Fall Along the BNSF

Saturday, October 5



My friend Susan Murphy and I had good intentions and meant to get some chores done Saturday.  However, the day was sunny and warm, the leaves were turning and like I, Susan is easily called away.  We decided to take an afternoon drive instead.  We left Indianola around 12:30 and cruised Hwy. 34 from Osceola east to Albia.  Naturally, I listened for rail traffic on the scanner as we drove.

Just east of Russell I heard the detector with a short train on Main 2.  We went to Halpin and waited for it to appear.  The dispatcher was a bit slow in lining the train into the CTC, but at 3:30 a local finally came around the corner and headed toward us.  The crew all peered through the cab windows at us as the train approached.  On the point were BNSF 1475 and 2278.  The train was lined through the west crossover onto Main 1 to go the "north way" and do some switching at the Albia Yard.

We went up into Albia, spent some time looking around and were thinking about getting some supper somewhere when the detector east of Maxon announced a 500+ axle westbound train.  Knowing that  the local was switching by the yard office, I assumed this train would be crossed over and go down the hill on Main 2.  We took a gravel road that is between the two mains back out of town and waited on the hill for the westbound.

At 4:20 we watched an AEPX empty pop out of the timber and roll by us at a pretty good clip.  A train of this length was undoubtedly running with distributed power when loaded and going east, but this afternoon there was only the lead unit, BNSF 4520.  After the head end passed I expected to see a second unit on the rear, even though an empty doesn't usually run DP.  There was only an EOT on the tail end of the train.

After seeing the empty go downhill, we went back to the yard for a minute.  The local was picking up a couple of old SD's to take on to the east, BNSF 6835 and 6833.

After supper at the Skean Block Restaurant on Albia's square (Excellent - Highly Recommended!) Susan and I started northwest back toward her place.  During a fuel stop in Knoxville I heard a train going by behind the station.  We gave chase and managed to intercept the M-DMOWQM just east of town with a long string of green, BN 7908, BNSF 6916, 2336, 7830 and 2982.

That's It!