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Friday Afternoon Iowa Drive & NRHS Banquet 6/22/2012

by Chris Guenzler

After the Crandic Trip, Nathan Chidester and I returned to the Motel 6 and I uploaded the story of that trip before we headed north to our first stop in Independence.

The joint Illinois Central-Rock Island station, built in 1892 to serve a dual role as both a freight and passenger service and to accommodate the increasing number of passengers coming to Independence for harness racing on the nationally famous kite-shaped track built by Charles W. Williams. The Illinois Central Railroad was one of the first lines to reach across Iowa, bringing settlers to this "Beautiful Land". On December 12, 1859, the first steam engine came chugging into Independence. It was a great day for early settlers and farmers in Buchanan County when the first shipment of wheat and pork left Independence for the eastern markets.

It currently houses the Buchan County Tourism Visitor Center in addition to acting is a museum of local railroad history.

Baggage car and fire wagon.

There is a wag wig crossing signal.

The baggage cart and a track speeder.


The station from various angles.

Illinois Central 0-8-0 30 was built by American Locomotive Company in 1923 as Grand Trunk 8300. In 1960, it was sold to Northwestern Steel & Wire 30. In November 2000, 30 was sold for display at the Buchanan County Visitor Center in Independence. Although it never ran on Illinois Central lines, it is painted to represent that railroad.

Illinois Central Gulf caboose 199534 built by the railroad in 1968 as Illinois Central 9534.

One last view of this unique station.

An interesting boulder.

The OBS section gang shed. From here we drove north to Oelwein but saw something of great interest.

Various railroad memorabelia including Chicago and North Western caboose 11127 built by International Car in 1966. The local story goes that a dentist created a narrow gauge railroad here, ran it for a few years then let the place go back to nature. The two of us continued on to our next stop.

The Hub City Heritage Corporation Railroad Museum Oelwein, Iowa 6/22/2012

The objectives of the Hub City Heritage Corporation are to encourage and promote the preservation and restoration of railroad memorabilia as pertinent to the Oelwein area. To establish, furnish and maintain a railway museum for the education and enjoyment of the general public.

The town of Oelwein was laid out in a cornfield purchased from G .A. Oelwein in 1872 on the coming of the Burlington, Cedar Rapids and Minnesota Railroad. It was later called the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad usually referred to as the Rock Island.

Hub City Heritage was formed in early 1987 and opened the railway museum on June 14, 1987 and by 1989 we first acquired the Railway Express building. Hub City Heritage later acquired the two-story yard office building and the 75-foot dispatchers' tower, which is the last of the CGW dispatchers' towers and the last tower in the State of Iowa.

On a continually basis Hub City Heritage acquires railroad equipment. Some of the largest railroad rolling stock that has been preserved a Chicago, St Paul Minneapolis & Omaha SW1 #55 switch engine with its cast steel frame built in 1940, an Chicago Great Western EMD FP7 “F-unit” locomotive repainted in its original factory Chicago Great Western EMD colors, a 40' CGW steel box car built in 1944, a CGW covered hopper plus other rolling stock. The Rock Island 17958 caboose was built in 1914, the CGW 637 bay window caboose was built in 1963. Our latest motive power acquisition is the Minnesota Transfer 62 S1 diesel switcher locomotive built in 1941.

The Railway Express building was originally the home of Wells Fargo and Company Express in 1912. Shortly after WWI in 1918 the structure was acquired by the American Express Company and in 1930 became the Railway Express Agency. The original building was one-half of what it is now and the cost to build it was $4,146.56.

Chicago Great Western FP7A 116A built by Electro-Motive Division in 1950.

Minneapolis and St. Louis bulkhead flat car 16209.

Chicago Great Western Railway covered hopper 7230 built in 1966.

A Southern Pacific Golden West Service gondola car.

Minnesota Transfer S-1 62 built by American Locomotive Company in 1951. Minnesota Transfer Railway Company, a Minnesota Corporation, was a transfer, terminal and industrial switching railroad in the Twin Cities. It was equally owned by nine railroads in the Twin Cities. The Chicago Great Western Railway Co and Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway Company each had a one-ninth interest in the railway. In 1955 the company operated 103 miles of yard tracks and sidings, as well as terminal facilities, in St. Paul, Minneapolis, New Brighton and Fridley. Portions of the trackage still exists today but is now called the Minnesota Commercial Railway.

Out came a Transco Railway Products SW-1 heading my way.

Transco Railway Products SW1 11-01, ex. Transco Rail Products 1981, exx. Amerigas Propane 1981, nee Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific 543, built by Electro-Motive Division in 1949, was switching the yard.

Transco Railway Products switching their yard.

Transco Railway Products SW-1 11-02, ex. Conrail 8597, nee Pennsylvania Railroad 5997 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1948, was switching the yard.

Chicago Great Western Railway 40 foot boxcar 92105 built in 1945.

Chicago Great Western Railway bay window caboose 637 which had been numbered 10536 at some point.

Museum scene.

Rock Island wooden caboose 17958 built in 1913.

Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha SW-1 55 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1940 which later became Chicago and North Western 1207 and 616.

Semaphore signal blade.

Tri-color signal.

Switch stand display.

Semaphore signal blade.

Hand cars.

The museum grounds.

The former Oelwein Shop complex, about to be torn down.

Museum view. We went inside and thanked them for having us before we drove back to Casey's in Independence then headed south to Vinton and a stop there.

Vinton Rock Island station built in 1900 and housess the Benton County Historical Society Museum, part of Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area.

Rock Island emblem.

Signal display.

Rock Island caboose 17823, nee Rock Island 17023 built by International Car in 1958. From here we high-tailed it back to Cedar Rapids but noticed the old Milwaukee Road grade just north of US 30.

Crandic MP15 133, ex. Joseph Transportation 1504, nee United States Steel Company 964 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1976 by the Archer-Daniels-Midland plant. Nathan and I then returned to the Motel 6 where I put the corrections into the Crandic Trip story then we walked over to the Clarion for the NRHS banquet.

The NRHS 2012 Convention Banquet

Every year the NRHS Convention banquet starts with a social hour while the room is set up.

Views of the social hour.

Sarah Jennings and Cathy Smetko dressed up for the evening. The doors opened and soon everyone took the tables they had pre-chosen.

A staff member of the City of Cedar Rapids brought a proclamation.

The Cedar Rapids Proclamation to the NRHS was given to our President, Greg Molloy.

Greg holding the proclamation.

Our convention had been featured in many Iowa and Illinois newspapers.

Views of the banquet hall at the Clarion Hotel.

Greg Molloy's table.

Bart Jennings' table.

My table. Meals were then served.

Mr. Robert Ernst, our banquet host, welcomed us all to the event tonight.

Greg Molloy spoke to our group about NRHS matters.

Bart Jennings spoke about the convention, what it took to do it and thanked all who helped him pull it off.

Don Maxwell spoke about Railcamp and donations were collected.

Bart Jennings introduced Henry Posner III, Chairman of the Iowa Interstate.

Henry Posner III gave a presentation about his railroad.

Bart Jennings introduced Jeff Wood, Marketing Manager of the Cedar Rapids & Iowa City Railway Company.

Jeff Wood gave a presentation on the history and current operations of the railway. Upon completion of his remarks, another NRHS Banquet was over and we returned to the Motel 6 for the night.