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Burlington Northern Santa Fe

Last Train to Wymore The Story of a Prairie Local by David J. Doering

South Platte Press • Brueggenjohann/Reese, Inc. 1


Acknowledgements This photographic essay about the Wymore Local during the Burlington Northern Santa Fe era has been a project that I have hoped would become a reality for quite some time. As rumors began to surface during the late 1990s of what might become of both the Beatrice and Wymore Subdivisions, I was driven to document the run of the Wymore Local as often as possible, knowing the end could come at any time. This endeavor is not meant to be a complete history of the Wymore Local as it was operated by the BNSF and its predecessor roads. Instead, it is a focus on a mere seven years - a moment in time - of an operation that lasted well over 100 years. I would like to express my deepest thanks to BNSF employees, both current and retired, for their help. They include Bob Carnes, Gus Carnes, Bruce Craig, Marlin Weiner, Don Porterfield, Terry Pett, Jerry Mrkvicka, Bob Newby and Bob Frerking. Their generosity in sharing their work experiences, as well as providing insights into the daily operations of the Wymore Local and the Beatrice Subdivision, made this work more accurate and complete. I also need to thank retired Union Pacific engineer John Essam, who spent many years operating trains across the UP’s Beatrice branch, for his review of the facts regarding the Union Pacific in Beatrice. All of these men are a true reflection of what branch line railroading is all about. A big thank you to my publisher, Jim Reisdorff, who thought this a worthwhile project and for making all the pieces fall into place. I am honored to have Richard C. Kistler

of Superior, Neb., author of The Wymore Story, provide the introduction since this work, in a way, serves as a supplement to his long-acclaimed book on the history of the Wymore Division. Thank you to Randy Fritch of Beatrice for drafting the map of the Beatrice Subdivision. Appreciation is also extended to Steve Snook for his assistance in scanning the images used herein, and to Jim Reese for his talents in laying out this book. Additionally, thank you to BNSF Railway for its permission to reprint portions of BNSF Nebraska Division Timetable No. 4 for Jan. 20, 2002. I would like to acknowledge my Golden Retriever “Casey,” who passed away in June 2008. With him, more often than not, holding down the passenger seat, I could not have asked for a better companion to have along on my Wymore Local excursions. You will be missed. I am also greatly indebted to my dear daughter, Natalie, who spent numerous evenings in her very early years as a captive audience of her father’s pursuit of the Wymore Local. At such a young age, I believe she learned the meaning of the word “patience” as one has to have while waiting on a 10 miles-per-hour train. And to my wife, Peggy, thank you for understanding my fascination with railroads.

Copyright © 2008 by David J. Doering

Front cover: The Burlington Northern’s Wymore Local was southbound, headed for the railroad terminal town of Wymore, Neb., as it passes through Blue Springs, Neb., on Nov. 25, 1995.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, except for the inclusion of brief quotations for review purposes, without permission in writing of the publisher. First printing November 2008. ISBN-13: 978-0-942035-81-0 ISBN-10: 0-942035-81-X email: railroads@alltel.net

David J. Doering Beatrice, Neb.

Back cover: BN caboose (or waycar) No. 10066 was bringing up the rear of a northbound Wymore Local that has just passed under the former Rock Island overpass near DeWitt, Neb., on Nov. 6, 1993. Title Page: BN caboose No. 12594, stenciled for “Wymore Local” service, was at Wymore, Neb., on Aug. 8, 1998. The 12594 had been specifically assigned to the Wymore Local to assure that a suitable caboose for this local was always available at the rail terminal in Lincoln. Note: BNSF and BNSF predecessor railroad paint schemes and related images appearing in this book are the property of BNSF Railway Company and may not be reproduced or otherwise used without the permission of BNSF Railway Company.

website: www.southplattepress.com Printed in the United States of America. 2


Contents

A northbound Wymore Local was at Ella Street (milepost 30.35) in Beatrice on Jan. 18, 1997. The cars directly ahead of BN waycar 12102 contained clay products shipped from the brickyard at Endicott, Neb. Their contents could usually be surmised by the “Do Not Hump” placards affixed to them.

