Des Moines
August 12 through 14


It's been another week of quick trips to the city for Jan's chemotherapy treatments. Naturally, we've combined them with a little train-watching, and we've had pretty good luck.

On Wednesday, we heard the UP "MDO" calling a southbound train that had just left the yard to inform them that they had "passengers" aboard. The MDO (anybody know what this stands for?) called the Short Line Yardmaster and asked that the Des Moines police be called and asked to meet the train at a location on Hartford Avenue. When we arrived at 10:50, the MDO, in an old light-brown Taurus, was talking to the crew of the MPRKS, with CNW 6836 and SP 8315.

I wanted to hang around and get a picture of the passengers being "cuffed and stuffed", but after a long wait, we gave up and drove on up to the yard. While we waited there for the IAIS to come through, we heard the MDO give up, too. Seems the Des Moines police didn't consider the call from the yardmaster to be of a very high priority. Eventually, the MDO told the train to pull down and stop so that he could put the people off the train by himself.

Up at Short Line Junction, the west end of the yard was being switched by Job No. 1, with UP 2015. While an IAIS eastbound waited at East 18th street, the DMEA departed around the northeast leg of the wye at 11:30. On the head end were CNW 6847 and UP 1733.

The Iowa Interstate eastbound came across the diamond at 11:43 with units 600, 604, 325 and 800. After getting a picture or two of this train, we went to get some lunch and bring it back to the junction. When we arrived, an IAIS westbound had already started across the diamond, so we went to the east side of downtown Des Moines and got a picture of it there at 12:30. The second train had IAIS 483 and 850.

We drove down through Avon on our way home, and met a northbound stacker between Avon and Carlisle at 1:15. This train called itself the "IHNG22" and had UP units 5836 and 5975 on the point.


On Wednesday evening, we returned to Des Moines for the State Fair Parade, since Byron, our oldest son, was one of the conductors for the Southwest Iowa Honor Marching Band. After watching the first part of the parade, we dropped by Short Line again, just in time to catch the second IAIS westbound of the day. They crossed the junction at 7:50 behind units 405 and 601. At the engine service area in Short Line, we spotted NREX 882, looking very sharp in dark gray with red lettering and silver trucks, with CNW 5527 and UP 9103.

We left the city by the back way (Hwy 46), soon to be closed by the IDOT, and found SF 2816 switching the Helena plant at the east end of the NS Glake Yard, operated by BNSF.


On Thursday morning we didn't have much time to hang around the junction, but we did manage to see one train. At 10:34, we caught an IAIS eastbound with units 483 and 850, that we'd seen going west the day before.


On Friday, we arrived at Short Line Junction at 10:35, just in time to see the rear end of a train pulling into the yard around the northeast leg of the wye. Traffic was heavy on Dean Avenue as lots of people headed for the Iowa State Fair.

It sounded like there were several southbounds that would be on the move before long, and an IAIS westbound was waiting in the yard to come across the junction. The first train was a southbound manifest that came to the diamond at 11:00 with UP 5969, SOO 748 and SP 7873. This last shot shows a good view of the Flanger sign with which the Jeep was about to have a minor skirmish. I straightened everything up before we left.

As soon as the southbound cleared, the IAIS train crossed the junction. On the point were units 401, 601 and 405.

We cruised around the yard, checking out the strikers still holding their positions in front of Titan Tire. At 11:40 the next UP southbound, a coal train, came through. We caught it at the Market Street crossing with UP 8171 and 6656 pulling RECX hoppers.

That's It!