Riggins with little brother Charlie and little sister Sadie.


Friday, June 18, 2010

Fort Madison Friday

Got up at 05:00am, noticed the windows were wet and the cover on the truck had water on it so we must have got some rain last night while I was sleeping. Good old Sam who can will sleep through, trains and tornadoes'. Ask Donna about that one. The temperature is 73 degrees and it looks like it is making to be a sunny day. If you are a train nut this is a great place, just sitting here having coffee, four have gone by so far, I noticed something this trip that I had only seen before on heavy coal train’s, What they call helper or for our British friends Banker engines. These are extra engines added to long trains to assist in keeping speed up. Most of the trains going by here are going from the Chicago area to California and back to Chicago, although the Texas lines connect at Kansas City so you have Gulf and Mexico traffic now too. The trains usually consist of solid mixes of truck trailer and containers on flat cars and they speed limit here is 70 mph, occasionally you will have a junk train with boxcars and refrigerators, tanks of chemicals,and others cars, but the majority of freight today goes in trucks and containers, this railroad BNSF hauls more truck trailers than our interstate highways. I noticed that most trains have engines on both ends and some even have a third engine in the middle, all but the front are radio controlled, much like the model trains we run at the club. As I am writing this train number five is approaching it looks like a solid train of grain cars, or covered hoppers. Since they are sitting higher on the springs I am going to assume they are empty and going to grain elevators to be filled with the first go around of grain, is it getting to be that time already, while it is going westbound an eastbound train passed on the other side, this one is solid containers called double stacks because they are stacked two tall, a lot of Eastern and Canadian lines can’t do the two high because of lower clearances, but here and out west they don’t have that problem. I was talking to a railroader at the station yesterday and asked about the pusher’s and he said they call it distributed power and that the ones with three sets are usually about 10-12000 feet long, wow, that’s two miles of cars. Are you trained out yet?

fortmadison sunrise06-18-10

     How about a Fort Madison Ia. Sunrise

I had to deal with a common problem last night, I went to get a box of donuts out of a cupboard and there were ants in there. Where do they come from?  I washed the cupboard and then sprayed it and today while I am gone I will put a bomb out in the lower cupboard and that should do it, I looked in all the others and the closet and couldn’t find any others. but they sure found the food.  Didn’t see any on the last trip, but who knows they can climb aboard anywhere, just a nuisance for a short time. In a little while, about 06:30am I will run over to the McDonalds and get a biscuit and check my mail in their wi-fi.  I guess I can post this too and then if anything else goes on later I can go back and make a later post.


                 BNSF train going 70mph

Hope you are all safe, I kind of miss not having Rigg’s with me, but he would be a hand full while trying to take pictures, let alone knocking the tripods over. Be safe out there. Sam & Donna..


  1. Thanks for the chat about trains. I remember seeing a very long train somewhere, maybe California but more likely Arizona or New Mexico when we did our Big Road Trip in 2005. We were astounded by the length of it. As you can imagine Our trains, here in New Zealand, are quite modest ..... it was a childhood game to count the cars or wagons but I've forgotten the numbers now. I guess 50 cars would be a long one.

  2. Great sunrise picture, Sam. I love watching trains go by so I kind of envy the spot you're in. I never knew what they called the extra engines on those long trains, so thanks for the info!

  3. Make sure the "ants" don't go back and bring the uncles with them. OK...I know that was a bad joke.

    Truthfully, I'm sorry you had the problem with the ants. They are real pests, and like you said, "where do they come from?"

    Anyway....hope you guys have a great weekend.

  4. Thanks for all the great info on trains. I don't know much about them so it was a great learning experience. Sounds like you are having a great time and getting in some photography too. Have fun!!

    Mike & Gerri (happytrails)

  5. I'm sure glad it's you and not me with all those trains. :)

  6. Very soon next week I am going to publish a blog on our stay at Palastine, TX State Park...The steam trains ran from there to Rush Texas, and around Christmas they had people dressed in period clothing riding the train...Sam would be in 7th Heaven! I am not sure if that state park still exists..they were having financial problems...imagine that.