Marquette and Ladora
October 17 and 18
On Friday, Susan and I set out on
a tour to see the fall colors along the Mississippi. I'd made a
reservation at the Frontier Motel in Marquette and we went across the
state to Clinton and up the river, arriving in Marquette around 5:00 in
the afternoon. Our motel turned out to be right in the middle of
a "wye" connecting the IC&E yard to the main line tracks. A
few covered hoppers were parked right in front of the place, and before
long, we heard diesels moving behind the motel. I took a look and
saw an engine on the south leg of the wye, right around the corner from our room.
In a few minutes, the train pulled across the highway and went south
toward McGregor. We followed, but the head end stopped out of
sight beyond the town. After coupling to the hoppers we'd seen
earlier, they started shoving the entire train back to the north.
We went back to Marquette and stopped under the "skywalk" leading
to the casino to catch the power as they backed past us.
The rear unit happened to be the "City of Marquette", IC&E 6449. Next was DM&E 6090, then IC&E 6420. DM&E 6052, "City of Crawford", was the leader. They pushed their train backward along the river bluff and under the highway bridge to Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. At 6:20 they came back south, this time going forward around the north leg of the wye and across the highway toward the yard again.
A portion of our route back home on Friday took us along old Hwy. 6,
beside the Iowa Interstate track that was once the east-west mainline
of the Rock Island. Just west of Ladora we spotted two guys with
cameras waiting by a grade crossing. I turned around and pulled
in to see what they were waiting for. The two turned out to be Canadian rail buffs
on a long tour of midwest railroads. They were headed for Mason
City and Fort Madison in the next week before returning home.
They'd been following the westbound IAIS freight, which appeared about 2:30. This train had five units,
IAIS 719, 718 (seen recently in Des Moines), 713, 700 and an SD, IAIS
153. After the train passed, I headed on west along the highway
with the Canadians.
Just a few miles along the route, on an overpass east of Victor, I found another group of railfans. This group included one J. Kleeman, who later sent me a link to some of his images. I stopped for a minute and got a couple of shots of the IAIS train myself.