I had occasion to travel with a friend to eastern Iowa on Friday and Saturday, January 12 and 13. While driving down from Cedar Rapids to Homestead on Friday night, we spotted two UP trains in the fog under the bridge at Fairfax. We arrived at Rawson's B&B in Homestead just in time to catch CRandIC power running west on the IAIS to the interchange. They returned shortly after, probably around 9:30 or so. Sometime late in the night I awoke to the sound of airhorns as an IAIS eastbound train came across old Hwy. 6.
We drove to Iowa City in the morning and paid a short visit to the IAIS headquarters and engine shop. Parked north of the shop were IAIS 325, 401 and 466. Work was underway on 466 and we observed someone spreading out the "instructions" on the short hood of the loco as we were leaving.
Our trip continued on to the Quad Cities, where we had lunch and did a little sight-seeing. On the way back over from Rock Island, we found an IAIS westbounder waiting to use the arsenal bridge. This train had four units, IAIS 627, 604, 101 and 431. Shortly, 627 whistled off and pulled up the grade toward the bridge. The train crossed over the junction of roads at the east end of the turn-span and headed out over the Mississippi River at 3:10 in the afternoon.
We gave chase and drove across the river with the train rumbling overhead, arriving just as the engines were leaving the west end of the bridge. My companion for this trip is an accomplished photographer and enthusiastically pointed out shots as I hurried through traffic. We caught the train again on the elevated right of way in Davenport as it rolled over a bridge still carrying the Rock Island shield. We couldn't quite get ahead of the train, so I had to settle for this angle as it approached the old junction with the "Golden State" route. It was fun to think of the days when the Rock Island Rockets sped their passengers in comfort and style through these streets to far-flung destinations.
Our destination was not so far-flung, but we hurried west, arriving in Indianola safe and sound just as another dose of winter weather arrived.