Introduction........................................................................................................................................................................ 5 The Wymore Local.......................................................................................................................................................... 6 Route of the Wymore Local....................................................................................................................................... 9 Motive Power of the Wymore Local.................................................................................................................... 18 Union Pacific Bids Farewell..................................................................................................................................... 28 Last Train Out................................................................................................................................................................. 39 A New Day....................................................................................................................................................................... 46 Motive Power on the Beatrice Subdivision Today....................................................................................... 52 Beatrice Area Railroad Enthusiasts...................................................................................................................... 55 3


Relics from the grandiose days of the CB&Q’s Wymore Division were still extant at Wymore, Neb., when the photographer began visiting there circa 1973. Foremost was the former division office and depot building located at the throat of converging lines from Lincoln and Kansas City (above). The agrarian traffic base that was Wymore is evident from the ex-Burlington, Great Northern and Northern Pacific 40-foot boxcars used for grain loadings. Typical of the motive power then based out of Wymore (below) was BN SD9 No. 6183 (ex-Q No. 436) and BN GP7 No. 1581 (ex-Q No. 225). The remaining four-stall portion of the roundhouse, at right, would be razed within a few years. Another trace was a Burlington Route emblem (opposite) still attached to BN GP7 No. 1578 (ex-CB&Q 222).

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Introduction During the 1960s, while compiling material for The Wymore Story, my book on the history of the Wymore Division, I made many trips to both Wymore and Beatrice in order to visit with retired Burlington Railroad employees. My intent was to learn as much as possible about the earlier days of the division. I heard stories then about working the “big” Kansas City-Denver passenger trains, the local passenger and freight trains on the division, plus the heavy movements of stock and freight through the Wymore yards. One of the favorite work routes of the “old rails” seemed to be the Wymore-DeWitt section through Beatrice. This line had been busy with traffic to and from Lincoln and the “High Line,” (the latter which had operated from Nebraska City to Beatrice and DeWitt to Holdrege). Stories were also told about the old division headquarters at Wymore, where the two-story depot was surrounded by tracks that put it in the center of activity. No trip to Wymore was complete without a meal at the “Narrow Gauge Cafe” up on main street, where railroaders were always present. In the course of this research, I thought back to my own first visit to Wymore in June 1953. At that time, there was still passenger service provided by Lincoln-Kansas City trains via Beatrice and Wymore; and also the Wymore-Oxford motor car train. Freight traffic then consisted of tri-weekly freight service east and west out of Wymore to St. Joseph and Red Cloud, a daily-except-Sunday Wymore-Crete freight, a tri-weekly Fairmont local via DeWitt and also the tri-weekly local to Concordia, Kans. This totaled eight trains each week

day. Wymore’s roundhouse was then occupied only by G6 class 0-6-0 No. 1687 and a company pickup. An SD7 was at the depot to handle switching chores prior to its departure for Concordia. Subsequent changes within the rail industry were not kind to Wymore. The shipment of bulk cement by truck during the 1970s reduced the number of loadings from the Superior, Neb., cement plant that were routed to Lincoln via Wymore. Grain traffic shipped via Wymore, which had originally increased following the 1995 merger between the Burlington Northern and the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe systems, later deteriorated. This left only some local traffic for revenue. Hoped-for plans to retain the Wymore-Beatrice segment in order to afford the BNSF a route around Lincoln, by routing traffic from Table Rock via Wymore to Crete, never materialized. I haven’t had the heart to pay a return visit to Wymore since the rails there were removed entirely. Only memories remain. Fortunately, the following text by David Doering helps to supplement my treatise in The Wymore Story. David’s photographs otherwise depict how those railroaders who worked the Wymore locals admirably carried out their duties until the very end. This was the twilight era of a railroad town that will be remembered by all who were part of it. Richard C. Kistler Superior, Neb.

