Rails & Trails Pages

Monday, October 28, 2013

Kaw River RR

On October 25, 2013, while attending the Lexington Group meeting in Kansas City, I took a ride on a Yaw River Railroad, the ride arranged by friend Barry Karlberg.  The Kaw River RR is a WATCO property and the train I will be riding is a transfer run from the Kaw River RR yard to the Norfolk Southern yard.  The Kaw River runs on former Kansas City Terminal trackage and connects with the Norfolk Southern Railroad, the Union Pacific, the BNSF, the Kansas City Southern (KCS), and the Canadian Pacific.  Our power today is the set of affectionately-named "Yellow Bananas."  They are GP35Rs, meaning they have been rebuilt to GP38 specs.  Our engineer is Laurie, a 13-year vet and our conductor is Aaron, a 9-year veteran of the Kaw River RR.  Here are our engines:

And here's a shot of them paired, taken from the 'net:
We're ready to leave with 21 loads and 9 empties.
We get clearance as far as the BNSF main and are off.
We will take the right leg of the wye as a Union Pacific train passes overhead.
We go under the UP train as we cross the Kaw River.
We have a red signal as a long BNSF manifest heads west into the mammoth Argentine rail yard.
Above the UP train is the BNSF "Flyover," another mainline track leading to the Argentine yard and relieving pressure on the other mains.  Too bad a train wasn't on the flyover at this time or I would have had a 3-level "triple shot"!!!
We get clearance and head out onto the BNSF main. 
 You know you are in Kansas City when . .
The above pix are from a large stock sale or show at Kemper Arena.  This is the site of the former large KC stockyards.  Continuing on our way . . .
We head uphill to the right as a UP coal drag passes by on its mainline.
Almost to the top of the hill, on a curve, we encounter a red signal and have to stop.
It's a tough pull to get this heavy train started again.
We will be crossing the Missouri River on a beautiful bridge.
We pass the KC downtown airport.
And head into the Norfolk Southern's yard.
There's a training session going on and the trainees are practicing getting on and off a moving engine.
It's a long ways to where we leave our train.
I was surprised to see how few railcars there were in the NS yard.  Laura said their business hasn't rebounded from the recession.  Kansas City is the western terminus of the Norfolk Southern Railroad.  The big box cars are for the Ford plant and the major business here for the NS.
Thanks much to Barry, Laura, and Aaron for a fun cab ride and learning a little about Kansas City railroading!!!

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