Christmas Basket at Osceola

Saturday, December 15

Saturday morning I headed for Osceola to catch No. 6 as it came through.  Amtrak's 800- line reported the train just 13 minutes late today.  It was another warm morning in Iowa, 40 degrees at 7:30 and foggy out in the open country.

On the drive down I heard the Osceola detector for Main 2 at 7:43 and figured that one eastbound had gotten by me.  Dispatcher K.D.D. (Karen) was working out a warrant with a track inspector who wanted to run from Chariton to Halpin, and I learned from their conversation that the Zephyr would be running "left-handed" today.

I got to town and parked on the north side of the tracks.  It was just a short time before I heard horns of a coal load.  BN 9601 and 9575 came through at 8:12 with a set of DTCX tub gondolas.  The detector counted 488 axles on this train.

I went into the depot and visited with Pat Greene, who had a collection of goodies ready to give to the engineer and Amtrak crew of the passenger train.  While we were talking the Thayer detector came on the depot's radio as Amtrak came by with a 96-axle train.  Pat called engineer Bill Greenly and asked him to make a quick stop with the head end at the platform this morning.

The California Zephyr arrived at 8:53 and paused for the Christmas presents to be handed off before pulling down for the passengers.  Pat also had gifts for the on-board crew and handed these off after the train made its second stop.  Bill commented on the radio, "Pat, this oughta be good for at least 10 pounds!"

In the consist today:

AMTK 125, 46 and 130
Baggage 1216
Transition Sleeper 39045
Sleepers 32069 and 32062
Diner 38032
Sightseer Lounge 33033
Coaches 31532, 34074 and 34046
Material Car 1410
Boxcar 71006
Material Cars 1420, 1557 and 1525
Eleven Roadrailers
I noticed a variation in the paint scheme on the units that caught my eye this morning.  The striping at the bottom of the sides is done differently on the newer units.

The Zephyr had lots of freight this morning and a couple of the rear roadrailer units were double-bogied, accounting for the extra axles.  The train pulled out and reported their Osceola stop to the dispatcher as ":54 and :58".  The detector east of town counted 99 axles - a few too many, even with the extra bogies!

That's It!

(Actually, to be continued...)