The grain train was in sight when I got to the bridge. The engineer kept the diesels wound up as the brakes on the cars pulled the train to a stop just short of the switch points. The conductor took a short walk to throw the switch and they were on their way again. On the point of the covered hoppers were FURX 7220, 8120 and 8119. The engineer waved as they passed under the bridge and accelerated south toward Kansas City.
Since the CTC south of Des Moines was extended from Carlise to the north end of Beech, traffic patterns at Beech have changed somewhat. I assumed that I would see the train on the main line stop and throw the south siding switch, but the dispatcher used the remotely-controlled north switch to send the train down the siding.
After hearing the axle count, I'd been figuring how many units the train might have, one with 126 cars, three with 123 cars, five with 120 cars, etc. The answer turned out to be five, UP 2847, UP 3176, CSX 7765, CSX 8131 and CSX 6301.
After watching the freight pull through the siding and roll around the corner, I took the newly paved S-31 north from Beech to Hwy. 5 and drove up to Short Line Yard in Des Moines. An EADM-type train was pulling into the yard as I drove down Dean Avenue with UP 369, 3051, 2016, 2053 and 2085 on the point.
There was little else moving at Short Line, so I decided to check out
a new hobby shop instead. The Central Iowa Garden Railroad group has
appointed me and three others to a subcommittee to direct donated equipment
to worthy recipients. Can you say, "Can of Worms"? Regardless,
at one of our meetings someone mentioned that Hobby Haven now had some "competition"
in large scale stuff, a new Hobbytown store out in Urbandale, so I thought
I'd check it out.
After driving around the northwest corner of Urbandale for a half hour or so, I finally located the new store and had a look around inside. The place definitely had that franchise ambiance, which is to say, don't expect to find any old stock on the shelves like you're used to at a well-established enterprise like Hobby Haven. There really wasn't much G scale stock and what was on the shelves was very pricey. Personally, it seems to me that HH's main competition in large scale is on-line and catalog sales. If you prefer a really, really large inventory and can wait a couple of days for your purchase to be delivered, the savings are stunning. After theHobbytown visit, I cruised back through the Short Line Yard area on the way home, but still didn't find or hear much happening.
Late in the afternoon I went east on Hwy. 92 again. A northbound
train (M-KSDMX, I believe) was getting a relief crew at Beech. Two
crew vans were around and one went to the south end of the siding to line
the switch for the main. The other van's crew was just starting to
move the train north
in the siding as I arrived at 4:36. On the point were UP 2166 and 2191. They were
to meet a southbound and hoped to then move north to Des Moines or at least
Carlisle, but they ended up having to cut the crossing in Beech and wait
for a while.
I heard the southbound get a warrant from Beech to Allerton (CP U053 to
CP U365 on the Trenton subdivision) and, at 5:00, heard them hit the detector
near Hartford with 500 axles at 41 mph. They arrived at Beech at 5:09,
with UP 4601 and UP 4089.