My visit to the Route 66 Railfan Center & Pacific Railfanning 12/28/13

U.P. "Big Boy" #4006 With this post, I’m going to tie two posts into one since this all happened at the same time. Today my Dad and I made paid a visit to one of the best railfanning spots in my area, the Route 66 Railfan Center.  Inside, it has two model railroad layouts, one in O gauge and one in HO, with another layout in N scale under construction in the upstairs.  They keep train videos running a lot, and also have a small gift shop to buy little souvenirs.  It is a volunteer-run facility, and the staff is a very friendly group, stopping whatever they’re doing to see if you need anything.  After taking a look around on the inside, we went outside to begin the railfanning portion of the visit.  The two lines there were Union Pacific’s Jefferson City Subdivision, and BNSF’s Cuba Sub.  What made this area great for railfanning was the fact that there were picnic tables right outside the backdoor of the Railfan Center to sit down on, an interlocking between the Union Pacific and the BNSF right in front of you, signals on both lines (you can see the U.P. signals in both directions), railroad crossings to the left and the right on both lines, and, to top it all off, a scanner inside the Railfan Center to monitor traffic so you can know when to expect a train.  All these factors lead up to a fantastic railfan hotspot.  With 70 trains every 24 hours both lines combined, I was expecting to see two or three trains. However, my Dad I were waiting for a long time.  There were a number of eateries and a coffee shop nearby, making it an even better railfanning area since we could get something if we got hungry.  While my Dad was throwing out the cups from our drinks from the coffee shop, he heard the scanner come to life from a detector on the U.P. just west of where we were, and we got set.  In a few minutes, the signal on the U.P. east-bound lit up with a green signal, and about a minute later coal train went by, with the horn blasting.  This was a very fun time because this was the first mainline train I had ever railfanned trackside.  Even with the hour or so wait, it was by far worth it for the reward.  I hope to post video soon of the adventure, and I hope it will convey at least a fraction of the excitement that I felt at the time.  I hope to go again soon, and If you are ever in the area, you have to make a visit to the Route 66 Railfan Center, one of the best railfanning spots in the State of Missouri.


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