Des Moines
December 22nd and 23rd

Wednesday, 12-22

Jan and I made another quick visit to Des Moines on Wednesday morning. We'd had a light snow overnight and the thermometer showed just 8 degrees. Although the road was fairly clear, someone had just slid his pickup into the median by the Middle River bridge. Help was already on hand so we kept moving.

We'd heard a southbound get a warrant as we came up Hwy. 65, so I headed for the Maury Street crossing south of Short Line Junction. We could see the headlights of the approaching train when we got there. A friendly crew honked (really awful horns on the unit!) and waved as they approached us. On the point were UP 3048 and SSW 9693. They were by us at 10:40. Later we heard the detector south of Carlisle report them at 218 axles.

We knew that another train had just arrived and tied down at Easton, so we headed up there. The crew (plus some extras) was just being taken off the train when we arrived at 10:50. This train had two units, UP 3356 and 4143. YDM-63, with UP 1698, had come up the Fort Dodge line and was heading into the yard at the same time.

On the way into town we'd seen a Santa Fe unit switching at the west end of the NS Glake Yard, so we went down there for a look-around on our way home. In the yard we found the switcher, SF 3406, plus five units parked northwest of the yard office: BNSF 6376, BN 7859, BN 6707, BNSF 6954 and BNSF 2454. I wonder if the CN merger will eventually produce more strange paint schemes around here?

As trains approach the UP yard here in Des Moines, crews are often asked if the units need any supplies. Along with drinking water, one often hears requests for "Crew Packs". If, like I, you've ever wondered just what these were, here's the consist:


Distributed by: Custom Packaging Co. Inc., Louisville Kentucky
6 Paper Towels
6 Moist Towelettes
1 Small Roll of Tissue Paper, Single ply - uncut, (approx. 4 inches by 10 yards)
    (the above appeared to have been cut from a wider roll)
1 Waterless Grime-Free Antiseptic Skin Cleaner (1/4 oz.)
1 Sheet of Waxed Tissue with Perforated Cut-Out for Toilet Seat
1 Curad Plastic Strip Bandage, 3/4 inch
1 Black Plastic Litter Bag
1 Highway Grade Crossing Accident Report form
1 Near Hit or Failure to Stop Report form (postage paid postcard)
1 Non-Complying Locomotive tag w/attaching string
1 Bright Pink tag, plain, w/attaching wire
Here are a couple of images of the contents:

Thursday 12-23

The clan had started to gather in Indianola for our several family Christmases. Aaron and Christy arrived on Wednesday afternoon and Byron and Tammy were to appear on Thursday. Aaron and I took off for Des Moines mid-morning so that he could do some camera shopping at Leiserowitz. He bought the new Pentax body (ZX-M) and we set out to give the new camera a try.

When we were leaving the camera shop around 11:00, we saw an IAIS train stopped to the west of us. I drove down to the south side of the tracks behind the Meredith Co. so we could get some pictures. Aaron popped in batteries and film and so forth while I got a couple of shots and waited. The IAIS train was eastbound and was pulled by units 408 and 468.

We headed next for Short Line. I gave Jan a ring and she said that she'd heard dispatcher Myra (MDG) saying that they would be running coal trains on the Spine Line again. Aaron and I had heard earlier that there was one called before noon today. When we got to Short Line, Job 63, with UP 1602, was stopped just north of Dean Avenue and waiting for permission to back up.

After they cleared, the coal train started south toward us. They came into sight around 11:40 with UP 6662 and two SP units, 193 and 117. Aaron kept busy trying out settings and lenses. The coal train had fairly new MARX cars, built 5-99.

We went to get some lunch and returned to the junction in time to catch the EADM as it came into the yard at noon. On the point were CNW 6819, UP 3602 and UP 9712. We took a few more pictures, with Aaron substituting a long lens when they stopped to get the switch onto the IAIS mainline. From discussion on the radio it sounded like only the CNW unit was operational.

On the way out of town we stopped by the NS Glake Yard to check out some power parked there. The units that Jan and I had seen the day before were gone, replaced by BNSF 8909, 7334 and BN 2335.

Thursday evening we had Christmas with my mother, who'd found her way to Hobby Haven. Thanks, Mom! (f2.8, 1/5 second, handheld, BTW)

That's It!