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CP Davenport Sub

     Canadian Pacific's Davenport Subdivision, former IC&E River Sub, runs from Nahant Yard located in Davenport to Sabula Jct. For the most part, the Davenport Sub hugs the western bank of the Mississippi River, providing a number of photo opportunities. The Davenport Sub is track warrant controlled and sees numerous trains throughout the day. The CP considers itself to be a north/south railroad. I'll be covering the Davenport Sub from Davenport to LeClaire. For chasing purposes, US Rte 67 parallels the Davenport Sub all the way from Davenport to LeClaire and beyond.

     After leaving the Nahant Yard Limits at Marquette Street, the railroad runs through downtown Davenport. There are several landmarks in downtown Davenport that make for neat props. Starting from the south, you'll find the Oscar Meyer plant, Modern Woodman Park, formerly John O'Donnel Stadium, a great place to sit back and watch the Single 'A' baseball team the "Quad City River Bandits". The former MILW freight house (complete with CMStP&P Freight House sign on south end), the former Union Station, and the double decked Government Bridge used by the Iowa Interstate. The Davenport Sub dips under the Government Bridge and actually goes below the water line, but with the help of a pump house, the tracks stay dry. This is the first place to flood after a big rain storm or during the spring flooding season. After clearing the bridge, tracks go through Builders Cement before arriving at the switch at Waterworks, MP 191.3. Waterworks is where the Eldridge Spur jumps off the main and heads through Davenport and Mount Joy before arriving at Eldridge. A job out of West Davenport serves a few industries along the line including Roll & Hold in Mt. Joy and John Deere near Eldridge. Unfortunately service on the Eldridge Branch is now at night. Back on the main, Mound Street can be found about a half mile to the north of Waterworks. This is a favored holding spot for southbounds wanting to get into Nahant.

     Further up from Mound Street is the South Siding Switch at Bettendorf, MP 189.5. The north side of Bettendorf is home to the former Dri-Line depot, now MofW office, and a small yard on both sides of the mainline and siding. All trains bound for Nahant will call the yardmaster from Bettendorf and ask for "landing instructions." The yard is used by the BNSF jobs from Barstow and Clinton as well as the L914 job. The CP and BNSF interchange most of their cars here. The BNSF Barstow and Clinton jobs will also exchange cars here. The yard tracks funnel down to the main at the North Siding Switch, which is also where 31st Street crosses the tracks. There is a big gravel lot here, making for a good place to sit back and watch the locals work. Both ends of the siding at Bettendorf feature new radio-controlled power switches. As a train approaches, the engineer uses the radio keypad to dial in each switch. You'll hear the switch talk over the radio giving its location and the switch the position is thrown to (normal or reverse). The crew will acknowedge the switch and the switch will again broadcast when the train is all clear of the switch. At MP 187, the ICE crosses the Duck Creek on a nice bridge. This is also the location of the spur into Alcoa, used by the BNSF only. A street crosses the tracks near the bridges providing safe, public access for photographs.

     At MP 185, on the north side of Alcoa, is the switch into MidAmerican Energy's powerplant at Riverdale. Union Pacific delivers coal trains here down from their mainline at Clinton on an as needed basis. ***Do NOT attempt to get on MidAmerican property!! It is a Federal offense to tresspass here. The guards will no longer hesitate to call the police, who in turn notify the FBI!!*** Pleasant Valley is located at MP 184 and hosts a small siding to store cars for Olympic Steel and the Cold Storage facilities located here. There are some neat curves around MP 181 and can provide some good shots of the Mississippi River. A defect detector is located at MP 179.2 and gives off everything imaginable except train direction. LeClaire hosts a passing siding, with public access to both ends of the siding.

River Subdivision





LeClaire 5,640 179.2
184.0 Pleasant Valley 2,530  
188.1 Bettendorf 8,570 & Yard
191.3 Waterworks  
193.0 Davenport


West Davenport Yard
195.7 Nahant Yard

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Webmaster: Erik Rasmussen
Revised: 11/19/2008