Trip to Iowa for B&SV
July 9-11

Photos by J. David Ingles

The Boone & Scenic Valley was the closest "significant" Midwestern tourist line to me that i'd never experienced, for various reasons, so in mid-July, with a good weather forecast (not hot or humid, but sunny), we drove to Iowa to ride and photograph it. As we headed home on Sunday, the weather clouded up and began a rainy period, so we timed it well.

First stop was at Mineral Point, Wis., to get a good photo of the old Milwaukee Road depot.

After an unsuccessful look around Cascade, Iowa, my last time through there, this time we again found the narrow-gauge Bellevue & Cascade 3- foot-gauge boxcar on display next to a small museum. I had photographed it once, on a gray day years ago. Meantime, the neighborhood has built up, and you cannot see this from the old US 151 thru town anymore. It's southwest of the business district.

On Saturday morning en route to Boone, I had to photograph, again, the famous "Lincoln Highway bridge" in Tama, Iowa, next to which is a new (to me) display and plaque.

In downtown Boone, there is a nice C&NW mural, and an ex-RI caboose on display.

Before we got to the B&SV, UP ran an eastbound grain train for us.

We "chased" the Charles City Western interurban between the B&SV and a new downtown replica depot stop. Alas, I did not "get" this genuine ex-Fort Dodge, Des Moines & Southern interurban mileage this day, as the car quit running about the time I planned to ride it in the afternoon.

This photo was made before we got car 50 in action; I measured the "city route" on a parallel street, between this depot and B&SV's main facililty; it's 0.6 mile.

Since B&SV runs its Chinese JS-class 2-8-2, 8419, on Saturdays in summer, I scheduled myself to make a midday trip behind it, and we caught it just getting ready to come into the station area, from a yard to the west.

B&SV's other steam engine, Canadian-built 2-8-0 17 off the Roberval & Saguenay, later of Crab Orchard & Egyptian freight short-line fame in southern Illinois, is displayed northeast of the station.

The JS would push this train, of cabooses and coaches, north up the line, and pull us back.

Before departure, there was time to shoot some of the other equipment around the depot area.

I can't recall if this is an ex-CGW unit, or not; it may be ex-C&NW 1003, which could mean it's ex-CGW. The scheme used by CGW as an EMD design.

The RS1 is really ex-Lake Superior & Ishpeming from Upper Michigan, but B&SV has done a nice job with one of the several schemes Minneapolis & St. Louis used on its largest RS1 fleet. Steve Glischinski chartered a photo freight in the fall with this unit.

B&SV also has some South Shore cars.

Before the steam train's departure, the interurban came back from downtown, and then UP sent a freight westward.

Ready to go.

View of the Des Moines River valley looking northwest, from the high tributary creek bridge, highlight of the ride.
The eastern side of the high bridge. The view down.
The view, back to the west side, back toward Boone. Someone on board had this leafless season view of the bridge in interurban days.
Sign on the west side of the track north of the bridge, looking back across it toward Boone; Milespost 39 is, I assume from Fort Dodge on the old FDDM&S.

Soon we crossed the Des Moines itself, but on a low-level span. Looking southward, toward the locomotive, still on the west side of the bridge.

Not every rider was impressed with the views.

After crossing the Des Moines, we paralleled it on the south (or west) side; this looks north.

Now we're heading back, being pulled by the 2-8-2. On the grade after the high bridge, we came to a stop for a while, and for a time it appeared the RS1 would have to come out and rescue us; a steaming problem of some kind was being encountered. But we wound up limping in, perhaps 20 or more minutes behind schedule. The line is fairly straight, not many opportunities for even slight curve shots such as this. We passed their lunch train, which had tucked into a siding on the south side near the low bridge, across from me; I and many passengers switched sides of the train for the return, as they suggest, to equalize people's ability to look into the valley from the high bridge.

East side of the low bridge, over the Des Moines.

Looking across the car to the west; the water was high.

The high bridge once again, east side.

Finally back into town, we pass the spot where my first shots of the 2-8-2 were taken.

I think this unit is ex-Army, not FDDM&S.

This GE came from the Iowa State University power plant in Ames, lettered for the ISU Cyclones.

This ex-VIA FP9 powers the lunch, dessert, and dinner trains.

The RS1 was out on the main east of the depot after we detrained, ready to power the afternoon run, thus depriving me of a good train action shot of the 2-8-2.

My pair of coming-and-going action as the RS1 pushes the afternoon train out of town.

I was ready to ride the interurban, but when it pulled in from downtown, it got trapped by the engine-change on the big train, and the motorman, who had no passengers, told me he was done for the day.

Here's the north end of the dinner/dessert train.

Before heading for the UP's new Kate Shelley high bridge, we went into town for the best angle, afternoon, of the old freight house, east of the main drag, then poked around the B&SV back lot out to the west. B&SV has a lot of junk out to the west, all but one item of which I didn't bother to photograph.

The old back-road bridge over the Des Moines north of the Kate Shelley bridges is closed now, so we first camped by the UP on the east side, having driven out from town. The sunlight was right down the pipe by this time, but hey, I don't get out here often. First we found this eastbound, parked (Boone is a crew-change, and like Clinton, Iowa, things back up), and shot him here, then went back a mile or less to the east and camped on an overhead "rainbow" back- road bridge.

In this telephoto view to the west from the bridge pictured above, you can see how the new high bridge causes a "shoofly effect" detour for trains. This one is still parked where we shot it a few minutes earlier, just west of the road we crossed to make that photo two photos above. Note the concrete ties, but only on the north track, the ones the loaded Powder River Basin coal trains use.

A cropped view. The old Kate bridge is gated off across the tracks, thus preserved.

And surprise -- here comes a westbound, a short manifest, or "junk train."

The close-ups were slides, of course. The eastbound now has his ditch lights on and is beginning to come into town.

The eastbound heads into town.

We then drove back to the west end of Boone, south to old Highway 30 (the Lincoln Hwy.), which feeds into the 4-lane new 30, which has a low-level Des Moines crossing. We took the first road we could, gravel, north and then back east for the more familiar look at the Kate high bridges, from the southwest, and found the next eastbound, a stack train, parked on the bridge, waiting its turn to get into town.
Note the two structures and their different supports.

Just as I made these shots, he began to move into Boone.

We went back up and out to the west, then north on the first road, also gravel, for this view east toward the curve just west of the bridge, showing where the new alignment diverges to the left from, and is higher than, the old C&NW double-track. We just missed a good shot of another train here.

This is that westerly bridge from the road.

Back to Ames for our motel, and a shot in town of the old C&NW depot. The next day began cloudy, turned to rain, and we drove more or less straight home.

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