Marshalltown and Boone

July 11

Des Moines

August 8


Wednesday, July 11

Neighbor Joan Overton and I headed north on Wednesday to see if we could find some trains along the Union Pacific mainlines.  We had a clear and warm morning, near 80 degrees when we left Indianola around 9:00.  We jumped off I-35 once we got north of Des Moines and followed the tracks northward through Cambridge and Shipley.

Our first stop was Nevada, where a northbound  NSPX coal load was parked in the new siding on the "Spine Line".  Leading the train were UP 7174 and SP 214.  We drove on east toward Marshalltown, stopping near Clear Creek to watch a switch grinder that was working on the crossovers.

At Marshalltown, "Enviro Safe Air" was at work on asbestos removal in the old Union Depot.  This building was slated for demolition, but a few days beforehand it burned.

Track work had pinched rail traffic down to a single line today, and things were pretty slow.  Just after noon at the east end of the yard we caught a couple of westbounds, however.  At 12:07 a stack train came through behind UP 6357, 4658, 4609 and 2235.  Another stacker followed in just 10 minutes with only two units, UP 4642 and 7528.

UP has constructed a new yard office on the south side of the yard, east of the viaduct.  In the process, they have blocked the road that went under the viaduct to the east end of the old shop building, now used by locomotive rebuilder Transglobal.  We drove around the south side of the Transglobal building in order to see some of the locos that were being worked on, and found NIWX 9251, pretty obviously ex-PRR, and partially stripped CNW 4324.

After some lunch in Marshalltown we headed back west.  At Nevada, we found the coal load gone and a southbound manifest stopped on the main beside the siding.  They rolled at 1:26.  On the point were UP 4672, 2998, and 8993.

We continued west, stopping at Ames Yard (between Nevada and Ames) where there was an NSPX empty with CNW 8818 and SP 356.

We got to the Boone yard around 2:30.  At the east end there were several trains, a stacker with UP 4101 and NS 9265, a CIPX coal load with UP 6681 and 7303, and (at the left in the picture) a manifest with UP 4300 and 3218.  A local was just arriving from the east with UP 1714 and UPY 545.  At the yard office area we found NS 2552 and CNW switchers 1316 and 1314.

Around 2:45 a local arrived from the other direction and waited for the power from first to tie up.  We had a visit with the conductor from one local and he told us that the Boone yard office has been abandoned, with crew quarters moved downtown and yard office activities transferred to other buildings.  The locomotives on the local from the west were CNW 4710, SP 241 and CNW 4705.

At 3:00 we met an eastbound bare table move downtown.  They crossed over from Main 1 to Main 2 by the old depot and dispatchers' office.  Leading were UP 4605 and 7035.

Joan and I went out to have a look at the High Bridge and waited for about 45 minutes for a train, but saw none today.  It had been a pretty slow day on the UP.  After a brief stop at the Boone and Scenic Valley to watch their train return, we started back for home.

Wednesday, August 8

I was in Des Moines on Wednesday morning to see my daughter-in-law, who was in Mercy Hospital for some tests.  After seeing her through a CT scan and visiting for a while, I drove over to Short Line Junction to see what might be moving this morning.  North of the junction a "truck" (note horns, air hose and remote-control coupler) was on the rails towing a few gondolas with a crane configured for picking up ties.  The dispatcher was discussing with the pilot aboard the truck and the foreman of the work how to get the outfit in the clear for some trains that would be going in and out of Short Line Yard before long.

On the way back down to the junction I stopped to get a shot of a Rock Island boxcar tucked in behind the elevator.  I cruised around to the east end of the yard, over the East 30th viaduct and back west on Market Street.  South of the junction just before 11:00 I met BN 2935, DBA Norfolk Southern, taking a cut out of the E. 18th St. yard.

Back at the junction at ten after, the Eagle Grove manifest arrived behind SP 5102, UP 367 and UP 2508.  The SP units have nice horns, reminding me of the "good old days" when the RI was in charge around here.  The crew on the M-EADM called the "MIC" to tell him that the SP unit had a traction motor that "clunks" when loaded up and that the "toilet stinks, too".  The reply was that the unit "...should have been a trail!"

At 11:30 the M-KSIT was released to head north out of the yard.  On the point were UP 8108, SP 229, UP 2965 and CPRail 5815.  They rolled around the northeast leg of the wye and onto the "Spine Line", holding up some of the growing State Fair traffic on Dean Avenue.

As the KSIT was leaving, a couple of other moves across the junction were lining up.  Job 01, with a long cut of cars for the MDMKC, was waiting to go west and double back into the yard.  Job 64 was coming north toward the diamond to turn a ditcher, CNW 11983, to be put on the back of the same train.  Job 64 had UP 1689.  After the ditcher cleared the diamond, Job 1 came west with UP 3346 and 3172.  Shortly, Job 64 came back around the northeast leg of the wye and into the yard with the ditcher.

Iowa's been having a long string of high temperature and humidity days and it was getting very warm at Short Line today, so I decided to head for home.

That's It!