Condren Family 2011 Vacation Aug. 15th

Digital Photos by Mike Condren

It rained the next moring so I did not get any shots of our friends home or the Baker University campus, much to my regret. We then got back on US 59 to Lawrence where we picked up I70 to Topeka.

We discovered this BNSF office building in downtown Topeka.

We discovered the Brown vs Board of Education National Historical Site southeast of downtown,

The State Capital building in Topeka, KS is undergoing extensive renovation to the exterior.

The Kansas River bridge just north of downtown Topeka.

The Marshall County courthouse in Marysville, KS.

This is a former bank building in downtown Marysville, KS.

Pony Express Home Station No. 1 is the only home station on its original site. This statue of a horse and rider sits on the site where the Pony Express route passed through Marysville, KS.

First Menonite Church west of Beatrice, NE

Burlington station in Beatrice, NE.

The Nebraska State Capital building in Lincoln, NE.

When we get to Grand Island, NE, I dropped Jan off at the motel and headed track side. I found this caboose near the BNSF flyover of the UP northeast of downtown. But, as you can see, I missed the lead power of a loaded BNSF unit coal train.

I did get the DPU of the above mentioned BNSF unit coal train, the first of many unit coal trains over the next 3 days.

Unit coal trains and beards have been an important part of my life since Jan. 1977 when I shot my first one on the KCS railroad in OK. This train serviced a mine in WY and a power plant in TX. It was so cold that day that I began wearing a beard. Shortly there after, I had my first date with the librarian of The College of the Ozarks. At the end of July that year, we wed. On the trip to meet the in-laws, I showed them a picture of that first train on the approach of the Arkanas River bridge in which the entire train was visible. They were impressed so I made them an 11x14 print which hung in their home till their death. It now hangs in the entrance to our Tahlequah home and a duplicate hangs in the train room in the basement. I have wore a beard in the winter ever since and most summers. On this visit to WY we will get a guided tour of one of the WY open pit coal mines, see the Aug. 19th page.

The UP has quite an impressive line-up of signals at the west end of their small yard in Grand Island. They govern 3 mainline tracks and leads to two separate areas, a small yard on the south and a branch to the north. This crossing would be my base of operation that afternoon and the next morning before our departure.

My next train was an empty UP unit coal train.

I hear the next BNSF loaded unit coal train pulling hard on the grade of the flyover and position myself for some shots.

This long lens shot shows the local power in the yard at Grand Island.

The next train was a loaded unit coal train which met a westbound vehicle train just east of the BNSF flyover.

All of this action in less than and hour. I then headed to the motel to pickup Jan for supper. My coverage of the action continued after supper until dark.

The first train after supper was a slow moving train into the yard which blocked the crossing I had been using.

About that time a loaded BNSF unit coal train came by. After which we had to use the underpass to get to the north side of the tracks.

We missed the head end of a loaded unit coal train but got the DPU from the north side of the tracks.

The slow moving freight is finally in the yard and another westbound is visible in the distance.

In the meantime some light engines appear from the west on the same track so the westbound had to wait until the light engines cleared.

In the meantime a loaded unit coal train appears and heads east.
By the time the DPU shows, the westbound has a clear signal at my location.
The loaded coal train and the westbound general freight meet in the distance.

The westbound general freight with a clear signal turns out to be our last train of the day and the end of the second day of our vacation.

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