Fort Madison, Burlington, Ottumwa and Albia

Friday, December 29

Fort Madison

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.

That's It!