Along the Spine Line

July 4


I'd been thinking of doing some train-watching on Independence Day, but we've been in a cycle of thunderstorms, humidity and high temperatures lately in central Iowa.  A shower passed through around 8:00 and the weather stayed cloudy with an occasional sprinkle of rain, so I did some work around the house until I was bored enough to head out with the camera regardless of the weather.

As I left Indianola I heard a crew put on a northbound (UP 8197) in the siding at Beech.  They were given a warrant to come to Carlisle (CPU064) at 9:30.  I drove over to Carlisle, parked east of the broad curve coming into town and waited.  And waited...  After a time, it became apparent from radio conversations that they were having some problems with their EOT.  I decided to leave Carlisle and go on up to Short Line Yard in Des Moines.

The northbounder finally tripped the detector east of Carlisle at 10:46.  I scouted the yard and then went down to the BN diamond south of Maury, where two vans were awaiting the train.  One van was bringing yard Job 2 out to take the train into the yard and the other waited to take the crew back south to Williamson to fetch another parked northbound.  They finally came across the Des Moines River bridge around 11:00, rolled slowly up to the waiting vans and stopped just fouling the BN tracks.  On the point were UP 8197, 7026 and 6507.  The crew change was accomplished and the yard job started the train northward and on toward Short Line Yard.

While waiting on 8197 I'd heard the southbound MITKS tie up on the mainline at Easton Blvd., so I went up there to see what it had.  The engines were UP 3209, 2995 and 4312.

I got lunch and parked by the IAIS/UP diamond.  It was pretty quiet in the yard except for the chatter on the radio - a real holiday atmosphere today.  I drove over to the north side of the yard to see what had been done to the sanding tower.  It now has a new yellow ladder and a bright orange wind sock.  UP 8197 and companions had been placed on the "south toilet track" as requested by the MIC.  CNW 8652 was over on the north side.

Two trains were made up and had locos on them at the west end of the yard, one with UP 9659 (and others I couldn't see) and the other with UP 2973, SP 6874 and UP 2970.

Before heading south along the Spine to catch the next northbound, I stopped by NS's Glake Yard.  BN 1537 was in front of the yard office, with the engineer taking a break, and a set of three road engines was parked just west of the office.  These included two warbonnets, one - SF 574, in pretty rough condition.  The other, BNSF 114, still looked like it belonged on the front of a pig train hustling across Missouri.  BNSF 2366 was the third engine.

I'd still not heard anything (like a warrant) from the crew sent south to Williamson, so I decided to work my way south from Carlisle and try to catch them on the way up.  I drove out Hwy. 5 and checked out the Rock Island caboose recently parked near Hartford.  This unit, RI 17036 was placed by the highway back in April or May and is now in primer and fresh black paint.

I heard my northbound get a warrant at 12:20, so I figured I would have enough time to meet them on down the line.  I backtracked to the Palmyra Road, went south to Hwy. 92 and then set up in what was once the depot area at Beech.  I had time to finish up Tuesday's crossword before they came into sight at 1:20.  The head end came by the station sign fairly slowly, as they had to stop and line the switch at the north end of the Beech siding.  The train had six units, UP 7256, IC 3140, UP 3294, UP 9166, SSW 9693 and UP 6620.

As they stopped at the switch, I took the gravel east from the grade crossing, looped back on 92 under the train and then went back up through Palmyra to catch them again at 1:50 as they came down the hill and around the curve into Carlisle.  As you can see by the picture, the weather hadn't improved much by this time, so I headed back home.

That's It!