Galesburg Railroad Days 2000

June 23 and 24

Friday, June 23

My son Aaron is a visiting artist-in-residence at Knox College this summer and has a spare bedroom in the quarters the college provides, so I arranged to come over and stay with him on Friday night and take in Railroad Days on Saturday.  I got out of Indianola around 7:15 on a fairly warm and humid morning, planning to train-watch my way over along the BNSF.  On the way down to Hwy. 34, I picked up plenty of discussion about traffic this morning.  4932, the DENGAL, was out of Creston at 7:00 and there were also a couple of coal loads out and running.  Amtrak No. 6 was not expected at Creston until 10:15.

As I went east from Chariton to Albia, I could hear the Russell detector and EOT "beeps" announcing trains nearby.  Just before 8:00 I heard the detector annouce a 512-axle train on Main 2.  Undoubtedly a DP load, and the high-pitched squeeks on the EOT channel confirmed that.  Once I reached Albia, I could hear a train honking for the crossings in the southeast part of town.  I made a quick pit stop at Hardees and drove out to Maxon.  At 9:00 a coal load, BN tub gons, came up the hill.  On the head end was BNSF 9882 and on the rear BNSF 8956.

I'd decided earlier to check out the construction of the Cargill spur from the corn plant at Eddyville down to the BNSF mains, so I cut across country from Avery to the plant.  Just southwest of the plant, beside the UP branch to Maxon, they were clearing an area parallel to the tracks.  I drove south from the plant on "county line road" (T-61) until I came to signs indicating that H-21 was closed to the west.  I drove back west on H-21 and found earth-moving equipment constructing the subgrade of the new spur.  The connection point to the mains appears to be under construction just west of T-61.  A crew was there doing some field welding on a new switch when I came by around 9:30.

I drove east to the overpass by the power plant near Chillicothe and waited on the bridge for the DENGAL, which I knew to be just a few minutes behind me by now.  They arrived just before 10:00.  On the point were BNSF 4932, BN 7099 and BNSF 8080.  I paced them into Ottumwa and saw them again from the viaduct at 10:15.

By this time I'd heard the dispatcher (RGR substituting for the vacationing KRS) talking to a train (BNSF 8849) in emergency at Agency.  Eventually, they finished inspecting their train and found nothing.  They reported their delay as 9:25 to 10:35.  I continued east on Hwy. 34 and passed the 9882 stopped under the Hwy. 16 overpass.  Because of trackwork, all the eastbound trains were going to have to run left-handed and were going to cross back over at Lockridge, where a switch tender was waiting this morning.

I stopped in Fairfield to catch the delayed train.  This was a DP load, JE hoppers, with BNSF 8849 on the front and (I found later) BN 9717 in back.  I got a picture of the head end at 11:00 and then drove on to Lockridge.

At Lockridge I found a westbound manifest stopped east of the crossover waiting to use the north track.  From the sound of things, they would probably have to wait for several trains, possibly including Amtrak.  At 11:38, 8849 arrived to make the meet and cross back over to the south rail.  The manifest power was all older BN MAC's, 9535, 9434 and 9493.  As you can see by the images, the day was getting gradually cloudier.

I encountered a new bypass on Hwy. 34 at New London.  The business route's not completed yet, but I drove into town just in time to see a westbound slip by me at 12:20.

I stopped at the West Burlington shops to get a couple of images. Switchers BNSF 3612, 3645 and 3615 were parked a few tracks in.  The nearer tracks, south of the large shop building, were filled with old GE units.

I grabbed some take-out in Burlington and drove down to the South Street crossing near the Mississippi bridge.  Some work was being done on the westbound between the grade crossing and the curve toward the bridge near the K-Line connection.  At 1:23 8849 caught up to me and pull-pushed its train over the bridge.  Shortly after this train, a ballast regulator started up just east of the grade crossing.

BNSF 9882 was just 20 minutes behind at the bridge.

I dove back to the bottom of the hill north of the depot to catch the DENGAL.  It arrived at 2:28 and rolled around the corner to pass the yard and depot.

The Zephyr was not far behind, so I caught it at the same spot.  The horns (104K .au file) echoed nicely off of the "canyon" of buildings leading down the hill.  In No. 6 today:

ATK 1 and 89
Baggage 1248
Transition Sleeper 39036
Sleepers 32068 and 32037
Diner 38065
Sightseer Lounge 33047
Coaches 31510, 34079 and 34005
Sleeper 32041 (occupied?)
Boxcar 71197
Material Car 1538
Boxcars 71089 and 70040
3 Roadrailers
They stopped at 2:43.  I took off eastbound into Illinois.  While crossing the river, I noted that the railroad bridge was turned, keeping the CZ on the Iowa side for a while.  The dispatcher announced that they would be crossing over and would be running on the north track to CP 1705.

