Saturday, April 9, 2016

Weekend Trains

One of the questions we were often asked when we first moved into our retirement home was, "Don't the trains bother you?" Truthfully, we wondered if they would, but we knew from living in the airport flight path and on a bus route in West Des Moines, that after awhile you don't even notice the noise.
We both actually like hearing and seeing the trains go through which is a good thing since our house is so close to the tracks. (Less than 200 yards?) Creston is one of three Amtrak station locations in Iowa. I don't even have to see the passenger trains, I can differentiate them by sound. Eastbound Amtrak comes in around 7:00 a.m.; Westbound departs around 9:30 p.m.

Most of the trains coming through are coal trains. Going east, loaded; west, empty.
They show up in photos whether I plan it that way or not.

Our youngest grandchild, Devin, has changed a lot since this picture was taken six years ago. He will graduate high school next month.
He's always enjoyed fishing with grandpa Bud.

Even in a photo of a setting full moon being reflected in the surface of the pond, there is a train on the tracks.

I think it is because fewer coal trains are using the track that weekend train watching is more interesting. The trains then are shorter with more diverse cars.

There are freight cars, tanker cars, hopper cars, and flat cars. These weekend trains are always a mixture of cars.

Green Burlington Northern hopper car.

This faded red car makes me think of Madison County's covered bridges.

First time I've noticed a car like this one. The writing says "Thoroughbred Protect Temperature Car(?) Transport". I always wonder just what is being carried by these trains.

Mystery car.

A tank car of some sort. I think it is supposed to be black and white but the black ends have faded to gray. I see these and think, "panda".

It can be fun to try deciphering the 'tags' found on many of the cars.

The last car of this train. Tagged, like the one before it.
I miss cabooses. It doesn't seem right that the last car is just another car. The caboose always told you, "End of Train!"

Just as I wonder what is in the cars of a diversely made up train, I often wonder about the passengers on an Amtrak train - where they are going? Who will be there to meet them? Why they are traveling by train? What are their stories?


  1. I'm so looking forward to visiting this summer, hearing the booms and thinking, "Train or thunder?" :-)

    1. Looking forward to your visit, too. A couple new stores uptown for us to check out.

  2. Ooh, yay! We'll go chopping, and have coffee on the deck, and have a tea party, and get 'lizzards, and go Wallygagging. Oh, and celebrate Christmas. Too much fun!