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Boone and Scenic Valley Railroad 9/8/2023

by Chris Guenzler

Elizabeth and I arose at the Kansas City Airport Quality Inn and following our Internet duties, drove to Cracker Barrel where I had pancakes and bacon and Elizabeth had French Toast. We then discovered our left front tire was low on air so we drove to Phillips 66 petrol station to fill it. It seemed to be fine from then on and we continued to Boone, parked and Elizabeth went and picked up our tickets and was in line when I found her.

Boone & Scenic Valley History

The Boone & Scenic Valley is operated by the Iowa Railroad Historical Society, a non-profit, volunteer-driven organization which is dedicated to the preservation of, and educating the public about, the history of Iowa's railroads. Besides the railroad, the operation includes the new James H. Andrew Railroad Museum and History Center. Today's B&SV got its start in 1893 with the discovery of coal west of Fraser. A railroad was built to haul the coal and extensions were soon made to connect to other area railroads. By 1907, the system had reached the cities of Fort Dodge and Des Moines. Soon a power plant at Fraser was finished and the line was electrified. In 1913, the current steel high bridge over Bass Point Creek opened, replacing the wooden trestle originally spanning the valley. After the power plant closed due to flooding, the last interurban cars operated in September 1955. Diesels soon took over what freight still existed. In 1968 the Chicago & North Western purchased the Fort Dodge, Des Moines and Southern Railroad for $50,000. By 1983, the freight business was over and the 11-mile line from Boone westward through Fraser and to near Wolf became the property of the Boone Railroad Historical Society. The first trip handling passengers was made in November 1983. The current depot opened in 1985, built to resemble the Rockwell City, Iowa, station. The electric operations to downtown Boone started back up in 1988.

Boone was established in 1865 as the new railroad town of Boone Station or Montana Station. It was located a mile-and-half east of Boonesboro, the county seat of Boone County. The name Boone came from Nathan Boone of Missouri, the tenth and final child born to Daniel and Rebecca Boone. About a mile east of Fraser, the railroad crosses the Bass Point Creek High Bridge, a series of deck plate girder spans measuring 754 feet long and 156 feet above the stream. Fraser itself was laid out in 1893 by the Fraser Coal Company. The line west of here has been damaged by repeated floods, providing a round trip of approximately fifteen miles.

The train station at Boone is milepost 41.9 while Kale Road at Fraser is milepost 34.6. The electric route heads east from the Boone station for about 0.7 miles. The Iowa Railroad Historical Society has a large collection of equipment. Probably most famous is JS8419, a Chinese 2-8-2, built by Datong Locomotive Works in October 1988 and purchased new by the BSV in 1989. The railroad also features a number of diesel locomotives. Alco RS-1, built in 1951 as Lake Superior & Ishpeming 1002, has been restored as the 244, painted in Minneapolis & St. Louis Railroad blue. The F9A 6540, started life being built in General Motor's London plant in 1953 for the Canadian National. After passing through a number of hands, the B&SV acquired it in 2002 and painted it to match the "Overland Route" cars of the Dinner Train. Also here are BSVR NW-2 1003, South Shore Line 106, Fort Dodge & Des Moines 2254, Union Pacific S-4 1098 and the unique snowplow, CNW XSC 28300 MWK. Finally, the most powerful diesel on hand is Union Pacific 2921, former Southern Pacific 8385 SD40T-2 "tunnel motor". The trolley operation features Charles City Western car 50 which is a 38-seat, 48-foot semi-steel combine was built by the McGuire-Cummings Company of Paris, Illinois in 1915.

Our Trip

Before I boarded the train I walked down and photographed the motive power.

Boone & Scenic Valley NW-2 1003, ex. Chicago and North Western 1003, nee Grand Trunk Western 7914 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1942. It was retired in the early 1970's, sold to Precision National Corporation, rebuilt and sold to the Chicago & North Western in 1973. In March 1986, it was bought by the museum.

I then used the washroom and joined Elizabeth in "Valley View", Chicago and North Western's transfer caboose 12517 built by the railroad in 1964.

Chicago, South Shore & South Bend combine 109 built by Pullman in 1926.

Chicago, South Shore and South Bend coach 38 built by Standard Steel in 1929.

Chicago, South Shore and South Bend coach 39 built by Standard Steel in 1929.

Fort Dodge, Des Moines and Southern 80 ton switcher 2254, nee United States Air Force 7858 built by General Electric in 1942. In 1983, the Air Force deemed the locomotive as surplus, and it was purchased by the Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad. The unit was a "good fit" for our railroad as the Fort Dodge, Des Moines and Southern Railroad, one of our predecessors, owned and operated very similar locomotives in the 1950's and 1960's.

Boone and Scenic Valley RS-1 244, ex. Continental Grain in Pickering, Iowa, exx. Calumet and Hecla Railroad 205 1967, nee Lake Superior & Ishpeming 1002, built by American Locomotive Company in 1951. In 1996, it was donated to the Iowa Railroad Historical Society and is currently painted in Minneapolis & St. Louis Railroad blue.

