Re: IC Service on the Iowa Division

Chet French <cfrench@...>

--- In STMFC@..., Denny Anspach <danspach@m...> wrote:
The fascinating information about the blurring of craft
in the operation of IC hot trains was totally interesting. How
would this have been on other railroads?

Although the IC and banana traffic has always seemed to be a
"natural", one does not naturally put the two together when
to the Iowa Division. Am I mistaken that Jim Singer presented
clinics in Naperville and Cocoa Beach a year ago pointing out that
Dubuque, Iowa (a major point on the Iowa Division) was a major

When thinking of "hot" trains on the Iowa Division, we have
traditionally thought of the eastbound meat trains out of Omaha and
Sioux City. If there were now "hot" banana trains as well, these
would seem to have been all westbound.


The IC, in the steam and early diesel period, did a good banana
interchange business with the CB&Q at East Dubuque. Cars were set-
out on the "banana" track at that location by the westbound IC trains
for the Q to pick up and forward to the Twin Cities and beyond. I
believe the track and its name still survives today. The business
lasted about ten years beyond the period that this group deals with.
I hired out as a brakeman at Freeport in 1960 and recall coming out
of Chicago on a westward trip a year or two later with 17 cars of E
Dubq bananas behind the engines.

In talking to the old heads over the years, everyone did work
together in the steam days with the head brakeman helping the fireman
take water and coal and sometimes helping clean the fire. The
fireman often lined switches when the brakeman was out of position.
Even after I went to work, when I had to drop off and make a cut
behind a set-out, the fireman would line switches ahead of the engine
if needed. The brakemen also assisted in set-out and picking up
diesel units enroute coupling the MU hoses and cables. I also spent
more time in the engineers seat than I would ever want an offical to
hear about. Several times running the engines for the entire run for
a sick engineer.

Chet French
Dixon, IL

Join to automatically receive all group messages.