Our Christmas celebrations with the relatives were on Thursday and Friday, so things had quieted down pretty well at home by Christmas eve. As we have the last couple of Christmases, Jan and I did some train-watching along the BNSF on Christmas day. We drove first down to Chariton, Ma in her kerchief and I in my cap?? We had a nice bright, calm morning, just below freezing.
We knew that Amtrak had already been through this morning, pretty close to on time, in fact. On the way down Hwy. 65 we heard 9833 East get a warrant at MP 376. By 11:00, Dispatcher KRS was talking to a couple of westbound trains at Albia, a GALCRI and GALLIN. We drove to Chariton and parked near the Roland Street grade crossing.
9833 arrived just before noon. With a light breeze from the west, we'd been listening to the train come up Whitebreast Hill for perhaps 10 minutes before we heard horns at the west end of Chariton. BNSF 9833 was alone on the head end of AEPX cars. Before long, the trailing unit, BNSF 8888 appeared. The Russell detector reported 516 axles for this train.
We grabbed a little lunch and headed for the west end of Chariton for the expected westbounds. Just west of the Curtis Street crossing, Track Inspector Ellis, with his high-railer on the eastbound track, was tightening some bolts on the westbound.
The first of the two manifests came through at 12:20. This was the GALCRI with BN 2334, BN 2112 and BNSF 2115. The GALLIN was close behind at 12:40. On the point were BNSF 548, LMX 8589 and BN 7916. The GALCRI had 81 cars and the GALLIN 79, according to the detector and our calculations.
After the two manifests we didn't know of any other trains in the vicinity, so we drove west to Osceola. We saw the GALLIN just rounding the corner and going into town as we came over the Hwy. 34 overpass. About twenty after one, it sounded like there might be a load coming out of Creston, so we decided to wait for it. Just after 2:00, I fell into conversation with Pat Greene and just about missed the train. They came by the Osceola depot with UCEX loads behind BNSF 9743 and BN 9528 at 2:12.
After this train, we headed back home and didn't hear a thing on the scanner all the way back.