The CF7 picks up a GM&O, and an IC loaded pulp wood cars and Rio Grande covered hopper loaded with soda ash. These are then spotted on the back fiddle yard road. The little loading device is made from odds and ends in my spares box and is a generic model rather than being based on an actual prototype. It is a useful model as it provides more traffic but takes up little space.
The loco now returns to the train that it originally arrived with and couples up, then pulls the cars out of the siding. It then pushes the cars into the pulp wood loading track and spots the LP&N bulkhead flat. The Rio Grande covered hopper is spotted temporarily on fiddle yard track nearest the camera. The RI bulkhead flat is then spotted on the pulp wood loading track.
The loco propels the Rio Grande hopper to the long siding at the front of the layout that serves the Mutual Service elevator and Farmer’s Co-op elevator. Here it picks up an SF covered hopper and a loaded DRGW covered hopper. TheDRGW car is then attached to the cars spotted on the far siding in the fiddle yard. It now re-spots the SF hopper at the Farmer’s Co-op and Rio Grande hopper at the Mutual Service elevator.
The AD&N CF2 then couples onto the outbound train from the fiddle yard and pulls it into the main loop, uncouples and runs round its train. It couples onto the front of the train and carries out a brake test then sets off out of town for the RI main line. We see the locomotive as it is caught in the late afternoon sun.
It’s early morning and we find a Rock Island GE U33B #286 picking up a small train of pulpwood bulkhead flat cars from the east yard at Benson. She pulls the cars out of the siding and into the main loop, here she uncouples and runs round the train. Once on the point she sets off for the Rock main line and ultimately the Continental Can mill at Hodge in Louisiana. Here the pulp wood is used to make pulp for the paper making industry or used in the manufacture of particle board.
In reality the Rock had 25 of these large 4 axle hoods and all were assigned to the Southern Division where they were a common sight in Dallas as well as the UP pool to North Platte. They were geared for 79mph, so not that suitable for branch line work. They also had a reputation for spreading the track due to their weight on only four axles.
In 1977 13 of these locomotives were re-geared and became the control units for slugs. This down grading of high horsepower high geared locomotives to slow speed service reflected the deteriorating state of the Rock’s permanent way.
The first train of the day to arrive at Benson is a grain extra hauled by another four axle U-Boat. This one is a U28B four axle road switcher belonging to the Illinois Central. Overall she is in good condition if a little dirty. In fact the locomotive is on loan to the I&W who are trying it out. If they find it suitable they may very well buy it, a decision not popular with all the crews as many prefer the smoother running of the Blomberg trucks fitted to most of their the General Motors geeps.
IC #5004 pulls her train of empty covered hoppers into the Flour mill headhunt track and uncouples the cars. Here the loco and train will be left while crew will take a break at a nearby diner.
I&W # 105 an ex Rio Grande Alco S2 runs into the west yard and into the back siding to pick up two cars spotted there loading. This will clear the track so that the full grain cars in the siding at the Redwing Milling elevator can be pulled out to make up the outbound train and make room for the incoming empty cars.
The black end cab switcher # 105 then couples onto the rear of the three loaded hoppers in the Redwing Milling siding. The cars are pulled out of the siding and pushed to the fiddle yard where they are uncoupled and left.
The little Alco switcher then runs back into the yard and couples onto the empty hoppers that the IC U-boat brought in. She pulls the cars into the main loop and runs around the cars, having coupled up she manoeuvres the cars into the Redwing siding and spots them there ready for loading with grain. The switcher then waits in the siding while the U-Boat makes up her outbound train of grain filled hoppers.
IC # 5004 runs to the fiddle yard and picks up the three cars standing there. She pulls them back into the loop and runs round the cars. She then couples onto the front of the train and having completed a satisfactory brake test sets off for the RI main line and ultimately the gulf port of Galveston.