July 3, 1999

Jan and I were out on a short mission to see if we could locate a particular gravesite for my mom. Since we were near the BN mains, we kept an ear on the radio. After our cemetery search we went to Chariton and waited for three trains. The first two of which met in the Chariton yard.

11:13 - Eastbound MPWX hoppers - BN 9667, 9912 and 8899
Westbound comes by the depot
11:15 - Westbound CWEX gons - BN 9479 and BNSF 8806
11:30 - Eastbound NCUX hoppers - BN 9615 and BNSF 9902

July 7, 1999

On Wednesday, Jan and I ran down to Osceola for a morning of stationary train-watching. We set up camp in the small park across from the depot and waited for traffic. It was a "skip" day on the radio, our scanner was picking up transmissions from dispatchers all over Iowa as well as some from Illinois.

We'd heard the Russell detector (MP 328) announce a westbound with only 168 axles at 8:20 as we were driving down from home. I was certain that we'd be able to get to Osceola ahead of it. This turned out to be an unusual "catch". Just before 9:00, BNSF 1105 and 1063 came through with containers and piggybacks. Intermodals are rare during daylight hours on this line since the SF-BN merger.

The bulletin board inside the depot said that No. 6 would be two hours and twenty minutes late today, not due until 11:15. Welder Bradley and crew took over Main 2 and worked on a switch frog while passengers wandered in and out of the station. Just before 10:00, another westbound train was announced by the Osceola detector. At 10:08, BNSF 9759 and 9798 came past the depot trailing empty BNSF coal gondolas.

The welders were asked to clear the eastbound at 10:20, typical for this line, where everything stops for an hour or so ahead of the Zephyr. We'd already heard of an eastbound coal load waiting west of Creston, and other westbound trains were stopped at Haplin (near Albia) waiting on the passenger train. The CZ reported out of Creston at 10:53 and finally arrived in Osceola at 11:25. In the train today:

AMTK 89, 38 and 516
Baggage 1203
Transition Sleeper 39029
Sleepers 32026, 32020 and 32023
Diner 38066
Sightseer Lounge 33020
Coaches 31508 (Smoking), 34069, 34031 and 34037
Material 1407
Baggage 1728 (No boxcars today)
Amtrak made its first stop with the diner in front of the depot and station man J.R. Green handed up some groceries while the sleeping car passengers alighted. A second spot was made (a bit too far east) for the coach fares to depart and board, and they were away at 11:30.

On Saturday and Sunday we'll be taking the Zephyr between Mt. Pleasant and Osceola to give the grandkids their first train ride. Jan and I plan to drive over, drop off a vehicle, and ride west on Saturday. Then the whole crew will ride east, visit the Threshers' Museum (if there's time) and drive back on Sunday. Naturally, I'll provide a full report after we return.

That's It!