispatcher give a westbound a warrant at Halpin at 6:20, and figured I might be able to catch it between Osceola and Creston. I left Indianola at about 7:10 and headed down I-35. By the time I turned west onto highway 34 at Osceola, I could see the headlights coming through town behind me.

I drove a short way west and then stopped at 7:45 by a grade crossing to get a picture of the train. It was a coal empty, with SD-70 MACs 9478 and 9553 pulling JE aluminum hoppers. I paced it to the west at 48 mph on old 34. The signal on the south track changed from green to amber just after I took my picture, so I figured there would be an eastbound train soon.

I stopped at the next grade crossing west and waited. Shortly, the "Okay on the ... side" messages were exchanged. The eastbound turned out to be a grain train. It appeared at 7:56 with BNSF 9647, BN 7827 and 6829 on the point.

I drove on west toward Creston, trailing the JE empty. I heard a new detector announce the train's passing at MP 378.8. I got to Creston about 8:25 and found a coal load of black UNTX hoppers in the yard. Their power was BNSF 9734 and 9775. This train idled away at the east end for most of the day.

I went to the depot to meet Byron, who'd gone inside to check on Amtrak. According to 1-800-USA-RAIL, the CZ was running late today, and was more than three hours behind schedule out of Lincoln, NE. Byron and I went around to the south side of the tracks to watch an eastbound come into town. At 8:38, a coal load appeared behind BN 9510 and 9700 with BN hoppers.

The next train was the coal empty I'd seen over by Osceola. They'd changed crews and were on their way west past the old CB&Q depot at 8:42. Byron and I browsed around the yard, checking out GP 38-2 BN 2296, and SF 2306, which was coupled to BN caboose 12526. The sizeable collection of BNFE refrigerator cars in Creston continues to grow. We drove out to the east end of the yard and saw the 9510 get underway again at 8:55.

We decided to head back over to Osceola, and arrived at 10:16, just in time to see a coal empty race by the highway 69 grade crossing. On the point were Oakways 9038 and 9017, and BN 5108, with IPWX hoppers trailing.

At 10:30, another empty showed up. This train had BN tub gons behind MACs BNSF 9770 and BN 9605.

Following that train, there was a long dry spell while we waited on ATK #6. They finally pulled in, three hours and forty minutes late, at 12:55 behind GEnesis units 37 and 61. In the train today:

They made two spots and were on their way again at 1:01.

We got lunch and drove back west toward Creston. We just missed a fast-moving eastbound of some kind in Murray, but managed to catch a freight behind BN 2106 and 1506 in Thayer at 2:05.

Just east of Creston at the highway 34 overpass, we stopped to watch a coal load leaving town. This train of AEPX cars, behind BN 5078, 7806 and 5021, passed under us at 2:26. We got to the east end of the Creston yard at 2:36, just in time to see another load appear for a crew change. On the point were BNSF 9762 and BN 9683. The cars the MCHX hoppers. They were on their way again at 2:40.

The Creston yard operator sent the crew hauler home, so we figured things were going to get pretty quiet on this holiday weekend. After taking Byron back to his car, I drove back east on highway 34. Just out of Creston, I heard the new detector again, so I drove into Afton just in time (3:20) to see a westbound grain empty with BN 7050 and 8055.

That's It!