A 22 Train Day - Nevada and Marshalltown
Thursday, October 27



Simpson was on Fall Break Thursday and Friday of this week, so I took advantage of a good weather forecast and headed for Des Moines early in the morning.  There was a clear sky with a little ground fog and a temperature just above freezing when I left the acreage at 6:30.

Approaching Carlisle on Hwy. 5, I could see a southbound coming up the hill on the Spine Line.  It was a little early to get good pictures of this manifest with UP 4347 and 5162 on the point.  The Hartford detector reported 292 axles and I later heard the dispatcher address the train as the CPKC.  I turned off at Carlisle and followed the rails north toward Avon Lake.  There I found a northbound freight, with UP 3918 and 4096, parked just south of a grade crossing.

I continued north toward Des Moines and turned off the Hwy. 65 Bypass on Vandalia Rd.  I could hear some radio traffic nearby and guessed correctly that there was another northbound at the "BN" diamond just south of Maury St.  This train, with CN power leading, was making a crew change at 7:25.  They weren't quite ready to pull, so I drove on up to Short Line Junction and parked west of the yard.  I could hear an NS unit bringing a set of grain hoppers north and saw it crossing the UP line just before 8:00.

The train that had been making a crew change started north at 8:06 and I drove down to catch them at Market St.  This manifest was pulled by CN 5676 and UP 9220.  After they'd cleared the old Wabash diamond, the Norfolk Southern crew returned from it's work at the elevators with NS 5540, a GP38-2 with a rather small fuel tank.

During another quick look around Short Line I heard a southbound talking to the yardmaster so I headed north to Hull Ave. Yard.  I found the ADM switcher working the "Bean Plant" and a northbound transfer job pulling into the yard with UPY 1194 and UPY 1432.  At ten 'til nine the southbound, which had met the above CN-led train at Broadway, pulled to a stop north of the grade crossing.  This manifest, an Eagle Grove to Des Moines train, was powered by UP 3426, 3671 and 3279.

I jumped on I-235/I-35 and tailed CN 5676 north out of town.  Dispatcher MDG, "Myra" announced that she was having a bad morning, and when the CN crew called wondering if they were going to have to spin their second unit at Nevada, the sarcastic reply was, "Oh, wonderful!"  As it turned out, they did not, but they were stuck for a while at CP U106 for some track maintenance work.

When I reached Chicago Junction, around 9:30, I found another merchandise train waiting on the west leg of the wye to go toward Des Moines.  This train had an interesting set of units, UP 9096 followed by BNSF 6399.  Another southbound waited on the Spine mainline southeast of Nevada with two CN units, CN 2507 and CN 5504.

After a short pit stop at Casey's in Nevada, I started east along the UP's double track mainlines.  I could hear several trains calling for permission to pass through Form B limits and decided to pull up at the crossovers at Clear Creek and just wait for traffic.  At 10:00 an eastbound stack train stopped to wait for a signal and was told by the dispatcher that "...there's no place for you to go."

It was 40 minutes before the signal cleared for westbound traffic on Main 2.  The first train came through at 11:12 with UP 5443 and 9836 followed by general merchandise.  Twenty minutes later UP 4885, 3602 and 4742 came through with a solid consist of loaded autoracks.  By this time another eastbound had stopped near Colo behind the first.

At 11:47 the eastbound stacker got its signal at Clear Creek.  A third westbound was already in sight by this time.  The eastbound stacker was pulled by UP 3829 and 3894, the westbound intermodal they met at the crossovers by UP 3838, 5391 and 4668.  After these trains passed it was a short time before another arrived, a CEFX coal load with four units, UP 7201, 6038, 8236 and 5857.  I decided to follow this one over toward Marshalltown.

I caught up with 7201 just east of State Center, but had to wait for the train to pass before continuing on the gravel.  They slowed and stopped short of Lamoille and I had a chance to visit with the foreman of some work being done on the mains to improve drainage and stabilize the track.  At 12:40 the coal load was released and rolled east toward Marshalltown again.  The engineer took my picture from the cab window as 7201 passed.  I waited by the grade crossing at Lamoille for the PRCB, which I'd heard leaving West Marshall.  They came by at 12:52 with UP 3081 and 3021.  From the scanner I learned also that the "Dumb Dumb" was getting ready to pull out on the mains and return to Des Moines.

I got some takeout from Taylor's Maid-Rite and parked by the rails in Marshalltown.  7201 went through and the DMDM, with 7700 feet of train, worked its way out of the yard while I waited on other traffic.  I drove down to the east end of the yard, and at 1:34 nearly missed a westbound DP CWEX coal empty with UP 6841 and 8077 on the point and 8105 trailing.

At 1:45 an empty autorack train passed with UP 3778 and 4250.  A westbound MARX coal empty with a single unit, UP 6747, arrived at 2:00 and met another empty autorack train pulled by UP 4530, BN(HLCX?) 7199 and UP 4791.  I watched some work equipment arrive at the east end of the yard and then took a quick inventory of the locos parked by the engine servicing facilities, LLPX 2284, UPY 545, UP 9042 and UP 9038, before starting back toward Nevada.

Form B discussion on the radio tipped me off to an eastbound and I stopped to get pictures of this manifest with UP 9473 and 4532 as it sped through State Center.  Driving on old Hwy. 30, I met a stacker just west of Colo.  I found a coal empty stopped on the mainlines at Nevada and a manifest holding the Spine main by the Nevada siding.  This train was led by UP 5878 and CSX 8672.

Back at Chicago Jct. at 3:25, a northbound came through with ex-SP UP 2015 and UP 2075.  The DMDM waited to go south on the west leg of the wye.  Its power this afternoon was UP 9063, 2979 and 2978.  They rolled onto the Mason City subdivision at 3:30 and the chase was on.  I've been outrun by southbounds here many times, but today I caught the DMDM at the White Oak crossing and they slowed considerably on the hill into Elkhart.  I was in position for pictures as they approached and blasted through Enterprise.

That's It!