Boone Day Out

Saturday, September 19



Susan had asked what I'd like to do on my birthday, and I said I'd like to go to Boone and see the new UP bridge, so we meandered along the UP Spine Line to Nevada, and then went west on Hwy 30.  Along the way, I got a call from Byron - he and grandson Blake were on their way to the same town to see some of the "Day Out With Thomas" activity.  I didn't manage to catch any rail traffic until we approached Jordan, where a westbound stacker crossed the highway just ahead of our arrival at about 10:15.  An eastbound was coming on the south track in the distance, so I pulled over to shoot it, and first got the midtrain power of the stacker, UP 8064 and 8345.  The eastbound manifest was led by UP 6692 and 6794.

We drove to the west end of town and found a parking place just a block from the B&SV depot, where Thomas was spotted for photographs.  In spite of appearance, Thomas is at the rear of the train, and rolls away backward along with the passenger cars when the train departs.  The depot is surrounded by activities and products aimed at the youngsters.  My grandkids are no exceptions from mass marketing and have collections of both wooden and powered HO-sized stuff.  Grandpa even equipped Percy with a DCC decoder so he can circle the big layout.

I called Byron and Blake's attention to Charles City & Western car #50, which was giving people short rides downtown and back today.  This car is a class act, with quarter-sawn woodwork and stained class windows.  It's too bad the B&SV doesn't have more wire strung so that this beautiful relic (note motorman and conductor) could run out over Bass Creek.  It was about a half hour before we could get a ride, so Blake played in the "caboose" while we waited for the electric car to return.  Once it was back and the pickup poles reversed, we boarded and enjoyed the sounds of the whistle and the air compressor and motors under the floor.  Susan pointed out to Blake the footstool under her seat, "Just like grandpa has in the train room!"  The car went only as far as Story St., and the seats were not reversed for the return trip, so  Blake didn't get to see that interesting operation today.

After lunch with the boys at the Whistle Stop Cafe we said goodbye, and Susan and I headed out to see the new bridge.  The gravel road is now open under both spans, and the view from the west side of the Des Moines River valley is accessible again.  The comparison of the two structures' construction is fascinating!

I Been Workin' On the Railroad Department:

There was quite a bit of traffic under the bridges this afternoon, all of it carefully observed by this guy.  I assume this was a railroad employee, sitting on the ground out in the weather, on the outlook for "potential terrorists".  Back in the day, the ends of the Kate Shelley bridge had a full-time guard, but then the railroad actually provided a shelter.  Here's an image I took late in the summer of 1972.  The gentleman standing in the center of the C&NW's eastbound mainline, visiting with the guard, is the late Ed McKee.  The boy leaning on the shanty is Ed's son Paul.  (I apologize for the poor image quality.  I don't have a slide scanner right now, and I resorted to taking an image of the slide with a digital camera.)  In those days one could drive to the end of the bridge, and we were invited to join the guard for an inspection walk across the span!

After our tour of the river valley, we started back toward home.  We finally found a train, a northbound freight sitting just clear of the grade crossing in Carlisle at 3:30.  In a few minutes a southbound appeared and headed into the siding to make a meet.  The track alignment is unusual here for two reasons.  The siding once dodged to the west behind the depot, and the mainline was moved east and elevated for the Red Rock Dam project.  This manifest was led by UP 6471 and two ex-SP units, UP 6401 and 6417.

That's It!