Saturday Drives

September 4 and September 11

Saturday, September 4

On Saturday Susan and I left the acreage fairly early and headed east along Hwy. 92.  We made assorted stops along the way, one in Oskaloosa around 8:30 to get a picture of some UP power (UP 394 and 375) near the engine house.  We had carefully followed an un-posted route into the yard area, but before long a man came along and scowled sternly as we drove away.  Fortunately, looks don't kill.

Much later in the day we found ourselves in Fairfield waiting on Amtrak No. 6.  This train would have normally been long gone, but it was almost six hours down from its schedule today.  At 4:15 the train came over the horizon and approached slowly, running in a 25 mph slow order section.  At this speed I was able to get the consist:
AMTK 194 and 162
Baggage 1718
Transition Sleeper 39039
Sleepers 32117 and 32047
Diner 38065
Sightseer Lounge 33009
Coaches 34008 and 31026
Coach/Baggage 34039
Five boxcars and two Roadrailers.
The detector just east of Fairfield reported the Zephyr at 70 axles.  The freight on the rear of Amtrak's passenger trains will soon disappear, with a hoped-for improvement in meeting the published timetables.

Before leaving Fairfield we stopped at the storage area used by Rail Merchants International.  There we found retired Amtrak MHC cars 1435 and 1429, along with a couple of MoPac cabooses, 13758 and 13866.  These and a number of other pieces of rolling stock are for sale.  The asking price for MoPac 13758 is $11,500.

We moved west along the BNSF line, stopping next in Batavia to catch a coal load at 4:47.  On the point of the FSTX/PSTX cars were BNSF 9598 and BNSF 8281.

From the scanner we learned that a train had left the Cargill spur and was coming in our direction.  We managed to intercept this train at Gateway Drive in Ottumwa at about 5:30.  Leading a unit train of mash by-product from ethanol production were BNSF 4708, CSX 584, SP 160 and BNSF 4929.

I tried to catch a couple of eastbounds, a local on Main 1 and a coal load on Main 2 out near Chillicothe, but we were just a few seconds late for each of them.

Saturday, September 11

On this Saturday morning Susan and I drove to Boone for "Pufferbilly Days".  We parked near the Boone and Scenic Valley depot and got tickets to ride the trolley to the downtown area.  Before we left, I got some pictures of B&SV switcher (and road power) 1003 and a museum area recently established in the heavyweight passenger car "Kate Shelley".

The short trolley ride, on restored Charles City and Western No. 50, is exceptionally enjoyable.  The interior of the car has plenty of beautiful oak woodwork and brass fixtures.  The car was running from the downtown area at :15 and :45 past the hour.  We paid the adult round trip fare of $2.00 and were aboard for the first departure at 10:00.

The parade was under way when we arrived and we worked our way south to the old Fareway building where the CIGRS group had their garden-sized equipment running.  The C&NW Historical Society had a non-operating display nearby.  There were also several tables of over-priced railroad memorabilia at the "swap meet".

The UP mains at the north end of the old business district were very busy this morning.  I managed to get pictures of a few trains as they passed through the area.  At 11:00, a coal empty pulled up to the UP yard office for a crew change.  Before they were on the move again, an eastbound manifest came into town and pulled by the yard office.  On the point were UP 7215 and 5936.  The westbound, a collection of miscellaneous company hoppers, started moving at 11:10 with UP 8108 and an SP "patch" unit, UP 6150 in charge.

We got some lunch before catching our ride back to the B&SV depot.  On the way to the trolley stop I got images of another pair of UP trains (you don't have to "chase" in Boone, it's like shooting trains in a barrel).  At 11:32, another empty, this one DEEX tub gondolas with UP 7092 and UP 6156,  made a crew change and moved out just as an eastbound stack train led by UP 3913 came through.  The coal empty started just a little early so that I missed the rest of the stacker's power.

With the poles reversed and the "freight" end of the trolley leading, we rode slowly back to the depot.  Just after the electric car stopped, a few minutes before noon, the B&SV's "Dinner Train" pulled up to the depot.  Before leaving town we intercepted a coal load at Division St. at 12:08.  A set of CWEX tub gons were led by UP 7127 and 7125.  We drove out of Boone on the old Hwy. 30 route and got one more train at the Jordan elevators.  This was a westbound train of covered hoppers led by an as yet un-patched C&NW unit, 8828.  Trailing the C&NW unit were UP 6251 and 7077.

That's It!