ex-CNW 1776 MoW Crane February 25, 2013 in Ritter, Iowa to assist with tipped hoppers.

ex-CNW 1776 MoW Crane February 25, 2013 in Ritter, Iowa to assist with tipped hoppers.

Earlier this week I traveled to Nebraska for some personal business. I wasn’t planning on putting aside time to train watch, however the opportunity presented itself several times as I was traveling. In the end i had the chance to capture pictures of three Union Pacific Maintenance of Way cranes.

I spotted the first one on my way down Highway 60 through Iowa north of Sheldon. As I approached the grain elevator, trackside headlights caught my eye. I figured I had some time to catch maybe a switching job so I took the exit and headed towards the elevator. To my surprise they were not locomotive lights, but lights from an ex-Chicago and North Western Railway crane.

As I made my way down the road to find a spot to pull over I noticed another surprise, a string of covered hoppers resting on their sides. From the looks of it they may have been overturned by the recent snow storm.

Tipped covered hoppers in Ritter, Iowa. February 25, 2013.

Tipped covered hoppers in Ritter, Iowa. February 25, 2013.

On Tuesday a friend and I took in a few trains along the active Union Pacific mainline through Fremont. I had my radio with me and we listened as the dispatcher rolled trains through mile-post 43 with a 25 mile-per-hour speed restriction and the requirement for bells and horns as they approached. We were at MP 42 so after a few trains passed we ventured up to see why the limit was in place. We found a crew performing bridge work.

Bridgework at Mile Post 43 along Union Pacific mainline in Fremont, Nebraska. February 26, 2013.

Bridgework at Mile Post 43 along Union Pacific mainline in Fremont, Nebraska as a speed restricted coal train rolls past at 25 miles-per-hour. February 26, 2013.

On Wednesday as I headed back to Minnesota I caught another Union Pacific crane sitting by the elevator in Hinton, Iowa. At first I thought it was the same one I had seen at the beginning of my road trip, but as I organized my pictures back home I realized it was a different model and the end of the boom was a different color.

Union Pacific MoW 903060 sits at an elevator in Hinton, Iowa. February 27, 2013

Union Pacific MoW 903060 sits at an elevator in Hinton, Iowa. February 27, 2013

In all, my non-railfan trip proved pretty productive.

About Chad Leigh Kluck

Chad Leigh Kluck
Originally from Nebraska, I am a history and railroad enthusiast currently living near Saint Paul, Minnesota. I enjoy trains, photography, and nostalgic memories, as well as the history of transportation, agriculture, eateries, breweries, and railroad towns. More...

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