Iowa Interstate Railroad
|Locale||Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska|
|Dates of operation||1984–|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
|Headquarters||Cedar Rapids, Iowa|
The Iowa Interstate Railroad (reporting mark IAIS) is a Class II railroad operating in the central United States. The railroad is owned by Railroad Development Corporation of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The railroad was formed on November 2, 1984, using former Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad tracks between Chicago, Illinois, and Omaha, Nebraska. It was in partnership with real estate firm Heartland Rail Corporation that the IAIS was able to operate. Heartland purchased the right-of-way and infrastructure for $31 million (of which, $15 million was a loan from the Iowa Railway Finance Authority), and then leased it to IAIS for operations.
The railroad's mainline is roughly a straight line between these two terminal cities with a branch line connecting Bureau to Peoria, Illinois. In recognition of the railroad's Rock Island Railroad heritage, the IAIS logo uses a shape similar to the original railroad's logo.
Operations on the railroad are controlled by track warrants rather than signals. When the IAIS took control of the track, the former Rock Island signal system was already damaged beyond repair, so the trains were operated by warrant control. Trains are dispatched from the company's HQ in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where a new dispatching office was completed in 2016.
The Iowa Interstate is the only Class II railroad in the US that has connections to every Class I railroad, affording its customers a global reach not offered by other regional railroads.
Beginning in the mid-1990s, the IAIS mainline has been identified as a potential route for high speed passenger train service between Wyanet, Illinois (where the IAIS could be connected to the BNSF Railway), the Quad Cities and Iowa City, Iowa, as part of the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative (MRRI). The ultimate goal of the MRRI is to establish passenger train routes in a hub-and-spoke formation with Chicago as the hub that allow for speeds up to and above 110 mph (177 km/h). This project has been stalled due to various reasons including cost, funding and changes in the political winds. Negotiations and planning for the project continue.
The IAIS and the railroad infrastructure were purchased from Heartland by Railroad Development Corporation in 2003.
IAIS subsidiary Rail Traffic Control formerly provided consulting services for dispatching and operating small- to medium-sized railroads worldwide.
In 2004, IAIS was awarded the E. H. Harriman Award for its safe operational record.
IAIS uses 42 locomotives and two slugs to power its trains:
- 4 EMD SD38-2 (Numbered 150-153)
- 17 GE ES44AC (Numbered 500-516); unit 513 is painted in a Rock Island commemorative scheme; unit 516 is painted in a Rock Island inspired 30th anniversary paint scheme
- 1 EMD GP38 (Numbered 601)
- 18 EMD GP38-2 (Numbered 700-703; 705; 707-708; 710-716; 718-721)
- 2 Slugs (Numbered 650 and 651)
601 and 650 are permanently mated, as are 721 and 651
- Jerry Lipka, President and CEO
- Joe Parsons, Chief Operating Officer
- Chad Lambi, Chief Engineer
- Andrew Reid, Chief Mechanical Officer
- Greg Wilson Jr, Superintendent of Cars
- Al Satunas, Chief Transportation Officer
- Tom Meierhoff, Director of Rules and Training
- Adam Sutherland, Director of Safety and Security
Former Presidents of the Iowa Interstate Railroad:
- Doug Christy
- Jon R. Roy
- Dennis H. Miller
- Association of American Railroads (February 2005), Iowa Interstate Railroad is the February Featured Railroad. Retrieved May 23, 2005. General overview.
- Bi-State Regional Rail Commission (2003), Midwest Rail Initiative. Retrieved May 23, 2005. Details of the passenger rail studies.
- Iowa Department of Transportation, Amtrak feasibility study of passenger rail service Quad Cities to Iowa City. Retrieved May 4, 2009. Estimate of capitol costs to improve line for passenger rail service.
- Botting, Laura, Moline Dispatch Publishing Co. (1999), Iowa Interstate picks up pieces. Retrieved May 23, 2005. Details of the purchase from Rock Island and Miller's predecessor as president.
- Iowa Department of Rail, Railroad Profiles - Iowa Interstate Railroad Ltd. (IAIS). Retrieved May 23, 2005. Overview of the railroad, mention of RDC purchase year.
- Iowa Interstate Railroad, About IAIS. Retrieved May 23, 2005. General overview.
- Iowa Interstate Railroad (July 15, 2004), Iowa Interstate Announces Executive Appointment (PDF). Retrieved May 23, 2005. Announced Miller's presidency.
- Iowa Interstate Railroad (June 20, 2002), Iowa Interstate Announces Senior Management Changes (PDF). Retrieved May 23, 2005. Announced Roy's retirement from the presidency.
- IAIS Railfan's Guide. Retrieved May 23, 2005. Details the current operations of the railroad.