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The Wymore Local The Wymore Local operated over what was known as the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway’s Beatrice Subdivision of the Nebraska Division. This trackage stretched 41.9 miles from the junction switch with the Hastings Subdivision main line at Crete (milepost 0.7) to the junction with the Wymore Subdivision at Wymore (milepost 42.6) Total mileage covered by the Wymore Local was actually 61.2 miles since this included 19.3 miles that were traveled over the Hastings Subdivision main line from Lincoln Yard to Crete. Origins of the Beatrice Subdivision date back to the late 1860s and early 1870s. The segment from Crete to Beatrice, constructed by the Omaha & Southwestern Railroad and subsequently leased to the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad, was opened in December 1871. It would be almost another 10 years before an additional 12 miles between Beatrice and Wymore were completed in February 1881. The BM&R, which had been a subsidiary of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, was officially merged with the corporate parent in 1904. Subsequently, the Crete-Wymore line was operated as the Crete-Wymore Subdivision of the CB&Q’s Wymore Division. This arrangement continued from 1904 until the Wymore Divison was abolished in April 1960. The Crete-Wymore trackage was then operated as part of the Lincoln Division until the Burlington Northern Railway merger of 1970. Under BN, the line was known as the Nebraska Division’s Sixth Subdivision. The 1995 merger of the Burlington Northern and the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway resulted in the creation of the Nebraska Division based at Lincoln, Neb. Its operations included control over then-remaining former Wymore Division trackage, which included the Crete-Wymore line. Although employee timetables listed Crete-Wymore trains as westbounds and Wymore-Crete trains as eastbounds, geographically, the line ran in a predominately north-south direction. Generally running downgrade from Crete to Wymore, the line dropped about 100 feet in elevation between Crete and Beatrice as the line traveled through the Big Blue River Valley. After crossing the Big Blue River at Beatrice, the line climbed 136 feet in elevation between the river bridge (milepost 31.1) and the highest point on the line (milepost 35.4) before again falling 165 feet in elevation for the last 7.2 miles into Wymore. Most of the subdivision had 85-pound jointed rail dating from between 1906 and 1926. There were, however, a few exceptions consisting of short track segments that were relaid with 100- and 112-pound rail. Also, short segments of CWR 6

(continuous welded rail) were laid on four curves between Hoag and Wymore, plus between the junction switch at Crete and a point just north of milepost 4.36. By 1995, the Wymore Local while operating on the Beatrice Subdivision was numbered 15645 (normally abbreviated to 645) westbound from Lincoln to Wymore. In turn, it was numbered 15646 (abbreviated to 646) eastbound from Wymore to Lincoln. The task of the local was to serve on-line shippers between Crete and Wymore (the few that remained), as well as delivering or picking up cars at Wymore that were interchanged with the locals then still operating east and west out of Wymore. Westbound 645 ran Lincoln-Wymore on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, while counterpart local 646 ran Wymore-Lincoln on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. In its final days, the Wymore Subdivision local that both received and forwarded traffic from the Lincoln-Wymore train served shippers between Wymore and Red Cloud, Neb. By early 2003, the Wymore Subdivsion local made a two-day Wymore-Red Cloud turn on Monday-Tuesday, a WymoreSuperior turn on Wednesday and a two-day Wymore-Red Cloud turn on Thursday-Friday. The Lincoln-Wymore local, circa 1995, normally consisted of empty tank and hopper cars for fertilizer plants at Hoag, Neb., fertilizer loads for agricultural industries along the Wymore Subdivision, and empty boxcars for Endicott Clay at Endicott, Neb. On return trips, the Wymore-Lincoln local consisted of empty fertilizer tanks or hoppers, plus loads of bricks and other products from Endicott Clay. Occasionally, during its last few years of service to Wymore, the local would make a Friday round trip from Lincoln to Wymore. This would happen only if an early afternoon connection could be made in Wymore with the Wymore Subdivision local arriving back in Wymore from Red Cloud. This was done to ensure that cars arriving in Wymore on Friday from points west would not have to sit idle in the Wymore yard until the following Tuesday before being forwarded to the Lincoln yard. This Friday turn needed to be approved by the Lincoln trainmaster. Trainmen on the Wymore Local in its last years were assigned from what was known as the “Wymore Prior Rights Division.” Based out of BNSF’s Lincoln yard, most of the employees resided in Lincoln, with a few living in Beatrice or Wymore. Some who lived in Beatrice or Wymore kept a vehicle at each end of the line in order to be able to travel to their homes nightly. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights, crew members without their own transportation


