Just west of Nevada, Iowa, the UP's double-track east/west mainline is connected to the north/south "Spine Line" by a pair of wyes and a short section of single track. The Spine Line, as the C&NW began calling it, is the former Rock Island line between Kansas City and Minneapolis by way of Des Moines, Iowa. The north wye, called "K.C. Junction", is at mileposts 181.5 and 182.0 on the westbound track (left-handed). The south wye, called "Chicago Junction", is at mileposts 106.0 and 106.5 on the Spine Line. The UP has added a new siding just southeast of town.
To reach the junction, follow U.S. highway 30 east from Interstate 35 at mile marker 111 (Ames, Iowa) for about 6 miles. The southernmost switch of the junction on the Spine Line is just under the highway overpass. County road S14 goes north from just east of the overpass, and crosses two legs of the south wye, which is called Chicago Junction. County road E41 parallels the double-track mains on both sides of Nevada. To the west a couple of miles you'll find Ames yard. To the east, the road crosses over the Spine Line and then crosses under the east/west mains, as does the Spine Line track. These crossings are at the right edge of the map above. There is a new siding on the Spine Line just east of Nevada.
No single location will allow you to see all of the traffic at both junctions, so you'll have to rely on your scanner to tell you from which direction the next train will appear. A detector near Colo (MP 173) will announce westbounds for you on "track one" (unless they've been reversed, of course).
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