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Iowa Interstate Railroad Flood Relief Special Dinner Train 10/18/2008

by Chris Guenzler

After returning to the Boarding Location and meeting Bob and Elizabeth once more we waited to board the Dinner Train. It was late in arriving and as the sun was blocked out by the bridge I excused myself to go take this picture. The train finally backed to the Boarding Location and I took off to get the picture of our Dinner Train.

The consist of our Dinner Train was QJ 7081, BNSF Powder River, IAIS Abraham Lincoln and the IAIS Hawkeye. The Abraham Lincoln was an ex Union Pacific Dining Car which was sold to an individual in Southern Texas. It next was sold to a winemaker in Bakersfield, California. It was later bought by the Kansas City Southern and named Kansas City. Iowa Interstate bought the car in December 2007 and renamed it Abraham Lincoln. The Hawkeye was built in 1928 for the Frisco. It was sold to someone in Tennessee in 1948. It was then sold to the Ontario Northland and was named Moosonee. In 1981 it was sold to someone in San Angelo, Texas. It was then bought by the Midsouth Railroad and renamed Prospector. In 1995 it was acquired by the Kansas City Southern first named Arthur E Stilwell and later Laredo. In 2006 it was bought by the Iowa Interstate and named Hawkeye.

The passengers for Car A waited for the train to be spotted. Once it had been spotted, we boarded through the Hawkeye and since I was first on it allowed me to take a few pictures.

The Lounge in the Hawkeye.

The Dining Area of the Hawkeye. I then walked into the Abraham Lincoln where I waited for Bob and Elizabeth to pick out a table for us to enjoy dinner together tonight. We were joined at our table by Dean, a truck driver from Cedar Rapids.

On every table was a menu for tonight's meal.

There are classy looking napkins.

Two views of the inside of the Abraham Lincoln. The Dinner Train started the trip by backing up to the Rock Island Depot before we headed over the Government Bridge to Davenport. They started the evening with Jumbo Shrimp with Cocktail Sauce and Crab Cakes with Mustard Sauce.

Iowa Interstate Jerry Possser greeted us aboard the Flood Relief Dinner Train and told us all of our ticket price was donated to the Salvation Army for Flood Relief and that his railroad ran these trains just to thank us. From the tickets sold for the Excursion and Dinner Train they raised $50,000.00 for the Salvation Army Flood Relief Project. During the meal they served wine in Courses. The First Course was a Bargetto Pinot Grigio from Santa Cruz, California. The Second Course was a Bonny Doon Erbaluce Di Caluso "La Funambola" from Piedmonte, Italy. The Third Course was an Omrah "Unoaked" Chardonnay, from Mt. Barker, Western Australia. The Fourth Course was a Pedroncelli "Three Vinyards" Cabernet from the Sauvignon Dry Creek Valley, California. The Fifth Course was an Achaia Clauss Muscat of Patras from Achaia, Greece. For those of us who do not drink like me, Bob and Elizabeth they had Water or Lemonade. The train steamed out of Davenport out in to the Countryside of Iowa towards Walcott.

The birthday boy Bob enjoying the Dinner Train. They served the Salad next that was Romaine Lettuce, Berries and Pine Nuts with Poppy Seed Dressing. The train stopped just short of the grain elevator in Walcott and they served the Entree of the evening.

The meal was Traditional Barbecue Smoked Pork, Marla's Famous Lasagna, Peruvian Lomo Saltado with Tacu-Tacu and Tender Portions of Beef Tenderloin Sauteed with Onion, Tomato, Parsley and Chili Peppers served with Rice and Lima Beans. The train was pulled by a diesel back to a bridge over Highway 61 in Davenport where the train stopped for over an hour.

The Featured Chefs for this evening's Dinner Train were Hugo Avile {Peru}, Joel Lopez {Guatemala}, Mike Burkart {Cedar Rapids} and Bob Pietrandrea {Pittsburgh}. The Dessert was Tres Leches Cake, a Guatemala Cake created using three different Milks. After my dessert, I was bored that we were not moving and visited the Hawkeye open door for some fresh air. The train finally started moving and I rode across the Government Bridge with a fantastic moon overlooking the Mississippi River. In the Rock Island Yard they watered the cars and I grabbed my camera for some pictures inside of the BNSF Powder River.

Views inside the BNSF Powder River. I walked back to the Abraham Lincoln

The kitchen inside of the Abraham Lincoln. After they finished watering the cars, the QJ pulled us back to the boarding area and we detrained. It was a unique Dinner Train experience

The QJ 7081 sits in the dark at Rock Island.

The diesel was sitting alongside of the road so the lighting was better. Bob, Elizabeth and I walked back to the car but I got an idea for a couple pictures.

The Davenport Skyline.

The bridge between Rock Island and Davenport. We made our way back to the Ecoline Motel and called it a night after a great day with the Chinese QJ Steam Engines.

Click here for Part 4 of this story!