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