News & Reviews News Wire Iowa Interstate bolsters locomotive fleet NEWSWIRE

Iowa Interstate bolsters locomotive fleet NEWSWIRE

By | November 21, 2019

Wabtec to deliver three ES44AC units from former GE Transportation product line

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ES44AC No. 510 leads train SIPE east at Bureau, Ill., in February 2014. The railroad’s three new locomotives will have the same appearance.
Jeremy J. Schrader
FORT WORTH, Texas – The first of three new Iowa Interstate Wabtec Corp. ES44AC (T4C) locomotives was spotted outside of Wabtec’s Ft. Worth plant recently. No. 517 was released with its carbody in primer and a black painted underframe. The locomotive is moving to Southwest Research’s facility in San Antonio, Texas, for emission testing first before being routed to Mid America Car in Kansas City, Mo., for paint. The order will carry Nos. 517-519 and will being painted in Iowa Interstate’s standard black, yellow, and red scheme.

The “(T4C)” after the locomotive model above indicates it’s a Tier 4 credit locomotive built with emission credits. The three locomotives will be identical visually and mechanically to Iowa Interstate’s existing fleet of GE ES44AC locomotives.

8 thoughts on “Iowa Interstate bolsters locomotive fleet NEWSWIRE

  1. And what entity, Government or otherwise, is requiring that new unit #517, be moved to Southwest Research’s facility in San Antonio, Texas, for emission testing first, before being routed to MAC in KC, MO for painting??? Is this unit not leaving Wabtec’s Ft Worth, TX facility, in a fully compliant emission certified state? Why is money being spent to do this? Is “Big Brother” randomly checking newly built locomotives, for emission compliance??? Anybody know???

  2. CURTIS – The ICC’s failure to approve the ROCK – UPRR merger – and the consequence – has been extensively written about. Ultimately, UPRR did pick up most of what was left of the ROCK by its acquisitions of CNW and SP (which had by then absorbed its Cotton Belt subsidiary; Cotton Belt had a big piece of the ROCK).

    Yes, ROCK stayed out of Amtrak because it couldn’t buy its way in. With its Chicago-based dinkies ROCK had the infrastructure available to run its Chicago-based mid-distance trains but the track across Illinois was terrible.

    Reading TRAINS-MAG in the 1970’s I was shocked at how bad a railroad ROCK had become. No CTC on its longhaul routes, therefore restricted in its traffic flow by how many stations up and down the line were staffed at any given hour. To say nothing of abysmal track. Comments in TRAINS-MAG included this: Some railroads made money running short, fast trains. Some railroads made money running long, slow trains. The ROCK ran short, slow trains.

    Another comment. The ROCK went to the same places as the Burlington, but the long way around.

    Obviously the ROCK was my least favorite railroad. That being said I once did visit the then-busy Silvis yard (near Rock Island), maybe 1979, and that was fun. That was an era when loose car railroading still existed and small customers still could ship a boxcar load. And that a railroad in its death throes then could deliver what the mighty and profitable UPRR can’t in 2019.

  3. Discussing the demise of the CRI&P: It has occurred to me that a more innovative management team could have save The Rock by turning the viable lines into regionals and shortlines and morphed themselves nto a holding company, per se. Or they could have followed Illinois Terminal’s example and again kept the viable lines and negotiated agreements to connect them on parallel railroads. The viability of the concept is shown by all the RI lines that are still operating under new owners.

  4. For better or worse, if memory is correct, the Rock was one of the few roads to stay out of Amtrak, perhaps because of lacking the cash to pony up or buy in. The other issue, not the Rock’s fault, was the ICC’s strange dilatarious behavior in processing the UP’s strong interest in purchasing all or part of the road, and as is well known the UP gave up, the Rock gave up, etc.

  5. Charles, I understand why someone would want to skip the Bankruptcy Blue scheme, as the time it represented wasn’t the best, but as Landon inferred, I’m of the age (45) that Bankruptcy Blue was the first Rock Island livery I can clearly recall. I was too young to understand that they were in the throes financial upheaval. I just associate it with my childhood.

  6. Iowa Interstate’s previous 3-unit orders (511-513 and 514-516) have included one unit painted in a quasi-Rock Island heritage scheme. Unit 513 is in black & red with “ROCK ISLAND” on the side and the castle logo on the nose. Number 516 is mainly in red, but with a yellow nose, trim, and “IOWA INTERSTATE” in big yellow letters on the flank. There was a rumor that 519 might come in Bankruptcy Blue with “THE ROCK” on the side, but, sadly, it doesn’t look like that’s the case.

  7. My understanding was that the Bankruptcy Blue was not simply to create a new look, though that was a part of it. The other reason was that blue paint was less expensive than the red paint. I don’t think anyone at The Rock thought that the railroads problems could be painted over. Unfortunately, new management wasn’t able to save The Rock, but they came close. They got it back to about break even, and with no strike and deregulation, I think it could have been rescued or sold to another RR. Even with a liquidation, more of The Rock remains than a lot of fallen flags.

    Some of is who are RI fans but are not old enough to remember the good times on the RI, see the blue as a symbol of hope, and a mighty fine paint scheme, when it was clean and new. I definitely like it better than the plain maroon, but it wasn’t necessarily better than a Rocket or Rocket Freight paint scheme. I would love to see a heritage unit on IAIS or another ex-RI railroad. However, it will never look as good on a modern locomotive as it does on the GP7 at Illinois Railway Museum.

  8. Andrew – Thanks for the observations and the info. With respect I need to disagree with your last sentence. I hope the railroad does us a favor and skips Bankruptcy Blue. Not that it was such a bad scheme (wasn’t great, wasn’t terrible) but it clashed mightily with other ROCK liveries and would do the same to the current carrier.

    Bankruptcy Blue was an attempt by America’s saddest railroad to (literally) paint over its terminal backwardness with a contemporary look. All it accomplished was to look totally out of place among the ROCK’s reds and the maroons.

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