Jan and I headed north to catch UP 844's passage across Iowa, arriving in Ames about 10:30 in the morning. There were already some foamers at the grade crossings and waiting around the Ames depot, even though the scheduled arrival wasn't until 1:10 in the afternoon. Between Nevada and Ames, we stopped to watch an eastbound coal train behind UP 7015 and 9192, and talked to a young man from Minnesota who did not know the cruise train's schedule, and had been waiting there since midnight!
In Ames, it was business as usual on the UP, with freight such as this westbound behind CNW 6885 and UP 3657 rolling through every few minutes. The crowd around the depot continued to grow through the morning, eventually reaching proportions that represented a problem for freight traffic. There was no crowd control whatsoever in the area, and children and adults placed coins on the rails and rushed the double-track right of way after the passage of each train. Naturally, the local media were on hand, too. By early afternoon, things were pretty well out of hand, as you can see in these pictures of trains by the depot:
Many of us with cameras hurried a block and a half east to get some close-ups of 844. Here's a set of pictures and sounds:
I was about to climb back up to the highway when Jan informed me that another southbound was already out of the junction at Nevada. This turned out to be a train we'd seen earlier in Ames, with UP 2911 on the point, followed by two EMD units. We paced this train south clear to Enterprise before getting back on the interstate and heading for Indianola.