Jacob and I make a "Guy's Trip" to KC!
Saturday, October 8, 2016
Most of the crew was already in Mr. Kasper's basement when we arrived. In addition to Joe Kasper and the four of us, the operators on-hand included Paul De Luca, Joel Priest, Steve Priest, Eric Goodman, Keith Robinson, Mike Ditmars, Jacob Ditmars, Greg Murray, and Larry Tiffany.
Even more impressive is the home-made CTC panels designed specifically to operate this railroad. Housed on three walls of the tiny dispatching office, the three CTC panels can keep two dispatchers very busy during an operating session!
Mark's railroad takes up three rooms in his basement and is primarily a switching road with a number of "zones" of industries and yards along the route. There is one job that runs the length of the railroad, picking up and setting out cars along the way. All of the other jobs work in designated areas.
All of the jobs call for two-man crews. Jacob and I would work together on the Gibson Yard switcher. We were given two switch lists. There was a lot of work to do! Several maps of the zones and track numbers assisted with the moves to be made. I think we only got through the first switch list.
Dan Munson and Joe Brice worked the Beer Hauler. This was the only other job we interacted with during the session. They dropped cars off as they passed in both directions. A second trip was begun to pick up all of the outbound traffic we had accumulated during the shift!
Rule G does not apply on this railroad! A great time was had by all. In addition to Jacob and myself, the list of operators included Dan Munson, Joe Brice, Bob Willer, Lou Steenwyk, Paul De Luca, Keith Robinson, Jeff Carlson, Greg Murray, and Mark Steenwyk.
Needless to say, instead of calling it a night, we spent several hours taking night photographs around KCUS. A slideshow of those images is below:
Sunday, October 9, 2016
We managed to shoot a couple of trains from the bridge in splendid daylight. An eastbound BNSF stack train and a UP coal train made quick appearances. The sit-down breakfast did have Dan Munson suffering from GEVO withdrawal so we charted a course for the BNSF St Joseph Subdivision with the intent of intercepting train M-KCMKCK1-07 which had a pair of GP50's in charge.
The I-435 bridge over the St. Joe Subdivision on the very western edge of Parkville, MO yielded a nice vantage point to photograph this train. BNSF 3160 was in the lead. This is one of five GP50's built with an experimental "extended cab" deigned to offer crews more room. This rare catch looked great in the morning light.
Continuing on the St. Joe Sub we caught two BNSF coal trains meeting at Waldron, MO and then found train H-SIOKCK1-08 rolling through the former double-track bridge at Platte City. CSX ES44AC-H 3180 was in the lead...GEVO withdrawal cured!
Next it was off to Steve Priest's house where we got to take a look and some of the top-secret projects he is working on. Among other things in his basement is his latest HO scale model railroad under construction. This railroad is his freelanced Santa Fe St. Louis Subdivision. As expected, the work going on there is second-to-none!
There was still some more time for shooting before out 1800 operating session at Eric Goodman's house so we headed to Parkville, MO. Here we found Hondo, TX to Columbus, NE train U-HOTCNB7-06 beginning its trek on the St. Joe Sub towards Lincoln. While I was working in Lincoln, ADM Columbus was probably the highest-focus customer we had. It was nice to see this train destined for the Bellwood Sub and Columbus, NE...and not be responsible for it!
We made the obligatory pass by Mid America Car. I was pleased to see BNSF 2701 there for overhaul and painting. This locomotive was assigned to Lincoln yard service while I was there. The 2701 was probably the crew's least favorite because it did not pull very well. It was generally kept in industry service. Regardless it was good to see the 2701 again.
An empty UP coal train caught our attention next. We followed this train across Kansas City, by the River Market area to the West Bottoms and into the Fairfax District. There was nothing special about this train with a particularly ratty looking AC4400CW leading the way, but is was headed the right direction and the light was good.
With the chase ended at Fairfax, we grabbed a couple of shots of a UPRR remote control yard job switching. We had several failed attempts to connect with some friends who were blocked by trains in the west bottoms so we all headed again for Union Station. Some BBQ from neighboring Fiorella's Jack Stack in the Freight House was ordered to go and we tailgated next to the KCT main line. Not a bad evening at all!
In lieu of running one of the many Santa Fe Warbonnet powered hotshots, Jacob and I took the old Wellington Local with an awesome trio of Santa Fe GP30's for power. These were Proto 2000 models re-powered with Kato GP35 mechanisms. They ran great!
The crowd of operators here was quite lively! We had a blast. Track Inspector Bender even made an appearance on the radio. I think the M-KCDV train spent most of the session in one siding primarily due to the engineer's conduct on the radio...HA HA HA! Let's hope no one pulls the tapes.
We switched our industries at Augusta, El Dorado, and Helix while dodging mainline trains. The Santa Fe office car special even ran with a pair of silver-and-red FP45 locomotives up front. It was a pleasure to operate on the same crew with my son.
Monday, October 10, 2016
Branded "RideKC", operation began on May 6, 2016. Four CAF Urbos 3 model 100 vehicles make up the entire fleet. With ridership levels considered a success, plans are under way for future expansion.
The was a streetcar stop only a few short blocks from the Brice's loft, so we walked. In short order a car showed up and we hopped on. It is free to ride so there was no hassle buying tickets.