UP 844 South

Thursday, June 28

Susan and I staked out a private grade crossing just southeast of Carlisle, on the short hill up from the Middle River bridge, for today's passing of UP 844.  The published schedule for the steamer listed a 15 minute stop in Carlisle with the train on the move again at 10:45.  Not surprisingly, they had already fallen behind schedule on the trip from Boone to Trenton, MO, by the time we began waiting.  We saw a couple of northbound freights, the first was just ahead of us as we arrived and went on to Des Moines.  The second was told to go into the siding at Carlisle.  This train had UP 3845 and 4629 on the point.  Others reported to us that they stopped to clear a grade crossing in town, but that this had left the rear end of the train hanging out on the mainline.  We saw a number of familiar faces among Iowa railbuffs waiting at our location, including some family.

We followed the excursion train's slow progress on the scanner.  Eventually they reached Carlisle.  From the radio, it sounded like they did some servicing of the loco there, since there were instructions regarding "blue flag" placement and removal.  Around noon, they were ready to move on south, so the northbound freight was pulled ahead.  The south switch at Carlisle is a spring switch so a train in the siding can run through it when it is lined for the main.  However, the freight had stopped and lined the switch for the siding, so 844's crew had to stop and line it for the main again.  Once this was accomplished, there was a wait for a signal which they were eventually "talked by" by the dispatcher.

At 12:20 we could finally see the steamer coming slowly up the hill, probably running at restricted speed to the next signal.  As it turned out, that signal was red also.  Here are some images of the excursion train passing:

UP 844
UP 844
UP 844
Theater Car

As you can see, there were quite a few people aboard, though tickets weren't sold for this trip.  On the radio we heard that they were stopping for passengers in Carlisle and again in Chariton.

The steamer's run past us was at low speed and kind of disappointing, though the whistle still sounded great.  To see and hear what this experience can be, check out this video (11 Meg .mov file) of UP 3985 at the same location in June 2002.

That's It!