Boone and Scenic Valley FP9A 6540, ex. Northeastern Kansas Railroad Museum 6540 2002, exx. VIA Rail 6540, nee Canadian National 6540, built by General Motors Diesel in 1958. It was retired in 1991 and purchased by the railroad in 2002. They painted it in a scheme similar to the Chicago and North Western and use to power the railroad's dinner, dessert and picnic trains.

Chicago, South Shore and South Bend coach 102 built by Standard Steel in 1926.

Chicago and North Western box car 161710 built by Pullman-Standard in 1969.

Chicago, South Shore and South Bend coach 106 built by Standard Steel in 1926.

View looking toward the rear of the train.

Minneapolis & St. Louis 50 foot flat car 23653 built by the railroad in 1947.

Hallett hopper car 9913.

Kansas City, Memphis & Birmingham Railroad side dump car X504.

The line of cars to photograph as we went by them.

Hallet hooper 0704.

Chicago Great Western one-dome tank car 285 built by the railroad.

Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific caboose 17059 built by International Car in 1967.

Chicago and North Western snow plow X262707, builder and year unknown.

Chicago Great Western box car X4100 built by Pullman-Standard, year unknown.

Leaving the car behind on our journey.

These greenhouses have been abandoned.

This trip started by passing many corn fields along our route.

The train went under Pilcher's Bridge as it started down the two-precent grade on this railroad.

Dropping steadily to the Bass Point Creek High Bridge.

The train started to cross the Bass Point Creek High Bridge.

Crossing the bridge, a series of deck plate girder spans measuring 754 feet long and 156 feet above the stream.

Elizabeth and her shadow.

Later we passed the Des Moines YMCA Camp but there we no campers here today.

The train crossed the Des Moines River.

Elizabeth's and my shadows.

View along the Des Moines River.

Rose Landing, the location where the Rail Explorers rail bikes turn around; the same company that operated out of Boulder City, Nevada.

Two more views of the Des Moines River.

Views looking forward.

The road crossing the river where the steam engine rained down cinders on all of us during the 2012 National Railway Historical Society convention excursion.

Looking back down the river.

We reached Fraser Siding, our turn-around point and in a few minutes, were returning toward Boone.

The gravel pit siding where the Rail Explorers railbikes go to on trips so they can be out of the way of the trains.

Approaching the Des Moines River bridge.

Crossing the Des Moines River.

North Pole Workshop 99705.

The train and the North Pole Workshop 99705.

About to cross the Bass Point Creek High Bridge.

Crossing the Bass Point Creek High Bridge.

Going under Pilcher's Bridge.

Minneapolis & St. Louis snowplough X6, built by Russell, year unknown.

Chicago and North Western F7A built by Electro-Motive Division in 1949 which was stored in Cheyenne, Wyoming, since the 1990's then saw service as one of the railway's executive trains in the 1980's and arrived in Boone on Friday, March 10, 2023. It had been awaiting delivery in Council Bluffs, Iowa, since December 2022 when it had been left there by the Union Pacific donation train en route to the Railroading Heritage of Midwest America in Silvis, Illinois when that train was re-routed through Des Moines on Iowa Interstate Railroad.

Rail Explorers pedal-powered vehicles waiting for passenges to ride in the future.

Chicago and North Western TR2B 65B, ex. Chicago and North Western 1103, built by Electro-Motive Division in 1948.

Union Pacific S-2 1098, exx. Archer Daniels Midland, ex. RELCO 1031, nee Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis 575, built by American Locomotive Company in 1942. In 1997, 1031 was donated to the Iowa Railroad Historical Society by ADM. The Union Pacific Railroad was instrumental in moving the locomotive to Boone. Therefore, when the time came to repaint the locomotive, it was painted into Union Pacific's well-known colors. In October 1998, the locomotive emerged from the Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad's shops as Union Pacific 1098. That number is significant in that it signifies the date the locomotive was returned to service. Even though the locomotive never belonged to the Union Pacific, the number 1098 also fits into the series of numbers the Union Pacific did use for that particular model.

Southern Pacific 10-6 sleeper 9044 "City of San Francisco" built by Pullman Standard in 1950 and rebuilt with a large observation platform.

Union Pacific dining car 4810 "City of Los Angeles" built by American Car and Foundry in 1949.

Boone and Scenic Valley FP9A 6540.

Chicago Great Western caboose 606, built by Pullman-Standard in 1946..

Chicago and North Western caboose 11068 built by International Car in 1964.

Chicago Great Western caboose 202 built by the railroad in 1882.

After detraining, we purchased two t-shirts, coffee mugs and pins then departing Boone, we were stopped by an empty Union Pacific coal train then made our way straight to Marion, Iowa. We went to Perkins Restaurant where I enjoyed a steak and Elizabeth had pot roast before checking into the Best Western Longbranch Inn where I did our laundry and Elizabeth attended the Central Coast Chapter NRHS board meeting on Zoom before we retired for the night.