Friday, June 20, 2014

Keokuk Junction Railway

Keokuk Junction Railway (KJRY) is a short line that was created in 1980 to operate Rock Island's yard in Keokuk, Iowa. It has since acquired track from the original Toledo, Peoria, and Western. It is a subsidiary of the Pioneer Railcorp so the reporting mark for the engines is PREL. When the tracks leave the bridge on the west side, they do a sharp turn to the south, cross the BNSF tracks, and enter the old Rock Island yard along the Mississippi.

While I was on the observation deck for Lock #19, I heard a train whistle. Since the swing span had closed earlier, I figured it might be a train that would cross the bridge. So I ran back to the van to get the 55-200mm lens. As it turns out, I had plenty of time. The speed limit for the bridge is 5 mph. In fact, as seems to be normal with short lines, the max speed on the line is low: "Train speeds are 10 mph max except between Rawalts and Kolbe, 20 mph max, and Smithfield to the Spoon River, also 20 mph".
The train was a KJRY covered-hopper unit train.


I believe the second car with the stylized "R" is a Rock Island car. That would mean the paint job is older than 1980. There are enough "non-white" cars in the train that I can tell where the pictures overlap and determine that the train had 19 cars.







The Spoon River Bridge collapsed even though it had been inspected just a few months earlier. According to Bridge Hunter, it "has been replaced with relocated deck girder spans and reopened." Pictures of trains crossing the bridge, including some cab units, were posted on Facebook. A photo of the Fs on the new Spoon River bridge from a different angle. A video of some trains in action including more F units.

Some videos by David Jordan. I don't normally pay much attention to videos because you see so many pictures and videos of trains that I concentrate on the railroad infrastructure. But this line runs F units and is a shortline rather than a Class I, which make it more interesting. Videos 1, 2, 3, and 4. A Facebook comment David added for Video 1:
Back on August 2, the KJRY received its first pipe train from the Union Pacific. It hauled 40 cars with 2003-1750-1752-2041-2032. The rear ten cars were dropped at LaHarpe and these units made it all the way to Keokuk (a rare appearance there by the F-units). A track in KJRY's Twin Rivers Yard is being used to transload pipe to trucks for shipment to a staging yard for the Dakota Access Pipeline, which is to run from North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois when completed. See part 1 of 3 [Video 2 in this collection]. 

John Stell -> Peoria Illinois Railroads Trains & Shortlines
Update: John's comment:
Keokuk Union Depot October 1973 John Stell slide.BN had an operator in depot and Lloyd Triplett was RI-N&W agent.
Steven J. Brown posted
Keokuk Junction RR Alco S2 1064 at Keokuk, IA - June 1985. I couldn't find any info on this unit on the internet. The references I found just had question marks for notes!
A video of the first KJRY train on the new Spoon River Bridge on May 21, 2014.

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