GP39M No. 2803 and GP39-2 No. 2716 swing off the BNSF Lincoln-Denver main at Crete and onto the Beatrice Subdivision at milepost 1. It’s May 28, 2001, and another run of the Wymore Local is underway.

stayed at the D&M Motel in Wymore. On those occasions when a Wymore Local crew used up their 12 hours of service before reaching their destination, employees from the “Wymore Low Pool” were called as “dog catch” crews to complete the train’s journey. Call time for the Wymore Local at Lincoln Yard was usually about 7 a.m., with departure from either the Low Yard or the Receiving Yard between 9 and 10:30 a.m. However, departure times were not set in stone, with the train sometimes not getting out of Lincoln until early afternoon. This would in turn cause the crew to use up their hours of service and “go dead” somewhere on the line before reaching Wymore. The 41.9 miles of the Beatrice Subdivision was maintained by a section crew based at Beatrice. Wymore lost its section crew in 2000 and its territory, for a short time, was assigned

to the section crew working out of Chester, Neb. When the Chester section crew was abolished, the Beatrice section crew took over maintenance of the Wymore Subdivision from Table Rock to Superior, adding another 122.1 miles to their territory. The Beatrice section crew existed until March of 2002, two months before the Beatrice-Wymore segment was abandoned. The remaining portion of the Beatrice Subdivision was then assigned to the Crete section crew, which otherwise maintains 46.1 miles of mainline on the Hastings Subdivision between Fairmont and Cobb Junction (site of the switch for the passenger line into Lincoln). In still a further development, the section crew was moved from Crete to Beatrice in November 2007. From here, workers now cover both the Beatrice Subdivision and the same aforementioned trackage on the Hastings Subdivision.

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Route of the Wymore Local BNSF train service employees assigned to the Wymore Local, circa 1995, encountered the following stations while in the course of a routine journey to Wymore, Neb. Similar to the duties of hundreds of other freight locals operated by various Class One railroads across the United States, the trip to Wymore required the crew to pick up or deliver freight cars for active shippers along the way. Ruefully, the journey otherwise found the Wymore Local rolling past a number of trackside industries, either closed or still active, that were no longer served by the railroad. Leaving Lincoln Yard, the Wymore Local normally entered the Hastings Subdivision main line for a 19.3 mile sprint to Crete. While no work was encountered between Lincoln and Crete, it was not uncommon for the dispatcher to direct the local into sidings at either Denton or Berks to meet Hastings Subdivision trains. At Crete a junction switch took the local south toward Wymore. The first stop was Crete South Yard between mileposts 1.5 and 2.4. The local’s work here consisted of leaving off or picking up cars for Crete Mills (located near downtown Crete). Farther south at milepost 4.36 is the Farmland Foods pork processing plant. Opened in 1975 and served by a spur off the main track, the plant ships out tank cars of edible and inedible pork byproducts. Next at milepost 5.0 is Shestak. Although never a town site, a grain elevator existed here into the 1950s. A 12-car siding here was sometimes used while switching the Farmland plant or for storing cars. Farther south, the local encountered its first town on the Beatrice Subdivision at Wilber, milepost 11.0. County seat of Saline County and known as the “Czech Capital of Nebraska,” Wilber has a 1,350,000 bushel capacity elevator that stopped shipping by rail circa the mid-1990s. Seven-tenths of a mile south of Wilber was formerly the site of a 47-car gravel spur, its switch being removed in 1986. Traveling another 6.4 miles south, the local reached DeWitt at milepost 17.4. With a population just over 500, DeWitt is probably most famous as the birthplace of the nationally known and sold “Vise-Grip” locking pliers. However, a rail spur that once served this plant was removed long ago. DeWitt was also the junction for the now-abandoned “High Line,” a branch line that extended west to Hildreth and Holdrege. Washouts on the branch west of DeWitt during 1984 brought an end to rail traffic between DeWitt and Tobias, although the rails were not physically removed until 1997. Leaving DeWitt, the local crossed from Saline County into Gage County at milepost 17.9. At milepost 18.2 it passed

