Walker and Other Stops
July 10, 1998


Jan and I decided to take a somewhat different tack today and just head for a preserved depot and caboose in Walker, Iowa. Along the way we checked out some other spots and managed to find a few trains to watch, too.

Our first stop was in Newton to get a look at a preserved Rock Island caboose in the side yard of a residence just east of the old RI depot. The caboose is an outside-braced one numbered 17662, with the words "DEPUE SWITCH" just above the herald. The caboose sits just a few yards from the Iowa Interstate mainline, once the route of the Rock Island.

After leaving Newton, we went north and east, intersecting the UP's Oskaloosa/Eddyville line at Newburg. Our timing was good today - at 10:15, just as we started to leave town, I spotted a southbound freight on the branch. We drove back and waited at Newburg's city park for the train to arrive. Locos CNW 6847 and SP 8537 were trailed by a 35 car collection of grain hoppers and corn syrup tankers.

We went north through Gilman and continued until we reached the UP mains at LeGrand. We followed the mains eastward, going onto blue highways to stay as close to the tracks as we could. There was quite a bit of flood and storm damage in Chelsea and on up the line to Belle Plaine. Some roads in the Chelsea area are still closed due to high water.

We intercepted a westbound manifest just outside of Blairstown at 11:34. On the point were CNW 8637 and SP 8010, labeled "Los Angeles". In Norway at 11:44, we met a stacker behind UP 6327, 7332 and SSW 9666.

Once in Cedar Rapids we checked out Beverly yard, finding CNW units 4610 and 1316 switching at the east end. We parked for a picnic lunch under the Highway 30 bridge next to the UP mains. While we were having lunch we saw two trains pass: Westbound CWEX empties behind UP 8004 and CNW 8684 at 12:45, and an eastbound manifest at 1:00 with UP 9057 and 6086.

Before moving on, we stopped by the CRandIC terminal and found road engines CIC 114, 112 and 110. I don't recall seeing low-nose GeePs here before. We also spotted switchers 107 and 108, and at the ADM plant, 97 and 103. The CRandIC would make a great point-to-point model railroad, don't you think?

We drove out east on Hwy. 30 to see if we could identify a bay window caboose painted for the Rock Island on the fenced-in Stickle estate southeast of the city. It turned out to have a non-RI number (10531). There was also a BN-painted caboose on the property, numbered 11690. Both were too far away for QuickTake pictures.

After checking out the Stickle cabooses, we headed north out of town for Walker, to see the outside-braced combine caboose and two-story depot there. These are both authentic Rock Island antiques, and I took a number of pictures of each:

Caboose 17766
Caboose 17766
Caboose 17766 (Interior)
Caboose 17766 (PASSENGERS NOT ALLOWED TO STAND ON PLATFORM)
Caboose 17766
Walker Depot
Walker Depot
Walker Depot
The color shift evident in the last of the depot and last caboose shot is due to a change from a QT 150 to QT 100. Not all CCDs are alike, obviously!

From Walker, we drove back southwest to Vinton where there is a restored Rock Island depot and wide-vision caboose, incorrectly numbered 17823.

From Vinton we drove back to the UP mainlines and then drove west to Marshalltown. When we arrived, the CHNP, with UP 6275 and CNW 5518, was getting its air and preparing to move out westbound. We stopped for takeout Taylor Maid-Rites beside the tracks. While we had our sandwiches, the UP rolled a couple of eastbound intermodals by our vantage point near the viaduct. The first was at 5:37, with UP 6192, 9343 and 6110, and the second at 6:05, with UP 6272 and 9237.

Our last stop on the way home was Baxter, to see the Rock Island outside-braced caboose (17684) in the Railroad Park there.

That's It!