Assorted Encounters

Late May and June

Tuesday, May 23 - Southbound at Carlisle

On one of what have been numerous trips to Menards for supplies lately, I intercepted a southbound freight climbing the hill out of Carlisle at about 10:20.  Leading were a few fading UP units, UP 2485, 2225, and 2372.

Wednesday, May 31 - Suddenly, It's 1973!

I pulled up to the post office in Indianola and found a Rock Island high-railer across the street from me.  At the wheel was Tim Grimm, who'd constructed this machine from assorted sources.  He even put his grandfather's old number, 73079 on it!  Rumor has it that Tim's tried it out on the rails somewhere and found it operates just fine.

Monday, June 5 - Grain at Pleasantville

At my new home near Pleasantville I've (naturally) set up an antenna for my scanner so that I can keep track of the railroad radio traffic nearby.  Reception is good and it's easy to be in position for moves on the BNSF's Des Moines branch as well as activity on the UP Spine Line near Beech.  On this sunny morning, I went into P'ville to catch a grain load coming through around 8:30.  The train had plenty of power, BNSF units 5516, 7734, 7767, 8734 and 739.

Thursday, June 15 - DMOWQM, Runnells to Pleasantville

I've been spending quite a bit of time lately working on the elevated tracks in my new train room.  The track support structure is made of material left over from trimming the addition to our home.  Working in the train room affords me time to keep an ear on the scanner, and today I heard the Des Moines branch train getting its air test (on the NS freqency, 160.440), and calling the BNSF dispatcher when it left Des Moines (on 160.695).  It's generally at least an hour before the train covers the 25 miles or so between the yard and P'ville.

Today I decided to try to intercept them a little closer to the city, and drove toward Des Moines along the railroad's route.  As I was coming into Runnells about 12:15, I heard the train report that they were at MP 55.  I'd just passed a sign for MP 52, so I went just west of town and parked at a grade crossing.  After what seemed like quite a long wait, the West Quincy train arrived.  On the point were BNSF 134, GCFX 6072 (GEC - Alstrom Transport), and BNSF 7850.  I got a couple of shots of the two trailing units, 6072 and 7850, before heading back east along the route.

I next intercepted the train as it came off of the Des Moines River bridge.  I turned onto Dubuque St. for another couple of shots as they approached the grade crossing and started up the Pleasantville grade.  Just a mile south along a gravel road I caught them again on Erbe St. (our place is just a few miles east on the same street) as they worked up the hill.  Another short drive and we were at the Pleasantville siding, with the train crossing 40th Street.

Tuesday, June 20 - Stalled on Pleasantville Hill

Susan and I were on our way out for supper when I heard a Des Moines branch train telling the dispatcher that they'd stalled and were going to back down the hill to try again.  Instead of turning south and driving toward town, I continued west on Erbe St. until we got to the tracks, where a grain train was stopped with the power just south of the grade crossing.  They soon started backing, and as the head end came by, the conductor leaned out the cab window and yelled, "We'll be right back!".  They stopped with the head end still in sight and, in a few minutes were moving toward us again.  This time they made it up the hill.  Locomotives for the grainer today were BNSF 625, 4793, 5089 and 4820.

Sunday, June 25 - CIGRS Meet

The Central Iowa Garden Railroad Society met in Des Moines this month, at the home of Fred Loveridge.  Fred and companion Ethel Herrig (yes, we call them "the Mertzs") have a garden layout that covers most of Fred's back yard.  The setup features lots of details and scenes that Fred's created, along with carefully trimmed plants and ground cover.  Here are a few images from the meet:
Susan and I host the meet in July!

Monday, June 26 - DMOWQM

I went into town just after lunch to run a couple of errands and heard an eastbound go through as I was walking back to the Jeep.  They'd just crossed G-40 as I gave chase, running east out of Pleasantville, south on 60th St. and then back west on Jesup St. to a grade crossing for the intercept.  They had a couple of blue and yellow Santa Fe relics in the lead, BNSF 8739 and 8734, followed by a GE in Heritage paint, 8636.

Friday, June 30 - Another Grain Load

Yesterday (as I type this), I heard that a train was called out of Des Moines late in the morning, 11:15, if I recall correctly.  I went after something in the garage about 12:30 and could hear motors over on the branch line, so I drove into town and waited for a while by the P'ville siding.  When nothing appeared after a few minutes, I went back north and then west on the first gravel, Geneva Drive.  I caught this grain train at 12:45, coming up the hill with a pair of warbonnets, BNSF 754 and 623, followed by BNSF 4698.  I got a couple of additional shots as they pulled the hill and then went back to the siding to catch them again as 754 led the cars through Pleasantville.

That's It! (Except for a many-train excursion to Creston last Tuesday that I still have to write up.)