under a bridge carrying the Union Pacific’s Fairbury-Hallam branch line. (This branch, which the UP acquired from the Mid-States Port Authority in August 2004, is a 37.4-mile remnant of the former Omaha-Denver main line of the nowdefunct Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad.) At milepost 19.94, the local crossed Turkey Creek on a steel truss bridge that is said to date back to 1895. On account of its age and condition, all trains were eventually restricted to six mph over the bridge for the train’s entire length. (However, some years ago, when the speed over the entire subdivision was lowered to 10 mph, the speed limit over the bridge was raised to match it.) Early afternoon usually found the Wymore Local arriving at Hoag, milepost 24.6. Hoag was originally platted as the town of Caldwell in 1872. A lack of people desiring to settle there resulted in about 90 percent of the town site being vacated in 1889. The rest, mostly street rights of way, was vacated in 1935. Trackage at Hoag now includes an elevator track serving the Farmers Co-operative Elevator and two storage tracks that serve two fertilizer plants. The two facilities, Koch Nitrogen (built in 1965) and Agrium US Incorporated (built in 1964) are major contributors to rail traffic on the subdivision. The Koch plant produces anhydrous ammonia and urea solution and ships only in tank cars. The Agrium plant produces granular ammonium nitrate, urea solution and small quantities of anhydrous ammonia that require covered hoppers as well as tank cars. It was not uncommon for the Wymore Local to spend two or three hours switching at Hoag. After finishing its business at Hoag, the local headed out for a late afternoon arrival in Beatrice. On the north edge of the city is the Beatrice Industrial Park switch at milepost 29.4. Built in 1995, the spur in the era of the Wymore Local served only the Accuma Corporation plant. This plant received a few hopper cars of plastic pellets monthly for use in the manufacturing of battery casings. Next down the line, at milepost 30.4, is the city of Beatrice itself, population 12,496 (as of the year 2000) and the county seat of Gage County. Few tracks now remain of what had been a sizable network of Burlington yard trackage within the city. (Historically, the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy had a line that ran east from Beatrice to Nemaha and Nebraska City until its abandonment in January 1944.) As recent as the Burlington Northern years, and until about 1980, interchange had been made by the BN at Beatrice with a Rock Island branch local that operated between Beatrice and Fairbury, Neb. Interchange was also made here into the BNSF era with the Union Pacific via its line between 9


BN SD9s Nos. 6141 and 6160, plus GP20 No. 2048, were pulling off the main track and onto the old freight main at Beatrice on April 8, 1997. After it cleared the crossover switch, the train would back up to set out empty hoppers at the Southeast Nebraska Co-op. Alco S-3 switcher RE 707 (Relco Leasing) had been serving the co-op since October 1987.

