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Posted Tuesday, June 13, 2006
One of the more interesting developments lately is the coming of two Chinese QJ Class 2-10-2 steam locomotives (7081 and 6988) to Iowa Interstate. Railroad Development Corporation, IAIS's parent company, purchased these two and options for three more several months back. The pair have now arrived in the United States, having been off-loaded at the Port of Houston onto flatcars. They'll be moved across the BNSF from Houston to Rock Island, IL, where they'll be set on IAIS rails for FRA inspections and a test run or two. BNSF's online employee newsletter has an article about the move [here], and photos have shown up in threads on [here] and [here].

Two steam locomotives will be tested in eastern Iowa by the Iowa Interstate Railroad, a prospect that is already generating strong interest among railroad buffs.

"We are getting a tremendous number of calls on these things," said Dennis Miller, Iowa Interstate's president and chief operating officer. "A lot of private individuals want to take pictures. But we don't want to let a lot of people down there and get them hurt in the yard."

The Chinese-made locomotives have been acquired by Railroad Development Corp. of Pittsburgh, the parent of Iowa Interstate. They were transported on a ship from China to the United States, arriving in Houston in June, and were then placed atop special flatcars and brought to a rail yard in Rock Island, Ill. They will be brought to Iowa City, probably in early August, for final work needed before they can be fired up for train use, Miller said.

"We have a little shop there in Iowa City, and we will test them out, get the water on, and load some coal and probably start them up," he said.

The steam engines may also be used in September for passenger train trips planned in conjunction with Riverway 2006, a celebration of the 150th anniversary of the completion of the first railroad bridge across the Mississippi River, said Sally Heffernan, a special projects manager for the city of Rock Island. The bridge linked Rock Island and Davenport.

The excursion train trips will be operated by a Minnesota-based nonprofit group known as "The Friends of the 261," which has an old Milwaukee Road steam engine available. But the Chinese-made steam locomotives may be used instead to pull the trains, Heffernan said. Passenger trips are planned around the Quad Cities area, and from Rock Island to Homestead and Muscatine, and to Bureau Junction, Ill.


Raccoon Valley Model Railroad Club
5460 Merle Hay Road, Crown Point Center
Back Entrance, Studio G, Johnston, IA. 50131 

Scales:              HO, Hon3, O (2 rail), On3

Club Size:          2,000 sq. ft.

Meeting nights:  Every Monday 7:00 to 10:00 pm

Open House:      The last Friday of every month.

Marshall Young
515/ 276-6178

Ed Truslow

Features:   Located in the basement of a strip mall just north of I-80 on Merle Hay Rd. The facilities are new and modern in an upscale area of Des Moines. The O Scale layout features broad flowing curves and two separate large yards. The HO layout features a C design with long distance main line.          

       Below are some images from the club, including a very young rail fan          

The Central Iowa Railroad Club's log building that housed the club layout and meeting rooms has been torn down. The Iowa State Fair has located another building for the CIRC club, and has already started working on the structure.  This room is over 100 feet long, much larger than the old layout size.  Congratulations to all involved!!

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