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

by Chris Guenzler

After a good breakfast at Denny's we drove down to the parking structure in downtown Rock Island before we headed for the Train Festival 2011 grounds. Bob Riskie and I walked down to the train to Iowa City and boarded the coaches. We took a seat in the front coach. Our train consisted of Iowa Interstate QJ 6988, water car, Amtrak Heritage Unit 156, Amtrak Heritage Unit 66, Grand Canyon, Minnesota River, NRS 203, NRS 202, St Paul Pass, Lake Pepin, Arizona, Milwaukee Road 261 Concession Car, Lamberts Point, Caritas, St Croix River, Wisconsin Valley, Super Dome, Nenana and Cedar Rapids. After getting our seats, I went outside to get a picture of the front of the train.

The Mississippi River.

Amtrak Heritage Unit 66.

Amtrak Heritage Unit 156.

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

The two Iowa Interstate QJ's in Rock Island.

Don Crimn, our Amtrak engineer for this trip today.

The car I was riding in was the NRS 203.

My car attendants for our trip today. I returned to my seats before I walked the coach section of the train and visited with the passengers I knew. At departure time I was returning to my seat.

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 that created Rock Island Arsenal Island.

The Rock Island Locks.

Our crossing of the Mississippi River.

The rails I rode in 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 ex Rock Island West Liberty Station.

A neat red barn.

More of that Iowa countryside.

The QJ did a blow down as we neared Iowa City.

An Iowa Interstate freight train was waiting in Iowa City.

The caterers delivered our lunches in Iowa City where we stopped but no one was let off of the train.

The Iowa City Rock Island Station.

The Cedar Rapids and Iowa City Railroad.

The Iowa River with one of the falls.

After the Iowa River the view ahead. The train ran out to Homestead and then out to wye where we pulled down passed the switch to back around the northwest leg of it to point the train for the return to Rock Island.

The northeast leg of the Homestead Wye.

The train backing down the northwest leg of the Homestead Wye.

A pond by where we stopped before going forward.

The Milwaukee Road Concession Car Staff.

The train taking the northeast leg of the Homestead Wye. With the train now pointing east, we headed to West Liberty for our photo runbys.

Pulling into West Liberty.

The West Liberty Station now a museum. We all detrained for the photo runby.

The wooden Rock Island caboose on display in West Liberty.

The back up move.

The Photo Line at West Liberty.

The Photo Runby where two geeks came out from behind the station and wrecked plenty of pictures because they are in the picture. That is why I always shot back up moves just in case that happens which in this case it did.

The wooden Rock Island caboose.

One of the old crossing diamonds is now a nice railroad display at West Liberty. I visited the museum in the station. I saw the train backing up past the station and headed outside and sat down below a photo line at the West Liberty sign.

The second Photo Runby at West Liberty. We all reboarded the train and it took us back to Rock Island. After a great train ride we next headed 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.

The Amtrak 156 windshield will need a good cleaning.

On last view of the QJ.

The Children's Area. From here we went to the boat.