Appanoose County Community Railroad
|Dates of operation||1983–|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
The Appanoose County Community Railroad (reporting mark APNC) is based out of Centerville, Iowa. It is a shortline running to the community of Albia, Iowa, where it distributes cars from Centerville to be put on the BNSF Railway's trains.
The railroad was hit hard when the local Rubbermaid plant in Centerville (APNC's premier customer) closed its doors on September 15, 2006. At least 75% of the cargo hauled by the shortline was from Rubbermaid. The railroad is partly operated by the county.
Route of the APNC
The APNC comprises routes formerly owned by 3 railroads: the Norfolk Southern, the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific and the Burlington Northern. Starting from the Centerville industrial park, the APNC runs over 4 miles (6.4 km) of ex-BN trackage southeast, followed by 5 miles (8.0 km) of ex Rock Island east. At a point known as Moulton Junction, the two railroads, Norfolk Southern, and the Rock Island, meet. Today, only one part of two of the original routes through Moulton Junction remain. This is where the APNC turns to the north.
Going north, the APNC is now on ex-NS/N&W/Wabash trackage. The line passes over state highway 2, through the town of Udell, Iowa, and crosses over the Canadian Pacific Railway (formerly Iowa, Chicago & Eastern Railroad, originally Milwaukee Road before that) at grade, before entering Moravia, Iowa. At Moravia, there is a restored station, and a siding, which is used for run-around movements during the railroad's annual excursion train rides.
After leaving Moravia, the line continues north into Monroe County, Iowa. The next town is Albia which is the northern terminus of the railroad. At Albia there is a small yard, where cars from Centerville are exchanged with the BNSF Railway.
In 2005, a new RELCO locomotive facility opened in Albia, and is directly off the APNC route on the southern edge of town. RELCO leases, rebuilds and repairs locomotives from all around the country. Many different locomotives have been repaired here, including units owned by BNSF, Union Pacific, CSX, and Amtrak. RELCO also receives new locomotives en route and tests them on their tracks and over the APNC as well. Some of Montana Rail Link's and Norfolk Southern's new SD70ACe locomotives were tested in Albia before they were put into regular service.
Other railroads in the area
There are other railroads that the APNC passes over or travels by. The Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) passes through and crosses over the APNC just south of Moravia. The CP travels between Kansas City and Chicago. Its previous owner was the Iowa, Chicago and Eastern Railroad which was formerly I&M Rail Link, and even earlier than that it was the Milwaukee Road.
BNSF Railway's mainline between Chicago and Omaha, Nebraska, splits at Albia, Iowa. The southern mainline track goes through a cutting and under Albia. The APNC railroad track crosses over this mainline track. This BNSF mainline was once the Burlington Northern Railroad, and even earlier than that it was the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, better known as the "Burlington Route".
The APNC Railroad ends in Albia. However, the tracks continue on. BNSF owns these tracks and it is their only route to Des Moines. It is single track the entire way.
The APNC owns two GP7s. Both locomotives were delivered with high hoods, but later APNC had them cut down to provide greater visibility over the short hood. At first the engines were colored red with a white outline of Iowa below the cab's side windows, with the letters "APNC" in the outline. The engine's number was along the side of the locomotive. The engines are still mostly red, but there is a white stripe running down the center side of the engine, and there are white stripes on the front and rear nose of the engine, much like the stripes on the nose of many Missouri-Kansas-Texas GP7s. The engine number has now moved below the Iowa outline (not altered). Bright red "APNC" letters have been put on the white stripe along the side of the engine.
Every July, the APNC Railroad offers train rides from Moravia, Iowa. Passengers can purchase tickets at the renovated Moravia Depot that is adjacent to the APNC's mainline. The train travels from Moravia to Albia. Several different trains are operated each day, and one of the two GP7s will pull them.
- "Appanoose County Community Railroad Inc. (APNC) - 2008". Iowa Department of Transportation.