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  Trip Report: Train Festival 2011 - Chapter 2
  Wed, Jul 20
Steam powered freight on the IAIS
  From: Train Festival 2011 Dates: Jul 19-24, 2011 Author: Nathan Holmes


Photo 27
IAIS 6988 and 7081 moved from their home in Newton to Iowa City on Tuesday while we were out chasing the Nebraska Zephyr. On Wednesday, they'd be pulling revenue freight from Iowa City to Rock Island to complete their move to Train Festival 2011. Here they are leaving Iowa City just after 1000h.
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Photo 28
No, it's not an IAIS swing helper. 701 is along for the ride and is crewed, but isn't being used to get the train over the road. It'll be used as the rear end leader for the Rock Island to Walcott and back steam trips, since the train can't be turned.
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Photo 29
Passing through West Liberty by the old station and interlocking signal, they're making track speed with hardly any visible exhaust. (Dan Holmes photo)
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Photo 30
Smoking it up past the old elevator at Atalissa, IA. I wasn't sure I was going to like the "Americanization" of 6988 that had been done for TF2011, but the more I watched them, the more it began to grow on me. Still, I'm glad they left one of them as the Chinese intended.
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Photo 31
6988's warrant went only to North Star, so we figured (correctly) that he'd be meeting the westbound BICB there. When we arrived, 510 and crew were already in the hole waiting with a short west freight.
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Photo 32
Here's one for you - a regional railroad's nearly new ES44 passes their two Chinese steam locomotives pulling revenue freight across Iowa. I dare you - beat that for weirdness. 6988 and 7081 are being watered from their new water bottle - IAIS tank car 8000. 7081 is directly connected, but they have to stop and run hoses up to 6988.
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Photo 33
Okay, I'll try to top it - the railroad's chairman, Henry Posner III, poses with part of his fan club while the two steamers take water. Yes, apparently HP3 has fans now... (In all seriousness, this would be the mother and sister of a local IAIS railfan, passing the time with some humor while riding along in this mad cavalcade.)
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Photo 34
With BICB past, the crew starts running hoses to get water from the tanker up to 6988's tender. It used to be that they'd stop in Walcott for water from the local fire department, and I'm going to rather miss the scheduled stops in my home town.
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Photo 35
A little out of order, but this is the new water bottle for the steamers. This appears to be an older-style Union Tank Car-built ADM 17,000 gallon corn syrup tank, but I'm not a tank car expert - corrections welcome.
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Photo 36
A closeup of the direct hose coupling between 8000 and 7081's tender.
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Photo 37
Henry (green safety vest) shares a few notes on the train and its stats with Trains magazine editor Jim Wrinn (orange). I, lacking a pen or paper at the time, just had to memorize it. I believe it amounted to 7078 tons of freight and then 150 extra tons for 701, since the computer counted it as power, not freight.
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Photo 38
And with a mighty blast, we're off again. No worry, though - they've still got to stop to line the east siding switch back to the main.
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Photo 39
What can I say, the Americanized front end really is growing on me more as the day goes on.
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Photo 40
Also, I rather like the new cabside lettering that's been applied to both engines.
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Photo 40
One of my favorite shots of the day, rounding a bend just east of Walcott. In an agricultural setting such as this, I could almost believe I was seeing them on their home rails in China. It just resembles so many photos I've seen from those who did get the chance to see them while they were still running at home. (Thanks to Erik Rasmussen for the use of his truck bed.)
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Photo 41
The run's almost done as they come down the middle of the street in West Davenport. (See, I used my foamer filter, and you don't see a darn one, do you? Actually you can see three well hidden ones if you look very closely.)
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Photo 42
Sort of a grab shot as 6988 steps off the Sylvan Slough bridge, with the Rock Island Arsenal's clock tower in the background.
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Photo 43
Meanwhile, KCS 3913 sits in the RI yard with a detour train bound for Council Bluffs. Once 6988 is in the yard, they'll take off westbound. (Dan Holmes photo)
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Photo 44
With the freight dropped, the two engines make their way up to the east end of the Rock Island yard.
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Photo 45
Sure, it's not a great shot, but you've got to get the Have a Happy Day bridge!
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Photo 46
Before giving in to the siren's song of Maid-Rites, my dad and I stopped at the former Missouri Division Junction in West Davenport to catch the KCS grain empty detour.
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Creative Commons License This work is copyright 2011 by Nathan D. Holmes, with some photos copyright Dan Holmes (where indicated) (maverick@drgw.net), but licensed under a Creative Commons License. I encourage others to consider CC or other Open Content-style licensing of their original works.

All photographs in this trip report were taken with a Canon EOS 1D Mark III or 7D using either a Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS/USM, Sigma 18-50mm, or a Canon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS/USM.