Steam for the State Fair

August 7,  8 and 13


Tuesday, August 7

As part of the UP's 150th anniversary year, steamer 844 and a set of educational cars were brought to Des Moines and parked south of the Iowa State Fair grounds.  The train was made available to fairgoers who could visit the consist by exiting the fairground and walking three blocks south to the IAIS/UP mainline at the east end of Short Line Yard.

Byron, Blake and I met in Boone on Tuesday to see the train complete a day's travel from Council Bluffs.  We waited in a parking lot west of the old C&NW headquarters, along with about a dozen other spectators.  Before the steamer arrived, we caught a CWEX empty at about 12:15, led by UP 5881 and 7051 with UP 5782 bringing up the rear in DP.  The next train, at 1:00. was a NORX load led by UP 6783 and 5611.  In back was UP 6999.

The arrival of the steam engine and its train were signaled by the low-pitched whistle of the 4-8-4 loco west of us at about 1:20.  Following 844 was an interesting a varied consist, with many named cars:  Water tanker "Jim Adams", diesels 8742 and 8753, "Art Lockman", "Howard Fogg", "Lynn Nystrom", "Reed Jackson", "Portland Rose", flag car UP 5779, dome "Walter Dean", "City of Denver", UPP 207, "Columbia River", and "Powder River".  Before the entire train was by our location, a westbound stacker with four units, led by UP 8407, came through on the nearer (south) mainline.

Wednesday, August 8

I'd planned on catching the train as it entered the Short Line Junction area, but didn't get to Des Moines on time.  By the time we arrived, the train had pulled south of Market St. and was preparing to back into the yard.  Around 10:30, the train backed past our cameras.  I got shots of the two diesels, 8753 and 8742, which it turned out were accompanying the train so that it could be split into two sections when it left Des Moines.  The steam loco backed across Market St. and over the remaining diamond where the Wabash once rolled.  The train moved slowly around the southeast leg of Short Line Yard and disappeared into the brush and trees.

August 8 through August 12

The train was on display south of the Iowa State Fair.  Access was provided to a set of cars containing UP history displays, a Portland Rose coach, and a souvenir stand.  A stairway was provided next to 844 so that one could get a look in the cab.  We took our two eight-year-old grandsons to the fair on Saturday and visited the train, of course.

Monday, August 13

We drove to Carlisle to watch the train (just part of the train we'd seen in Boone) go by on the old Rock Island "Short Line" on its way to Kansas City.  There are quite a few grade crossings north of the town, and the approach of the steamer was a great cascade of moaning whistle sounds.  I got a few shots as the train passed the north end of the siding and rolled around the mainline curve, elevated for the Red Rock Reservoir project in the '60s.  In spite of the overcast, it was a great show!

That's It!