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GATX adds color to one of the daily grain locals

The Amtrak Station in Kirkwood Missouri, a southwest suburb of St. Louis is an excellent location to watch trains. The station is located in downtown Kirkwood in a safe and relaxing area, food and gas are close and there's a few parks around the station to provide other angles, shot and backdrops. One block West of the station is an overpass with a large sidewalks for railfans to watch and take pics.
The line is along Union Pacific's Jefferson City Sub. The Amtrak station is active so Amtrak trains stop at the historic Missouri Pacific station providing more action to the already busy line. Kirkwood is located at a high point on the line, west of town  the line descends into the Merrimac River Valley and East of Kirkwood the line begins descending to downtown St. Louis along the Mississippi river. About 70-80 trains daily. Location Rating 9

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In 2006 UP regraded the tracks along the line

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looking East from the overpass

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UP and IC Operation Lifesaver leading an Autorack on the NS line

Hannibal Missouri
Immediately for most people hearing the name congers up images of Mark Twain but the small riverside town has much more to offer than just a tourist attraction for historians and Literary lovers, Railroads have been running through Hannibal since most of the town's history. The railroad runs along the river through downtown. Parking and food are close and a park built on the earth flood wall provides a great slightly elevated location to watch trains.
 The NS mainline with traffic from Chicago, Indianapolis and Fort Wayne to Kansas City crosses the Mississippi River a mile or two North of downtown. The line crosses over the BNSF line running parallel to the River, then curves south and parallels the BNSF line, connection tracks allow NS trains to transfer to the BNSF as NS also has trackage rights on the BNSF Hannibal Sub to St. Louis. The BNSF continues South while the NS line curves West to KC on the South end of town. The location is a unique and relaxing location to railfan! About 30-60 trains run through the area depending on the day and time of year. The days that we've visited Hannibal, the line has been very busy. Location Rating 9

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BNSF bound for Chicago crosses the UP line

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UP line at Rochelle

Rochelle Illinois is one of the top railroad diamonds in the US. Two major lines from Chicago run through the rural town about 1.5 hrs west of Chi town. The BNSF line runs NW-SE direction through the town while the UP main runs East-West, the two cross at grade infront at the Rochelle Railroad Park. Complete with a viewing balcony with a roof, scanner, and benches and a gift shop with restrooms. UP also has a fairly new intermodal facility just West of the diamonds which has increased traffic over recent years. About 80-100 trains can be expected daily. Location Rating 9

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