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Old Time Trains
Des Moines and Central Iowa

DCIR 600 a 70-tonner at work in Des Moines, Iowa. 9-1-65 GE #29084 9/47 Collection of Joseph Testagrose

Like many shortline locomotives this one has a long and interesting history. It began when the Jamestown, Westfield and Northwestern a small interurban line 32 miles long in the south west corner of upstate New York near the Pennsylvania border ended its passenger service (May 11 or Nov.30) 1947. It was taken over by the H.E.Salzberg Co. a somewhat infamous company that acquired a small "empire" of shortlines often abandoning and scrapping them soon afterwards. This was no exception. Dieselization followed with two GE 70-tonners being acquired. They were numbered 600 and 700. The first was sold in 1949 to the Des Moines & Central Iowa and the second sold following abandonment January 21, 1950.

Both the Fort Dodge, Des Moines & Southern and the much smaller Des Moines & Central Iowa, both interurbans were dieselized with a fleet of GE shortline units, mostly 70-tonners. They were both acquired in 1968 by the Chicago & North Western which promptly got rid of these small units several of which were required to haul one train on the FDD&S due to its light rail and bridges from its interurban past. All 14 of these units (plus two 44-tonners) were acquired 6/69 by Canadian dealer Andrew Merrilees Ltd. of Toronto which had an American subsidiary, Industrial Railway Equipment (IREX). IREX 600 went 9/72 to Canmore Mines in Alberta which also had a long history. Following its closure in 1979 it was sold 9/80 to Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Mining Ltd. a potash mine in Rocanville, Saskatchewan. It had been acquired 4/77 by the government of Saskatchewan from Sylvite of Canada, a division of Hudson Bay Mining & Smelting. Note: The first four (402, 404, 405 and 406) were sold 12/69 to Hudson Bay Mining & Smelting in Flin Flon, Manitoba, which sale no doubt paid for the entire fleet acquisition! Pilkington Glass in Scarborough (Toronto) got 410 although it failed after about two years and was sold back to Merrilees who eventually sold the hulk as AAMX 30380 (its builders number) to Laurinburg & Southern in North Carolina. Other units were sold in the US and some were cannibalized. The two 44-tonners were DM&CI 502 and 503, originally NYO&W 102 and 103. The first was believed scrapped while 503 went in 1973 to Simplot Chemicals in Brandon, Manitoba.

Note: Jamestown, Westfield & Northwestern began as an electric interurban railway December 8, 1913 from earlier steam roads dating back to 1881. Its emblem included "Chautauqua Lake Route " and billed itself as "America's Scenic Route". Scenic it was, including serving lake steamboats as well as the Chautauqua Institution, a large Christian summer resort still in existance.



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