I got an invitation a couple of weeks back from Mark Van Wyk to go to the Great American Train Show in Kansas City. Assured by Mark that it would be much bigger and better than the recent Des Moines one, and that we'd be able to take some time to do some train-watching, too, I agreed to go. We met at the junction of Hwy. 92 and I-35 at 7:00 a.m. and proceeded south at a high rate of speed.
With Iowa's 65 mph and Missouri's 70 mph interstate speed limits, KC is a pretty easy trip. We arrived with lots of time to spare before the 11:00 opening of the GATS at the American Royal building. After checking out the entrance, we went south a short distance to the "west bottoms" and the Santa Fe junction interlocking. Several train-watchers were already present, and it turned out that three of them were BNSF engineers from the northwest part of the country, in town for two weeks of training at the Johnson Community College center. We talked with them and with a retired Santa Fe engineer who was there with his grandson.
There was plenty of traffic, particularly on the Santa Fe mainlines that curve around at the base of the bluffs forming one corner of the junction.
Mark was sure that he'd been at some other interlocking nearby, so we went exploring. On the other side of the river, in front of the Union Pacific Freight Station, we found a small diesel, labeled GATX 4-230 and Bartlett and Company, Unit 1. We poked around the area for a few minutes before going back to the Missouri side again.
Before long, we located the other junction that Mark remembered, the old Union Depot Interlocking, right next to the 12th Street viaduct. Several trains were waiting to go westbound. BN 7014, 4087, 40 and SF 5030 were on the point of a manifest right under the viaduct. At 2:45, a coal load, of DEGX, ECGX and JHMX cars, behind OWY 9082, BN 5560, GECX 3005 and BN 7093 came around the bluff and into the yard area by the viaduct. At 3:00, we watched as another coal load came in behind a couple of SD-70 MACs. I was anxious to get back home, but allowed myself to get diverted from the interstate long enough to check out the area where BN services the executive train equipment.
It had been relatively warm in KC (-3 when we left at 7:00, and +45 in KC by noon), but as we drove back north, we watched the temperature drop back below freezing again. Just south of the Iowa border, we ran into a winter storm. We 911'd in a report of a station wagon in the ditch at Iowa mile marker 40. By the time we made it back to highway 92, we'd seen several vehicles off the road and the northbound traffic on I-35 had backed up behind a sanding truck.