September 21

Tuesday, I had a rather different train-watching experience. It was one of the few times that I've been able to go train-watching "on the clock" from my job. I was accompanied by Simpson's Director of Public Relations, Michael Adams. Michael's office is going to do a story in the Simpson Magazine on the connection between Simpson College and the railfan community, and my involvement in that activity.

Michael and I left Indianola about 8:30 and drove to Osceola. I noticed right away upon our arrival that there was unusual power parked on the spur to the north of the depot. PRSX 1003, 1006 and 1001 had backed a ribbon-rail train onto the spur.

I checked in the depot to see how Amtrak was doing. It looked like we'd have at least an hour to kill before No. 6 arrived. Michael posed me for various shots and we discussed where he'd like me to stand when the passenger train came in.

While we waited, some track-working equipment rolled in from the east. On the last machine was Tom Cottrell, with whom I'd visited a number of times in the past. We met for the first time at Shannon when Tom came over to see if I were the "Weed Rat", looking for rules violations. Tom explained that the ribbon-rail equipment would be going just west of Osceola to work after Amtrak was through today.

At 10:20 the Zephyr arrived. I had to face away from the train so that Michael could get some pictures as it came in, but as soon as the head end was by me, I was allowed to just do my thing. In the train's (reversed from the usual order) consist today:

AMTK 40, 90 and 408
Material Car 1464
Baggage Car 1003
Transition Sleeper 39010
Coaches 34047, 34098, 31527 (Smoking)
Sightseer Lounge 33001
Dining Car 38022
Sleeping Cars 32019, 32075 (Connecticut), 32056
Box Cars 71191, 71151, 71147 and 71114
Baggage Car 1269
Amtrak made two spots, one for coach and a second one for sleeper patrons, and was on the way again at 10:30.

Michael and I had enough time to drive over to Chariton before heading home. We got to the east side of town at 11:00, just in time to catch the Zephyr again as it crossed over to Main 1 at MP 333.10. We spent a few more minutes in town to check out the old Rock Island depot and Piper's Grocery and Candy store before heading back to Indianola.

That's It!