I could see lightning ahead of me and the day continued to get darker as I drove toward Monmouth.  The dispatcher said that "4 and 6 are neck and neck" and that she didn't know which would be taken into Galesburg first.  On the way into Cameron I passed 8956 and then 9882, stopped west of town.  I got to Cameron about twenty after three and parked on the north side of the BN tracks west of the flyover.

The load was moved ahead toward Galesburg at 3:25.  As you can see in the pictures, it was just starting to rain.  The Chief arrived first and passed over the bridge at 3:32.  They had quite a bit of freight in back - 11 cars plus 3 Roadrailers.  The Zephyr came though next, just 6 minutes later (I wonder if they've ever "met" at the flyover?) and hurried on into Galesburg.  I'd been joined at my parking spot by 2-year old Trevor and his mom and dad just before No. 4 arrived.  They stuck around for the DENGAL which came by us at 3:40.  Trevor's being brought up right and is already an enthusiastic "foamer".

At this point I went on into Galesburg and located my son's place.  It had been raining lightly but now seemed to be getting worse.  We watched the weather channel and waited for Aaron's wife Christy to arrive from their place in West Dundee.  The forecast didn't sound too good for Railroad Days on Saturday.

Later in the evening the rain stopped for a while, so we went down by the depot for some night train-watching and pictures.  While getting some pictures of Frisco 1522, I heard the unmistakable tenor voice of KRS, who was using some of his vacation to attend RR Days this year.  Static steamer CB&Q 3006, parked east of the Amtrak depot is very nicely illuminated at night, although one of the markers was out.

The Metra train for the yard tours pushed in while we wandering around the area.  We also saw the BN-1 and BN-2 F units.  BNSF had a couple of aged SD's doing yard duty and they also ran a freight or two by us.  I took pictures of LMX 8596, BNSF 8272, BNSF 137 and SF 326 as they passed eastbound on the only rail remaining in front of the depot.  (These are not the best images, I know, but it was amusing to see how long the flash batteries would hold up.)  We walked all over company property on Friday evening, but were not hassled by the BNSF agents or the teenager cop-wannabes this year.

Saturday, June 24

It rained off and on through the night, but was not when I headed out for some coffee early on Saturday morning.  The respite was to be brief, however.  BNSF was switching this morning with 6132 (in fresh paint) and 6144 (pretty rusty).  I spotted an interesting 8-axle flat (LNAL 70944) labeled "Red 'n Ready" in a cut shoving back into the yard. 1522 was somewhat better lit this morning, although some sunshine would have been nice.

Sometime in the night a big GE, BNSF 4756, had been moved in for display and cab tours.  (I'm not sure what happened with the lighting on these - I may have had spot-metering on by accident.)  Another fan, from Ohio, was taking pictures early this morning, too.  We walked all around the F units and took pictures of a passing freight from the ballast, but were not bothered by the law.  Last summer our camerawork would have been a serious offense.  I noticed that one of the BNSF Blazers near the depot was actually a K-9 unit !  "Sic that railfan, Chopper!  Good dog!"

I went back to Aaron's place and collected them for breakfast and a little more time down at the depot.  By now, a squad from St. Louis was washing down 1522.  If you look closely at the night shot, you'll notice some sort of yellowish grunge on top of the boiler.  The three of us took a tour of the big DASH-9 cab and controls, with Aaron posing for a picture in the cushy hoghead's seat.  (Mischievious look don't you think?)  The first Metra yard tours were just getting underway when we decided to avoid the gathering rainstorm by heading out to the train show at Carl Sandburg College.

Of course, so did everyone else.  The college was packed!  By 10:00 it was really pouring.

We checked out all the layouts at the show, including the Great River HO, Northwest N-Track, with a 50-car-long yard, and Heritage N-Track, the latter having a couple of winter modules and a drive-in, too.  I comparison-shopped for an Olmstead book on the Rock Island while Aaron and Christy gradually came to realize that this wasn't your run-of-the-mill "swap meet", but orders of magnitude larger.

We went back down by the depot after getting lunch, but it seemed to just rain harder whenever we considered getting out of the car.  Eventually we went back to Aaron's place, I loaded up the Jeep, said goodbye and headed west.  I couldn't stay for Sunday (I heard the weather was much better) since I had in-law obligations back at home.

I got out of Galesburg around 1:45, and heard No. 6 clear up just before I got to Cameron.  They were doing better today.  RGR was on the Ottumwa sub. again and talking about Kevin, "...up there following his steam train around...foaming about something!"

I figured on intercepting some traffic on the way back, but things were stalled at the bridge.  I heard discussion on the radio of the same train waiting to cross at 2:41 and again at 3:20 as I reached Mt. Pleasant.  I stopped there for a half-hour or so to see if anything would show, but it was quiet the whole time.

I got out from under the wet weather around Ottumwa.  It was apparent that they'd had plenty of rain there since I'd been through on Friday!

I eventually intercepted an eastbound at Chariton at 6:00.  This was a BN coal load, DP, with 9931 on the front and 9992 on the rear.  I took their pictures at the county home cemetery west of town.

That's It!