In today's world of modern class 1 railroading, it is no surprise that wide "safety" cab locomotives now dominate the rails and can be found leading just about every train across the nation's vast rail network. Rebuilt, sold off, or scrapped, standard cabs like these are getting harder and harder to come by on the mainlines. However, small pockets continue to exist throughout the country where still the "standards are standard" on trains and Union Pacific's eclectic pool of local power that serves the greater St. Louis area moving tonnage in and around the city is one of those pockets. Here, three different second generation EMD models, led by SD60 #2189, hustle south down the single main ex-MP DeSoto Subdivision on an overcast January afternoon beneath the iconic rock wall at Cliff Cave County Park with local freight LSE57 18 in tow. Most of the 54 car consist are empty hoppers that will be dropped from the train’s head end at Wickes for eventual forwarding to Mississippi Lime's Ste. Genevieve, MO facility, served itself by a separate local job. The reminder of train will continue on to the line’s namesake town, DeSoto, with cars, mostly autoracks, for UP's large railcar repair shop located there. The trip back north to home base at Lespersnce St Yard won’t take place till after nightfall.
Cliff Cave is a 525-acre public park located south of downtown St. Louis in the town of Oakville. Named after a natural cave with historical and archaeologic significance that’s located within the park dubbed, you guessed it, Cliff Cave, this park features three different walking trails and a Mississippi River overlook situated high atop the rocky bluffs behind the tracks.