Lincoln and Marysville, Kans., but ending upon abandonment of the UP line in early 2000. In later years, Beatrice did not generate much work for the Wymore Local, although some single car shipments of fertilizer, lumber or crushed aggregate were still occasionally set out for loading onto trucks. The largest shipper in Beatrice is the Southeast Nebraska Coooperative, which currently ships out 110-car unit trains. At the start of unit train co-op shipments (then comprised of 54 cars) the Union Pacific also provided grain cars. Initially, the UP would leave cars it brought to Beatrice in its yard east of Second Street, requiring the Wymore Local to retrieve and spot them at the co-op. A later arrangement allowed Union Pacific to run their own trains directly to the co-op over the BNSF’s rails. BNSF was left as sole provider of rail service to the co-op when, as mentioned, UP service to Beatrice ended. Leaving Beatrice usually in the late afternoon, the local began a climb out of the Big Blue River Valley while heading for Wymore. At milepost 32.2 on the south edge of Beatrice is the Farmers Coperative feed mill (built 1979), which had a spur track until it was removed in 2003. At milepost 33.64, the subdivision passes alongside a Northern Natural Gas compressor station. This facility was built in the mid-1930s 10

along the company’s Texas-Minnesota natural gas pipeline. A two-car stub track here, listed in the timetable as Gasco, was not used in the local’s last years. Near milepost 37, the Wymore Local passed the former townsite of Putnam, Neb. The town was surveyed in March 1882 and would exist only a little more than 12 years before being vacated in May 1894 due to a lack of settlers. A business siding remained here until circa the World War II era. Nearing the end of its journey, the Wymore Local rolled through Blue Springs at milepost 40.2. This village, with a population of about 380 (as of the year 2000), is known historically for the rejection by its residents in 1880 of a plan by the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad to make the community an important junction point for the line from Lincoln and another Burlington line then being constructed east from Red Cloud. Following this, the B&MR was offered ground for its new terminal at a site about a mile farther south by Samuel Wymore, a local farmer. A railroad division town was established there and Sam Wymore was immortalized by having it named in his honor. A 10-car stub track served the elevator at Blue Springs, which had shipped grain and received some dry fertilizer until the late 1990s. Blue


The rear platform of BN waycar No. 10767 provided a crewman with a place to view a winter sunset as the Wymore Local proceeded south at the Locust Road crossing (just south of Gasco siding) on Feb. 20, 1995. This scheduled train, with its business principle of starting-and-stopping to pick up or deliver freight cars along the way, had then been a part of railroading on the Beatrice Subdivision for more than 100 years.

Springs had otherwise once been served by a spur off the Union Pacific’s Lincoln-Marysville line that passed near the village to the east. Between Blue Springs and the Wymore terminal, at milepost 41.9, the local passed the Thomas Elevator with its three-car siding. This facility had not seen any rail service for many years. Early to mid-evening often found the local rounding the west leg of a wye before officially arriving at Wymore, population 1,656 (as of the year 2000), at milepost 42.6. Wymore, while no longer the rail center it once was, still retained a sizable amount of yard trackage although most of it sat empty since the only traffic interchanged was between the Beatrice and Wymore Subdivision locals. Some yard tracks were periodically occupied by empty tank cars being stored until needed at the Hoag fertilizer plants. Three tracks remained in the vicinity of the former roundhouse complex. Two were used by motive power laying over from the Beatrice and Wymore Subdivision locals. A third was used to store cabooses up until

the time they were no longer required to be used on the locals, which occurred in early 1997. Following the intentional burning in 1984 of the old two-story wooden depot here in a fire department training exercise, BN employees began using a prefabricated metal depot-office located at the south end of Seventh Street. Maintenance of way personnel also used this building until their positions were abolished at Wymore. Depending on the amount of time that the Wymore Local’s crew had left to work, they may have exchanged their cars that evening for those brought into town by the Wymore Subdivision Local. If time ran short, the work was done when the crew came on duty the next morning. At the close of each day, some time was spent by the conductor at the depot-office on paper work (and later on computer work) regarding that day’s business. When finished, the crew was off to the D&M Motel -- or in some cases -- home for the night, to get rested for the following day’s return trip to Lincoln. Such was a typical day on the Wymore Local until May 2002.

