Two Short Trips to Short Line

June 30 and July 5


Saturday, June 30

I made a run up to Des Moines on this hot Saturday to check out the art fair being held on the bridges.  After a visit with Aaron, who was tending the Tandem Brick Gallery booth, I drove over to the east side to see if anything were going on at Short Line Yard.  I started down Dean Avenue toward the junction, but found the grade crossing blocked by a northbound stacker.  I turned around and went up 14th to see if I could intercept the train at Hull Ave.

I reached the Hull crossing well ahead of the stacker.  The crossing was already blocked by UP 435, switching the "bean plant".  The stack train came through on the Fort Dodge line at 12:44, with UP 9774 and 3744 on the point.  They met a southbound grain train that was stopped on the mainline for a crew change.  After catching the stacker I drove back down toward Short Line, stopping to get a shot of another grain train parked in Hull Yard.  This one was led by UP 4817, CSX 8098 and UP 3102.

Back at the junction, the M-DMKC was getting ready to head for Kansas City, but found that they had an empty intermodal car too close to the head end of the train.  They were instructed to set it out on a yard track before leaving town.  They finally pulled around 1:15.  I caught them coming around the the southeast leg of the wye.  On the point were UP 2993 and UP B4281.  They had a warrant to meet a northbound at Beech, and after watching the two units cross Market Street, I decided to see if I could meet them there, too.

Crossings to the south were blocked by my train, so I looped around the north side of the yard and headed down East 30th.  At Pleasant Hill (Vandalia Road) I got on the Hwy. 65 bypass and then jumped right back off of it onto Hwy. 5 and went on through Carlisle.  There was no sign of the train at Carlisle or along the highway toward Hartford.  I went south on the Palmyra road and heard the Hartford detector announce the train at 1:48, just as I reached Hwy. 92.  As I approached Beech, I could see the northbound rolling slowly up the siding on the bridge over the highway.  I took a gravel road north to the first grade crossing north of town and waited for 2993.

Just before 2:00 the train came out of the trees and slowed for the meet.  2993's crew seemed amused to find me waiting for them  The northbound had called to tell them that the siding switch was lined for the main so that they would not have to stop.  I decided to see if I could catch them one more time at Beech's "main" street and only grade crossing.  The train was accelerating as it came around the corner and charged through this tiny community established by the Rock Island railroad in 1913.  They'd made the 20 mile trip from the yard in 48 minutes.

The north end of the siding isn't visible from any grade crossings, so I went back to the grade crossing north of town to wait for the other train.  They appeared at 2:10.  On the point were UP 6100 and 6311.  After watching them round the corner and head for Des Moines, I left for the short ride back to Indianola.


Thursday, July 5

Thursday was much cooler and dryer than the weekend had been.  It was clear and 80 degrees when I decided to pay another afternoon visit to Short Line.  I got to the junction just after 1:00.  The M-EADM was just coming around the northeast leg and heading into the yard.  On the point were UP 2577, SP 5102 and SSW 7798.  The train stopped a couple of times on the way into the yard as switches were thrown ahead of it.

The junction "parking" was already occupied when I arrived, and before long a fellow carrying a cooler came up out of the brush by the diamond.  As it turned out, he worked for the city of Des Moines and was testing water quality in the pond southeast of the junction.

At 1:15 the westbound Iowa Interstate freight called the yard to say that they were leaving Altoona.  They were told to call back when they reached Laurel Hill Road.  Meantime, the M-DMKC was sent south out of the yard around 1:30.  I went down to the Market Street crossing to see the manifest come through.  On the point were UP 6255, UP 8968 and Rio Grande 5507.  I took another picture of the big Rio Grande unit.  It won't be long before this paint scheme disappears.

I drove back up to the diamond and took this next shot while the DMKC was still working its way out of the yard.  The dip in the tracks at the crossing of the "Spine" line and the Iowa Interstate is very obvious in this image.  The diamond remains in very poor repair, as it has throughout this year.  In fact, the condition of the IAIS route here is beginning to remind me of its predecessor during the "Bankruptcy Blue" era.

At 1:48 the IAIS train, given permission to enter the yard on the old Rock Island westbound main, poked its nose out the west end and waited for a signal to continue its trip to Council Bluffs.  The conductor led the train through the crossover switches and onto the rough section of track leading up to the diamond.  Three units powered the IAIS's BICB today, IAIS 408, 402 and 101.  I'd moved to the south side of the rails for better light and watched the train roll by.  A few "CRandIC" covered hoppers in the consist had at some time taken quite a beating.  Near the rear, the train had a block of intermodal equipment.

Back in the yard, Job 1, with CNW 1311 and UP 1391, made a quick move and shoved back out of the way so that Job 63 could bring a set of cars down from Hull Avenue Yard.  The "Hull drag" was powered by UP Y626 and was long enough that it had to be doubled into a second track at the east end of the yard.

I drove over near the engine service area where I spotted UP 9577 and 9510 with a couple of SP units, including SP 7798.  Two trains were parked on yard tracks, UP 5635 with another Rio Grande unit, and UP 2958 with several other UP's trailing.

Next up at the junction was a grain train, powered by UP 7142 and 6523.  They came south and rattled across the IAIS track at about 3:30.  On the radio, the yardmaster said that the PRDM was waiting to come down, but that it would be at least another half hour before they moved.  It was getting pretty warm, so I decided to let that one go and head home.  On the way down East 30th I spotted BNSF 2121 at the Cargill plant, D.B.A. the Norfolk Southern.

That's It!