My youngest was one of several artists having a show and an evening reception at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinios on Saturday, Aug. 5. After paying a brief early afternoon visit to a 60th anniversary party for my in-laws in Des Moines, I hurried over by Interstate and made the reception with a few minutes to spare. Later in the evening we took down the show and cleaned out Aaron's studio, in preparation to move everything back home to Indianola.
Early Sunday morning I got up early and tip-toed over a few other guests to go out in search of some coffee (and trains, of course). I saw one eastbound manifest on the Santa Fe line, but didn't get a picture. I drove out to the overpass over the BNSF yard area and parked. The yard seems to be home to a good collection of older green power. While I was on the bridge, a set of SD's came under, including low-nose 6192, 6133 and 6102.
Back at the housing provided by the college, Aaron, Christy and I made fairly quick work of loading three vehicles. Around 9:00 I started for home, leaving them to attend a breakfast with the others before they started west as well. On the way out of town, I found a coal load parked on the "Passenger" line with BNSF 9933 and 9872 on the point. A couple of other railfans were there taking pictures, too.
My next stop, at 9:28, was at the Cameron flyover for an eastbound on the BNSF mains. This turned out to be a unit coil-steel car train with BNSF 8060 and 6746 in charge. The train consisted entirely of EJ&E gondolas.
It was turning out to be a very warm an humid morning, with the temperature at 80 degrees already. I spotted a couple of coal loads in the weeds and woods as I traveled west and crossed over into Iowa. On the scanner, the dispatcher on the old SF line was a little out-of-sorts and was treating his train crews to plenty of sarcasm this morning, "Thanks for not taking more than an hour to get on your train.", "Well, I've never had anyone take 2:45 to go from Yost to Ft. Madison, but you might set a record", and "I know that, I can read."
I dropped down into Burlington and made a quick stop at the depot, but didn't see any trains. I was wondering how the Zephyr was doing this morning, but there was no one around to ask. I figured even if it were on time, I could make it to Mt. Pleasant first. I noted on a banner that this next weekend would be the "Second Annual Heart of America Tattoo Festival" in Burlington, so if you've got some corner as yet uninked, scurry on down there!
Out of West Burlington I heard of at least one eastbounder, from the engine number probably a coal load, heading toward me. Conclusion: No. 6 will be late. They've recently routed Hwy. 34 around south of New London, and have not yet tied in the intersections with the old route (which followed the tracks). I went into town, but just missed the head end of the DP load. Fortunately, they were planning on a stop just to the east, and I was able to get back onto the new highway and race back east just in time to catch the head end, BNSF 9863. Unfortunately, the camera was nice and cool from the Jeep's AC, and immediately fogged over when I stepped outside.
Bringing up the rear of the JE hoppers was BNSF 8850. This train, which I met at 11:28, was followed closely by a manifest behind BNSF 4838 and SF 623. From the radio it sounded like they were to wait in Burlington for a train coming up the K-Line.
At Mt. Pleasant I ran into Russ Lyon, who had set up his lawn chair and cardboard box of train-watching equipment in the shade in front of the depot. We had a couple of minutes to compare notes on trains we'd seen and for me to learn that No. 6 wasn't expected until after 2:30. I hadn't been there long when another westbound manifest appeared, from the length and time of day, probably the DENGAL. On the head end were ATSF 797 and BNSF 8260. The time was 12:07. I decided to get some lunch and come back to the depot to await the Zephyr.
After lunch, a photographer friend of Russ's appeared and berated us for wasting our time taking pictures of trains instead of going to WalMart to "watch girls". We were not persuaded, however, and he decided to stay at the depot with us. Our next train was a coal empty at 1:44 with NCUX gons, BNSF 9759 and 9700.
It was ten of three and had just begun to rain when the passenger train rolled in. In No. 6 today:
AMTK 81 and 43The station agent wrestled the baggage off and they were rolling away in the rain at 2:56. I excused myself from Russ and his never-introduced companion and took off toward home. I saw another coal load just east of Agency and ran into very heavy rain and wind between there an Ottumwa. I high-ball'd Albia, but decided to take a look at a load stopped out west of Melrose. Trains were being delayed, I learned later, because power lines had been blown down across the tracks and the CTC signals at Halpin wouldn't come in for the dispatcher. I found the load at 5:11 west of Melrose, a DP train with BNSF 9909 in front and 8979 behind.
Transition Sleeper 39028
Sleepers 32063 and 32037
Sightseer Lounge 33001
Coaches 31517, 34099, 34087 and 34027
Express (boxcar) 71186
Material Handling Car 1547
Express (Boxcars) 71144, 71137, 71080, 71037 and 71039
I got home about 6:15 and had a little break before we unloaded things at Aaron and Christy's apartment. It will be great to have them here - in fact, Aaron and I have already taken a train-watching excursion that's waiting to be typed up!