Posts Tagged ‘Iowa Interstate Railroad’

Long Way From Iowa

February 24, 2022

The not-so-way-back machine has landed us in Oakmont, Pennsylvania, on July 11, 2010, to check out an unusual visitor to the suburb of Pittsburgh.

The Iowa Interstate has sent a two-car business train to Oakmont pulled by GP38-2 No. 709. The train was in town for the Ladies Professional Golf Association’s U.S. Open that was being held at the Oakmont Country Club. The parent company of IAIS is Railroad Development Corporation, which is based in Pittsburgh and may have been a corporate sponsor of the tournament.

No. 709 is no stranger to Pittsburgh. It was built in June 1972 for Penn Central, so it probably worked and passed through the Steel City many times in its PC and, later, Conrail career.

I made this image on the last day of the tournament, a Sunday. That day began with my meeting up with Roger Durfee. Before heading to Pittsburgh to photograph this train, we caught two Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad trains at Akron Northside Station while standing on the All-American Bridge, a.k.a. the Y bridge.

We also got a Wheeling & Lake Erie train in Akron and a westbound Norfolk Southern westbound intermodal train near Columbiana on the Fort Wayne Line. So it was a busy day.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

The Rock Island Was Alive Last Weekend

July 8, 2014


I railfanned in the Chicago area last weekend.  One of our stops was, of course, Blue Island.

As we pulled up traffic was backed up for a train.  For the uniformed, four railroads cross the main street at grade with another crossing all this on bridges.

Imagine a street crossing at Berea right near the tower with two more railroads as well.  That is the situation here.

Anyhow, as we waited for that train to clear an Iowa Interstate train led by the Rock Island

heritage unit went by.

Normally a chase would ensue, but in this case we knew that this train would return. The Iowa Interstate has trackage rights on the former Rock Island track. This line crosses over the others and the streets via several bridges.

But there is also an interchange track that connects to the CSX, Canadian National, and Indiana Harbor Belt. This is done with a reverse move.

This particular train of about 200 cars, mostly ethanol but also some grain, was going to the IHB.  Of course we waited for the engines to shove this massive train back.

During this move, which took about an hour, a few other trains passed on the other tracks.  One was a Indiana Harbor Belt local with a new Geneset and a caboose.

Several of the grain cars in the Iowa Interstate train were of Rock Island origin and the lettering and logos created a ghostly effect.

That plus the heritage engine and also on old logo on the street overpass created somewhat of a time warp if only for the afternoon.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon








While ARRC Members Did Steam in the Valley . . .

September 26, 2013


 . . . I was out in Illinois photographing a Chinese steam engine.

We came across this excursion by shear dumb luck. We had departed Galesburg that morning and were working our way back up to Interstate 80 for a fast ride home.

We picked up Route 6 near Sheffield. The Iowa Interstate (ex-Rock Island) main crosses the IAIS just east of town.

As we crossed the tracks we noticed a light way off in the distance. We thought it to be some good luck that we noticed the light and would be able to photograph a westbound IAIS freight. We turned around and went into “downtown” Sheffield where we noticed some tents and food vendors set up.

We inquired about the fair going on and were told there wasn’t any fair but the steam special was due in.

In short order IAIS Chinese-built (1986) QJ No.7081 rolled into town and stopped to unload passengers.

The trips were short, running from Tiskilwa to Sheffield and return. We did some shots while they serviced the QJ and took a few detail photos.

GP38-2 No. 707 was on the east end of the train and would lead back to Tiskilwa. We followed the train back east for a shot or two south of Wyanet, but as time was running short for us (I had to work the next morning) we elected to give up the chase and roll toward home.

Article and Photographs by Roger Durfee









Cruising along the East Branch of the Hennepin Canal near Wyanet. That's Lock 17 off to the right if I remember correctly.

Cruising along the East Branch of the Hennepin Canal near Wyanet. That’s Lock 17 off to the right if I remember correctly.

A "going away" shot I while some fans take photos.

A “going away” shot I while some fans take photos.

Another Type of Heritage Locomotive

May 21, 2012

This past Saturday (May 19), I went to Chicago to present a shortened version of my steel mills program at the Homewood Railroad Days slide show.

Of course I got many good train pictures, but the best was catching the Iowa Interstate’s Rock Island heritage locomotive at Blue Island.

We first pulled up and an IAIS ethanol train was backing into the Indiana Harbor Belt yard. Imagine my surprise/shock to see the Rock Island heritage unit was on the head end.

But I was on the wrong side with the sun.

Knowing the power would return at some point, we waited and railfanned for a couple of hours. Train traffic was steady with a good variety, including CSX, IHB and Canadian National. Even Norfolk Southern and a BC Rail engine went by our lenses.

Finally the Rock Island unit returned light facing the right direction for the sun.

IAIS trains must do a reverse move through the interlocking and he had to wait another hour for things to clear up enough to get back to its own line.

The wait was well worth it for us.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon