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