Friday was Spring Break Eve at Simpson College, so I let my 1:30 class go early and called home to see if Byron could do some quick train-watching. He'd come up Thursday and was going to leave Friday night. He was ready to go, so I got out of here as fast as I could. A friend here on campus had loaned me his Apple QuickTake camera, and I wanted to see how it would do on some railroad subject matter.
At home, I heard Amtrak #6 get a warrant from MP 360 (Osceola) to Halpin at about five 'til two. They were running really late! Unfortunately, they were ahead of us, since it takes about a half an hour to get to Osceola. The day was great - 57 degrees and sunny. We had a heavy snow Monday night, so it was pretty wet and sloppy everywhere from the run-off. The Probe made quick work of winding, blacktop highway 69, and we pulled up to the Osceola depot at 2:35.
On the way down, we'd heard the dispatcher give warrants to two westbounds at MP 327 and MP 328, respectively, to "the east yard limit, Creston". The first was to number 9480. "That's an SD-70 MAC", said Byron, who knows things by the numbers. I knew I'd have some good picture opportunities today.
Almost as soon as we parked, we heard the detector just east of Osceola, "...five four degrees, north track, no defects...", and the first train arrived at 2:46. It was westbound hotshot #65, with BN 9480 and 7814 on the point. We expected to see the second westbound shortly, but then heard horns from the west end of town. Like proper train-nuts, we looked at each other, grinned, and started moving into position for the photos.
An eastbound coal train pulled by Oakway 9071 and 9077 went by the depot at 2:54. The next westbound showed up at 3:10. It was mixed freight, #161, with units BN 2338, LMX 8535, and BN 7181.
Listening carefully to the scanner, we were able to sort out the various "OK on the (whichever) side" messages, and decided that there must be more eastbounds on the way. I worked the NYT crossword while Byron listened to the Iowa State/Missouri game.
At 3:40, another coal load showed up with three units, BN 7183, 7879, and SF 8099. In just a few minutes, at 3:52, #168, mostly containers, passed the depot behind two consecutively numbered MACs, BN 9485 and 6.
We decided to head back to Indianola, and heard the detector okay #168, but then immediately announce another westbound! I U-turned and hurried back to the crossing so that we could watch BN 6901 and 8064, followed by many grain hoppers, pass the highway 69 crossing by the depot.
Six trains in an hour and fifteen minutes - a great way to start spring break!