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Western Railroad Discussion > Spine Line Action and Locations


Date: 07/10/19 17:45
Spine Line Action and Locations
Author: cr7998

The Spine Line between St Paul and Des Moines has long been one of my favorite subjects west of the Mississippi River.  It has a fascinating history, from Rock Island to C&NW to Union Pacific.  Another attraction is that it's a north-south line through an area where the predominate traffic flow is east-west, so there are some interesting crossings and junctions.   Although traffic volume is much less than on the Chicago-Omaha main, one can usually find something happening with a little patience (and luck).  It also seems to have a fair amount of local traffic.  Here are some shots from my most recent visit on May 30-31, 2019.  

1.  These two locomotives were sitting at an elevator at Garden City, IA, the Spine Line main in the foreground.  The Geep is obviously of CRANDIC heritage, and have no idea of the heritage of the SW1.  The rails into the elevator did not look like they had been used for a while, and there were no cars on hand.  Perhaps this elevator only ships occasional unit trains???  
2.  Close up of the SW1.
3.  Southbound coal empties south of Buckeye, IA.  

 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/10/19 18:05 by cr7998.








Date: 07/10/19 18:04
Re: Spine Line Action and Locations
Author: cr7998

4.  Southbound on the Spine Line passing Mills Tower in Iowa Falls, which once controlled the diamond crossing with the IC line to Omaha.  This shot taken from West 2nd St.  The tower stands in the Mills Tower Historic District, with a caboose and a couple of small M/W buildings.  The historic district is fenced, not sure when they are open.  
5.  After the UP southbound cleared, a westbound CN train passed the tower, also taken from West 2nd St.  This was an IC tower and the operators were IC employees.  Oddly, West 2nd St is on the east side of town.  
6.  The old Rock Island depot at Hampton has been moved into the Franklin County Fairgrounds, a short distance west of the Spine Line, and visible from Central Ave, the main east-west road.  
 



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/10/19 18:23 by cr7998.








Date: 07/10/19 18:20
Re: Spine Line Action and Locations
Author: brc600

The SW-1 was in CRANDIC colors as it was owned by Iowa Power and Light, one time CRANDIC parent company. Circa 1997, the unit was brought to Council Bluffs Iowa Interstate shop, overhauled and sent to Garden City. I have pics of it in IP&L/CRANDIC colors.

cr7998 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The Spine Line between St Paul and Des Moines has
> long been one of my favorite subjects west of the
> Mississippi River.  It has a fascinating history,
> from Rock Island to C&NW to Union Pacific. 
> Another attraction is that it's a north-south line
> through an area where the predominate traffic flow
> is east-west, so there are some interesting
> crossings and junctions.   Although traffic
> volume is much less than on the Chicago-Omaha
> main, one can usually find something happening
> with a little patience (and luck).  It also seems
> to have a fair amount of local traffic.  Here are
> some shots from my most recent visit on May 30-31,
> 2019.  
>
> 1.  These two locomotives were sitting at an
> elevator at Garden City, IA, the Spine Line main
> in the foreground.  The Geep is obviously of
> CRANDIC heritage, and have no idea of the heritage
> of the SW1.  The rails into the elevator did not
> look like they had been used for a while, and
> there were no cars on hand.  Perhaps this
> elevator only ships occasional unit trains???  
> 2.  Close up of the SW1.
> 3.  Southbound coal empties south of Buckeye,
> IA.  
>
>  



Date: 07/10/19 18:21
Re: Spine Line Action and Locations
Author: cr7998

7.  Northbound train tied up on the south side of Mason City, IA.  Tracks on the left go into an ethanol plant.  I believe Mason City is a crew change point, can someone verify?  View from South Pierce Ave.
8.  A southbound local crew is coming under 19th St SW in Mason City, en route to the ethanol plant on the south side of town, after dropping some cars at the interchange with the Iowa Traction.  The diamond crossing with the Iowa Traction line is just north of the bridge.  The frolicking ducks have had plenty of water this year.  
9.  Another view at the same location, from South Pierce Ave.  This shot gives some evidence of how much rain has fallen in the Midwest.  There were plenty of farm fields under water, and unfortunately some farmers won't be able to plant this year.  
 








Date: 07/10/19 18:34
Re: Spine Line Action and Locations
Author: cr7998

10.  A southbound train stopped south of Manly, IA, waiting for an opening into Mason City.  
11.  A southbound train of covered hoppers (potash?) passing through Manly, with a CP and a BNSF redbonnet.  I'm guessing this train came off the CP at the Twin Cities.  
12.  Just north of the state line, a northbound local is in the siding at North Gordon, waiting on a southbound.  
 








Date: 07/10/19 18:42
Re: Spine Line Action and Locations
Author: cr7998

13.  Another shot of the northbound local at North Gordon, MN with the long lens, taken from grade crossing of 120th St at the north end of the siding.  
14.  The local was waiting on this southbound train of coal empties.  
15.  Unit on the rear of the southbound train.
 








Date: 07/10/19 18:50
Re: Spine Line Action and Locations
Author: cr7998

16.  The northbound local departed North Gordon after the southbound cleared.  At Glenville, MN, the local is setting off 16 cars for a bio-refining plant.  View from 160th St.
17.  Another view, same location as #16, with the bio-refining plant.
18.  After making the set-off, the local departed for Albert Lea with four cars.  
 








Date: 07/11/19 00:07
Re: Spine Line Action and Locations
Author: JasonCNW

Yes Mason City is a crew change point and Home terminal.
JC

Posted from Android



Date: 07/11/19 07:46
Re: Spine Line Action and Locations
Author: ntharalson

The Geep at Garden City is indeed ex-Crandic, nee-MILW 300 something.  

Nick Tharalson,
Marion, IA



Date: 07/11/19 14:36
Re: Spine Line Action and Locations
Author: ns1000

Nice pics!!



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