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Train Festival 2011 Iowa City Steam Trip 7/23/2011

by Chris Guenzler

After a good breakfast at Denny's, the five of us we drove down to the parking structure in downtown Rock Island before we walked to the Train Festival 2011 grounds. Bob Riskie and I walked down to the train to Iowa City and boarded the coaches, taking a seat in the front coach. Our train consisted of Iowa Interstate QJ 2-10-2 6988, water car, Amtrak P42 156 Heritage Unit, Amtrak P42 156 Heritage Unit, "Grand Canyon", "Minnesota River", NRS 203 "Nokomis", NRS 202 "Wenoneh", "St. Paul Pass", "Lake Pepin", "Arizona", Milwaukee Road 261 concession car 2450, "Lamberts Point", "Caritas", "St. Croix River", "Wisconsin Valley", "Super Dome", "Nenana" and "Cedar Rapids".

After getting our seats, I went outside for a picture of the front of the train.

The Mississippi River.

Amtrak P42 66 in Phase 2 Heritage paint scheme.

Amtrak P42 156 in Phase 1 Heritage paint scheme.

The front of our special train to Iowa City and beyond.

The two Iowa Interstate QJ's in Rock Island.

Don Crimmin, our Amtrak engineer for this trip today.

The car I was riding in was North Star Rail 68-seat chair car 203 "Nokomis", ex. Algoma Central Railway 443, exx. Central of Georgia 672, nee Central of Georgia 542 built by American Car and Foundry in 1947.

My car attendants for our trip today. I returned to my seat before walking the coach section of the train and visiting with the passengers I knew then returned to my seat at departure time.

The bridge and tracks we would be going over in a few minutes.

The Rock Island station sign.

The water tower at the Rock Island Arsenal.

The channel of the Mississippi River which created Rock Island Arsenal Island.

The Rock Island locks.

Our crossing of the Mississippi River.

The rails I rode during the Grand Excursion 2004.

The front of the train rolling through Davenport.

Once out of Davenport, we headed out into the cornfields.

Interstate 280.

Views of Iowa.

The Cedar River.

More views of Iowa.

The former Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific West Liberty station built in 1897.

A neat red barn.

More of that Iowa countryside.

Iowa Interstate 2-10-2 6988 performed a blow down as we neared Iowa City.

An Iowa Interstate freight train was waiting in Iowa City.

The caterers delivered our lunches at the Iowa City depot, but no one was allowed off the train.

The Iowa City Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific station built in 1898.

The Cedar Rapids and Iowa City Railroad.

The Iowa River with one of the falls.

After the Iowa River, the view ahead. We proceeded to Homestead and then out to wye where we pulled down past the switch to reverse around the northwest leg of it so the train would be in the correct position for the return to Rock Island.

The northeast leg of the Homestead Wye.

Reversing down the northwest leg of the wye.

A pond by where we stopped before going forward.

The Milwaukee Road concession car staff.

On the northeast leg of the wye. With the train now pointing east, we made our way to West Liberty for our photo runbys.

Pulling into West Liberty.

The West Liberty station, home to the West Liberty Heritage Depot Museum, where we all detrained for the photo runby.

Rock Island wooden caboose 17030 built in 1913 as a boxcar, converted to a caboose in 1940 and purchased from a museum in Adair, Iowa.

The reverse move.

The photo line at West Liberty.

The photo runby where two idiots came out from behind the station and wrecked plenty of pictures because they were in them. That is why I always photograph revrse moves just in case that happens.

Rock Island caboose 17030.

One of the former crossing diamonds is now a nice railroad display here. I visited the museum in the station then saw the train reversing past and returned outside, sitting below a photo line at the West Liberty sign.

The second photo runby, after which we all reboarded and returned to Rock Island. It had been a great excusion and we next went to the Celebration Belle for our dinner cruise on the Mississippi River.

People leaving the train had to pass the engine on the way out of the Train Festival 2011 grounds.

Amtrak 156's windshield will need a good cleaning.

One last view QJ 6988.

The Children's Area as seen from our walk to the boat.