IC Passenger Special on the "CRandIC"

Tuesday, May 14

On Monday, Alan Hunt posted email alerts to various lists about a passenger special to run Tuesday on the CIC line down from Cedar Rapids to the Yokum Connection west of Iowa City near Homestead.  The crew for the special was called for 1600, and the train was to be headed up by Illinois Central E units.  I had an appointment to meet a prospective student late in the morning Tuesday, but my afternoon calendar was blank.  After lunch I headed northeast toward Marshalltown, intending to follow the UP line over to Cedar Rapids.

As I passed the east side of Des Moines, I heard the BNSF dispatcher giving a warrant to a grain train that was to leave the Pleasant Hill transfer facility this afternoon.  I heard later in the day that they didn't get far, the train derailed its last few cars, closing Hwy. 316 near Runnells well into Wednesday afternoon.

I reached Marshalltown at 2:00, just in time to see an EDGX empty passing through town.  I continued east on Hwy. 30 and then went south into Belle Plaine where I intercepted a westbound stack train just after 3:00.  The stacker had UP 4104 and 4918, one of the U.S. flag units, on the point and was about half bare-table.  As I watched them leave town, I spotted the headlight of an eastbound.  This turned out to be the empty I'd seen at Marshalltown, powered by UP 8093 and 7021.

I tried to follow the rails on to the east, but the UP had a grade crossing torn out between Blairstown and Norway, requiring a trip back up to Hwy. 30.  I made it back down to Norway at 3:45, just as the coal empty was going through town.  I went on over to Walford, took 151 to Fairfax and then started following the CIC line up toward the southwest corner of Cedar Rapids.

Eventually I encountered a group of "buffs" waiting for the passenger special to load and leave town.  I turned the Jeep and put it in place at the back of the line.  Before long there were four vehicles and we ended up waiting at the grade crossing a full hour for the train to finally appear, at 5:20.  (Iowa looks almost mountainous in that last picture, doesn't it?)  Here are IC 100's horns (1 Meg .wav file)I took around 60 pictures of the passenger extra as it made its way down to the Iowa Interstate tracks near Homestead.  Here are a few:

Leaving Cedar Rapids
IC 100
Whole Train
IC 101
Lightweight Observation 800413
Heavyweight (Diner?) IC MW 101314
Theater Car 800653
Leaving Cedar Rapids - this rail line is a former Milwaukee Road route, I understand
Coming over a hill south of Fairfax
Whole Train, above location
Whole Train at Walford
Heavyweight Car
South of Walford - this is what Iowa actually looks like, not mountainous!
The special train stopped for a while before crossing the river and coming to the Yokum connection.  Before reaching the north switch of the wye they called the Interstate dispatcher and obtained a "work between" warrant on enough of the IAIS mainline to clear both ends of the wye and reverse the train.  IAIS personnel were on hand to throw the switches.

Along with the switch tender, several fans showed up at the Yokum connection, including those I'd met at Cedar Rapids.  The gentleman in the center of the picture, who had introduced himself as a Lutheran pastor earlier, really loved to talk about trains.   I was asked by both RR employees and other bystanders how I knew about this train.  "The Internet", was my reply of course.

Just after 6:30 the E-unit came around the west wye track and up the steep grade to the switch.  The pilot of IC 100 just barely cleared the gravel on the grade crossing.  After the theater car was clear, the west switch was thrown and the train backed to the east.  I got a couple of shots as IC 100 backed away from me to the east wye switch.

According to the folks on hand, the train was to be run back north just far enough to be inaccessible to fans and then parked while the riders, rumored to be Alliant Energy board members, had their supper on board.

That's It!