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(Left:) BN GP38-2 No. 2304 (ex-Frisco 449) and GP39M No. 2807 were northbound and about to pass under the Union Pacific (ex-Rock Island) overpass just south of DeWitt on April 17, 1999. This day’s Wymore Local featured a sizable number of loaded fertilizer tank cars picked up from the nitrogen plant at Hoag seven miles back. (Below:) History that “never was” could be seen from the cab of the northbound Wymore Local as it passed milepost 37 north of Wymore during the winter of 2002. This location, once platted as the town of Putnam, Neb., never developed. The town site was later vacated.

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(Above:) BN GP38-2 No. 2296 (ex-Frisco 441) and a leased EMD GP38-2 were in charge of a northbound Wymore Local at the Beatrice Industrial Park spur switch on April 6, 1996. The spur, built the year before, still serves the Accuma Corp., a manufacturer of plastic battery casings. (Below:) BN SD40-2 No. 7027, B30-7A No. 4014 and C30-7 No. 5534 were southbound on May 19, 1996, at Gasco Spur (milepost 33.64). This train was not the local but rather a “grain empty� out of Lincoln bound for Superior, Neb. The prominent station sign belies the fact that the stub siding here had not seen BNSF service for a number of years.

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(Above:) On May 29, 1999, the Wymore Local headed north into Beatrice while crossing the Big Blue River with GP39M No. 2824 on the point. This bridge, a 154-foot-long Pratt Truss design, is located at milepost 31.10 on the Beatrice Subdivision. (Upper right:) On Jan. 10, 1998, Union Pacific GP38-2 No. 2320 and another GP38-2 sat south of the Highway 77 viaduct at Beatrice on the BNSF. Two more UP GP38-2s were in town at the Southeast Nebraska Co-op elevator, pulling loads and coupling them to these two units. As soon as the train was completed, these two units would back it into town. The other two units were then added ahead of 2320 for the trip to Marysville, Kans. (Lower right:) With the crew’s 12 hours of work exhausted the night before, the Wymore Local awaited a new crew two days after Christmas 1997. EMD Leasing SD40-2 No. 6347, with a BN GP15-1 behind, sits on the main track at Hoag (milepost 24.6), while Illinois Central SD40-2 No. 6150 sits on the No. 2 track. Although all three units had arrived here together, the IC unit was set out on account only two locomotives were allowed on the Agrium Fertilizer plant spur.

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(Upper left:) BN SD9 No. 6101 (ex-CB&Q No. 457, built Sept. 1957) was at Wymore on July 27, 1998. The 1601 was to have been included in an SD9-3 rebuild program, which starting that November, would have upgraded 35 of the company’s SD9s. However, only four rebuilds were actually completed. The 6101, while not one of them, was still on the company roster in March 2008 after having been renumbered to 1721 in September 2006. (Lower left:) Conductor William “Whitey” Wieden of Wymore was on the steps of BN SD9 No. 6197 (ex-CB&Q No. 450) as it and SD9 No. 6199 gingerly traverse the “dock track” at Beatrice on Feb. 18, 1995. Tanks of fertilizers and chemicals for loading into trucks were then still occasionally set out on this track, afflicted from years of deferred maintenance. One could then only wonder what remained of the ties beneath the rock and dirt. (Above:) BN SD9 No. 6114 was silhouetted at sunset on Nov. 30, 1997, after being set out on the north edge of Beatrice at Industrial Park Spur. The unit had developed problems after some of its brake shoes failed to release upon leaving Hoag. Both literally and figuratively, this was the twilight of the SD9 era on the Beatrice Subdivision.

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Last Train to Wymore by David J. Doering  

To order: http://www.southplattepress.com Jim Reisdorff 402.367.3554 South Platte Press P.O. Box 163 David City, NE 68632

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