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Nostalgia & History > Strange power for an Iowa football special!


Date: 04/21/21 13:30
Strange power for an Iowa football special!
Author: slacks

Continuing the Rock Islands habit of running football specials to Iowa City, the IAIS ran a few in the mid 1980s This one is loading people at Wilton IA for the trip to Kennick stadium. Some of the cars are familar but the ex-MOP U-23s sure are different. Today the depot is restored and just waiting for a train like this, maybe someday.  We can only hope? P. S. Anyone remenber the year?








Date: 04/21/21 15:18
Re: Strange power for an Iowa football special!
Author: tomstp

And they put those horrible riding engines on a passenger train.  It was either a slow train to hell or a bumpy ride on the head end.



Date: 04/21/21 15:42
Re: Strange power for an Iowa football special!
Author: NDHolmes

I remember riding the "Rocket to the Fair" trip from RI to DSM for the state fair. I think that was 1988. That was a very, very long day and a rough ride over the very degraded track. I think it took us something like 6-7 hours each way. This trip would have been similarly slow, so I suspect most of the ride quality problems would have come from the track itself.

I do wonder where the ex-MP engines came from. Never something IAIS rostered, so must have been leasers from NRE or somewhere.



Date: 04/21/21 17:01
Re: Strange power for an Iowa football special!
Author: MC6853

Well utahrails says both of those units weren't retired by UP until 1991... So if this is indeed mid '80s, those are technically UP units...



Date: 04/21/21 18:33
Re: Strange power for an Iowa football special!
Author: AndyBrown

These trips were run in the Fall of 1991.  I was in the service but was able to ride one when I was home on leave one weekend.  I too boarded in Wilton (my hometown).

The U23Bs were leased from NRE but I've never really known if they were leased by IAIS or by the excursion operators (Butterworths maybe?).  I have seen photos of them in freight service on IAIS too, but not on a widespread basis.

The day I rode, the westbound IAIS road freight stalled on Davenport Hill with 5 or 6 geeps and 162 cars.  The football special ended up pushing the frieght up the hill, then ran late to Iowa City after following the freight, then having to run around it at 10mph, on 2.5 mile long N. Star siding.

Andy



Date: 04/21/21 21:16
Re: Strange power for an Iowa football special!
Author: NDHolmes

Ah, weren't those the days?  6 Paducahs out of Rock Island and slogging up Davenport Hill, and they'd hope at least four were still running by the time they hit Walcott.  Now it's all 40mph track and meticulously maintained GEVOs that just do their thing, day in and day out. :)  As much as I'm happy to watch IAIS become a modern, successful railroad, I do miss a lot of the charm it had from a fan's perspective when it was barely hanging in there.



Date: 04/21/21 22:04
Re: Strange power for an Iowa football special!
Author: PHall

tomstp Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> And they put those horrible riding engines on a
> passenger train.  It was either a slow train to
> hell or a bumpy ride on the head end.

Yep, those "wonderful" FB-2 trucks.



Date: 04/22/21 07:30
Re: Strange power for an Iowa football special!
Author: alcoiowa

I arrived at the IAIS in January 1987.  It was almost all Paducah Geeps.  As most know, I am an Alco guy but actually I was committed to make whatever power we had run as good as I could.  We not only had Paducah Geeps, but a SCL GP-16, 1 Rock Island GP-7, 3 BN GP-7 (Rated 1850 hp),  plus rebuilt ex-WP GP-9's.  Then the Second Generation hit and we got our first G(38,  I thought I had died and gone to heaven, a GP38, Wow!!! It was built as PRSL #2000, located on the North Louisiana and Gulf as #46.  Then came 2 ex-MP GP38;s, 2 more GP38's (Ex-Sou and B&O/C&O) and finally 4 GP38AC (ex GM&O).  The first Alco arrived in late 1987, an ex-D&H RS-36 5015,  It became IAIS 900.  Then a C-420 (ex-L&HR, CR, GB&W) which became IAIS 850. To my surprise, I was able to get 3 ex-P&W M-420R's from Conrail that had been traded in for B23-7's.  They became IAIS 800-802.  They were the forerunners of the wide nose era on IAIS. I almost forgot the first 6-axle power on the roster.  Four SD20 units from NRE at Silvis.  We had National Railway Equipment perform the maintenance.  All I will say about the SD20's is that they were returned to National when the lease was up.  'Nuff said.  I retired in 1997, the Alcos departed shortly thereafter.  The GP38-2's, SD38-2's  and the GEVO's arrived and the rest is history.

Yes, we had our share of failures, but considering their age, condition and the good maintenance program that was established, I thought they ran pretty darn good.

Fred Cheney



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