Fort Madison, Burlington, Ottumwa and Albia
Friday, December 29
Susan and I made a short round trip to Keokuk on Thursday and Friday of our
Christmas break. We stayed in Fort Madison at the Kingsley Inn, a place
with a good view of BNSF mainlines, both the "K-Line" and the old Santa Fe
double track. I got a few images from the
window of our room as the sun rose over the Mississippi, including an
eastbound intermodal empty and a westbound set
of automobile cars behind UP power.
After breakfast we went to the Amtrak station where, at 8:40, we found an
intermodal sitting just behind the depot with BNSF
4437, 719, 5378, 5362 and 4736. I think 4437 takes the orange fade
competition, well into yellow. At 8:45 a stack train pulled up for
a crew change with BNSF 4672, 4197, 820 and 4081. At the same time, the first train pulled
east toward the bridge, having been informed that they would be waiting for
the drawbridge to close.
With a bit of time to use while the bridge was open, I drove back through
the city and got in line to cross into Illinois. After the bridge spun
back to allow rail and rubber traffic, we went just across to Niota and waited
for trains. At 9:23, the intermodal with 4437
that we'd seen at the yard rolled off of the bridge on Main One and I got
images of the lead unit, 719, 5378 and 4736. At Niota, 4437 crossed back over Main
Two and made room for westbounders to approach the bridge. The first,
at 9:32, was a stack train pulled by UP power,
4493 and 3702. Just eight minutes behind
came a BNSF powered stack train. The engineer
put out the headlights as they rounded the corner.
The lead unit was 4976 with under repair 4321 following.
We headed up river and stopped at the Burlington depot to intercept an eastbound
intermodal making a stop for a crew change
at 10:17. BNSF 4362 and FURX 7925 were on the point of the trailer train. A couple of units were parked
south of the depot (helpers?), BNSF 9948 and
9968. Before the intermodal pulled down
to the bridge, a westbound train came across, dropped off one man, and notched
back up to climb Burlington hill. This train had CEFX 3118 and CSX 4739 with a set of brand new (12-06 build date) TGNX tub gons. From
their appearance, I'd say they were heading for their first trip to the mine.
As soon as the trailers on Main Two were out of the way, a coal empty on the K-Line came
north. This PNJX set with BNSF 5679,
5820 and 6085 on
the point crossed over onto Main 1 to follow the
shiny TGNX cars up the hill.
I'd put in a call while we were in Burlington to see if there would be any
chance of intercepting Amtrak No. 6, but Julie's train was 10 1/2 hours
late today. We'd undoubtedly be at home before they got anywhere near
our part of the state. Our next stop along the BNSF was the Ottumwa
depot at 3:00 to watch a long westbound manifest
with five units come by. Leading the freight cars were BNSF 9893, CEFX 6001 and 6002, BNSF 4259 and EMDX
747. This train took long enough to pass that we missed a coal load that rolled through behind it
on the south main.
We got to Albia at 3:50, just in time for two trains. The M-DMOWQM was just giving up its warrant to "West
Restricted Limits Albia". Right after I stopped for the above picture,
I could hear the horns of a westbound coming from Maxon. This turned
out to be the same manifest we'd seen going through
Ottumwa with 9893 and the ex-SOO CEFX units. As
the manifest cleared the Des Moines Branch train got its signal and came east, led by BNSF 8702,
8075 and 6357. Susan
stepped out of the Jeep to watch the trains and got a nice wave from the DM local's engineer. Before we
left for home, I took a couple of pictures of the helper power parked by
the yard office, BNSF 5936 and 6040.