Iowa Rail News
1994 The Iowa Association of Railroad Passengers, Inc.
3349 Southgate Court, S.W., #108, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404-5424

Richard F. "Dick" Welch, President

FALL 1995

George F. Davison, Jr., Editor


The Fall Membership meeting of the Iowa Association of Railroad Passengers will be Saturday, October 7, 1995, in Burlington, Iowa. IARP President Richard F. “Dick” Welch urged all members to make an effort to attend this meeting. Welch said, “Our meeting in Burlington will provide a unique opportunity to visit a town that is rich in railroad heritage. More importantly, we have a chance to learn first hand about the efforts to renovate the historic Burlington depot, as well as the importance of the railroads to Burlington.” President Welch noted that Pat Jackson, who is Des Moines County Attorney and chair of the Burlington Depot Restoration Committee, is helping to arrange the meeting.

The tentative schedule for the meeting is:

10:00 a.m.:				Convene at the depot in Burlington
10:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m.:		IARP Business Meeting
11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.:		Conference with Pat Jackson
Following lunch:			Tour of the Burlington Northern shops
Tentative, after BN shops tour:	Tour of the Charles E. Perkins Mansion
Welch urged members to note the earlier starting time for the meeting: 10:00 a.m. This is to accommodate the numerous activities that have been planned.

Other possible activities in Burlington include Burlington Hill, site of the now famous air brake tests in the late 1800s; the two former Burlington way cars that have been recently donated to the city; Snake Alley; and the always busy Burlington Northern mainline (former CB&Q, originally the Burlington & Missouri River).


NARP Region Ten Director Cathy Johnson of Iowa City urges all members of IARP to write members of the Iowa delegation in support of funding for AMTRAK. While AMTRAK is a favorite target for "budget cutters", Johnson notes there is some good news. The Senate Commerce Committee AMTRAK bill earmarks one-half cent of the gasoline tax for AMTRAK ($500 million a year), and the Roth-Biden Amendment would allow states to spend certain categories of Federal highway funds on AMTRAK. Johnson suggests asking business leaders to support AMTRAK and writing letters to the editors of local newspapers. Johnson says, "We must continue to let the public know that AMTRAK benefits us all."

The Officers, Directors and Committee Chairs of the Iowa Association of Railroad Passengers, Inc. (IARP)
President: Richard F. "Dick" Welch, 3349 Southgate Court, S.W., #108, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404-5424 319-362-6824
Vice President/Legal Counsel/ Editor Iowa Rail News: George F. Davison, Jr., 2501 Grand Avenue, Suite C, Des Moines, IA 50312 515-288-6532
Secretary: Vacant
Treasurer: Mary Buczek, 1422 West 9th Street, Davenport, IA 52804 319-323-3390
Director: John Ely, Jr., 203 23rd Street, N.E., Cedar Rapids, IA 52402 319-363-3927
Excursion Chair: Eliot A. Keller, 2105 A.C.T. Circle, Iowa City, IA 52245-9636 319-351-9300
Membership Chair/NARP Region 10 Director: Cathy Johnson, 242 Ferson Avenue, Iowa City, IA 52246-3509 319-337-5989
Meetings Chair: Gary Billmeyer, 1301 Rittenhouse Street, Des Moines, IA 50315 515-285-2807
Records Chair: Jerry Droll, P.O. Box 353, Clarence, IA 52216-0353 319-452-3010
General Correspondence 3349 Southgate Court, S.W., #108, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404
Iowa Rail News is the official publication of the Iowa Association of Railroad Passengers, Inc.


By Ernest L. Lester

AMTRAK shares Washington Union Station with two commuter or regional railroads: MARC (Maryland Area Rail Corporation) and VRE (Virginia Railway Express). The former operates over three routes: the Brunswick Line which is 74 miles over CSX tracks to Martinsburg, WV; the Penn Line 76.6 miles over the Northeast corridor to Perryville, MD via Penn Station, in Baltimore; and 36 miles over CSX to Camden Station, Baltimore. VRE operates two routes south into Virginia: one terminates south of Manassas; the other at Fredericksburg.

On July 14 I boarded MARC train 248. It was scheduled to depart Washington Union Station at 11:30 a.m. for the one hour and nine minute trip to Camden Station, Baltimore. The train consisted of a locomotive and four single level coaches. The seating was 3/2. The conductor and his assistant were friendly and kept busy with eight scheduled and two flag stops during the 36 mile trip. Just two minutes after leaving the Laurel depo, we eased to a stop at Laurel Racetrack, a scheduled stop for all MARC trains, except several rush hour expresses and baseball specials. About 35 passengers left the train at the race track, clutching their racing forms. They hurried across the parking lot toward the grandstand for the first race of the day.

MARC's Camden Station is a small modern affair with three stub end tracks located about a block south of the old, but impressive, B & O Station. Next to the station are two tracks used by the Baltimore Light Rail Vehicle system. On the west side of the station, the old B & O warehouse contains shops and restaurants, as well as offices of the Baltimore Orioles Baseball team. Just on the other side of this building is the new Baltimore Orioles Camden Yards Baseball stadium. The Inner Harbor is about five blocks east.

This and the return trip took me back to the pre-AMTRAK days of the all stops local. It is encouraging to see many commuter railroads, such as MARC, evolving into regional railroads with all day service in both directions, as opposing to just into the city in the morning and out in the evening. MARC has upgraded service on the Penn and Brunswick lines with parlor car service on four of its named trains: The Morning Executive, The Afternoon Executive, the Metropolitan Special, and the Blue Ridge. This appears to be the trend in several areas in the country restoring to some communities a level of train service which was lost when the private railroads left the passenger business.