Short Line Junction

Saturday, August 10



On this Saturday I decided that it was time to have a look at Short Line Junction and yard again.  I left Indianola around 9:30 and drove through Carlisle on the way toward Des Moines.  From the radio, it was evident that the "Spine Line", as UP refers to the Rock Island's "Kansas City Short Line" was pretty congested this morning.

After bucking a good bit of state fair traffic on Dean Avenue between East 30th and the junction, I arrived to find the southbound ITDA using the northeast leg of the wye to do some terminal switching.  On the point were UP 5615 and 6308.  At this time, 10:00, we also had a train stopped for a crew change at the BN diamond and the KSIT had just died on the law and was tying down their train at Leeper's crossing.

I drove down to the BN crossing and parked to check out the first train, which had been referred to on the radio as a "coal train".  They had three engines, but all I could see from the north was the lead unit, UP 6855.  It sounded like they were about ready to go, so I drove back up to the junction to wait on them.

The ITDA crew was still rearranging their train when I got back to the junction at 10:20.  Shortly, the coal train rolled.  I moved over to the east side of the rails for better light and got several shots as they came through.  The three units were UP 6855, 8252 and 6597, and were trailed by miscellaneous old company hoppers with reporting marks for UP, CNW, MoPac, DRG&W, etc.  Being northbound, I had expected this to be an empty, but the truck springs were well compressed, so it must have been loaded with something.

Yard Job 1 waited for the coal load to go by and then worked across the diamond with an RC consist, UP 1073, UPY 100 and UPY 1320.  The units appeared to be using conventional instead of remote control this morning, though the engineer was wearing the vest used with the radio control packs.

I drove over to a spot near the engine service area and got pictures of a few units there, UP 2016, 2987, 2978 and UPY 1432.  In the shot of 2016 you can see a new electronic sign that the UP's added to the west end of the yard.  The shutter speed was apparently much faster than the display multiplexing, so just a few bulbs are illuminated.  I couldn't tell from where I was standing what it said.  By this time (10:48) the ITDA had shoved its train back into the clear of the carman's crossing on track 1.

At this point I decided to make a run out to Hobby Haven and back.  I visited there with Dave Harvey and showed him some pictures from the trip to the BNSF N.O.C. in Ft. Worth.  The hobby shop is planning a move to a new 6400 sq. ft. building on 86th St. north of Hickman.  They plan to start the move on Labor Day weekend.

I picked up some take-out lunch on the way back and returned to Short Line Junction just after noon.  The ITDA was still around, and in fact was now on the Iowa Interstate rails, shoving back into the yard once again.  On the radio an approaching grain empty called in to inquire about their crew change.  The yardmaster told them that they would change out at the BN.  He went on to define the order of march - Job 63 out the northeast leg and up the 'Dodge, followed by the grain empty, which would wait at Broadway for an 8500' SSDM, then the ITDA would be able to come out the southeast leg and use whatever hours they had remaining to head toward Kansas City.

Job 63 moved out at 12:45 and followed its brakeman slowly through the west end of the yard and around the northeast leg.  UP 594 was in the lead.

I decided to go down to Market Street to catch the next two trains.  At 12:53 the grain empty got the signal at the junction and started north across Maury St.  The lead unit, UP 4599 had horns sounding similar to those on Amtrak locos.  After 4599 and the trailing unit, 8786 had crossed Market and pulled their covered hoppers out of the way, I saw the ITDA waiting on the southeast leg.  They soon had a signal and came through the switch and onto the "Spine Line".

The dispatcher told the ITDA that they would be meeting a train in Carlisle and that, "hopefully the mess at Beech will be cleared up by the time you get there."  He had 1000' of train hanging out of the siding and waiting on a relief crew there.  I noticed something interesting on a car in this train - stenciled graffiti.  There was a silhouette of a walking man with a briefcase, similar to a pedestrian warning sign, only the head had little horns on it.  Underneath was the lettering "indecline".  (I got on Google later and looked this up - it's a band!  Here's their logo.)  After 5615 and 6308 were on the move, I headed for Carlisle.

I got to the Main St. crossing in Carlisle at 1:40, just as the ITDA was pulling into the siding.  As you can tell in the picture, the siding goes well to the west of the mainline, which was raised and relocated for the Red Rock Dam project.  The old mainline location is evident just to the right of the white trailer.  5615 came across the grade crossing and passed the point where the Indianola branch once connected to the siding.

A northbound stacker was stopped just south of the grade crossing.  On the point were UP 4665 and 9206.  A couple of young fans were talking to the conductor and I went over and visited with him too.  He said that they had about 35 minutes left before they would "die on the law", and that they had just gotten on the train in Trenton, MO.  Hoping to at least make it to the BN, the conductor climbed aboard and the stacker rolled over the grade crossing at 1:58.  I got a couple of shots of them as they went north on the mainline and then went on home to Indianola.

That's It!