Iowa Rail News

1995 The Iowa Association of Railroad Passengers, Inc.
3349 Southgate Court, S.W., #108, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404-5424

Richard F. "Dick" Welch, President

George F. Davison, Jr., Editor


Richard F. "Dick" Welch of North Liberty was re-elected President of the Iowa Association of Railroad Passengers at the group's annual membership meeting on Saturday, January 21, 1995, in Cedar Rapids. Welch is President of R.F. Welch Company of Cedar Rapids. Roland Lynch of Council Bluffs was elected to the Board of Directors. Re-elected to the organization's other offices were Vice President George F. Davison, Jr. of Des Moines; Wilbur V. St. Peter of Anamosa, Secretary; Mary Buczek, Davenport, Treasurer; and board members Scott L. Rogers of Cedar Falls nd John M. Ely, Jr. of Cedar Rapids.

The membership approved a resolution thanking Jack Boylan of Mystic for his service on the board of directors. Boylan did not seek re-election to the Board.


Meeting on April 8, 1995 in Council Bluffs

Register Now for Conference and Tour of Harriman Dispatch Center
The future of the long haul passenger train and a tour of the Harriman Dispatch Center in Omaha will be the highlights of the joint IARP/ProRAIL NEBRASKA, National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP) Region 10 conference. The meeting will be held on Saturday, April 8, 1995, at the Holiday Inn, Council Bluffs, Iowa. The Holiday Inn is at the interchange of Interstate 29 and 25th Street.

One of NARP Region 10's Directors, Dan Lutz of Lincoln, NE, said the featured speaker at the conference will be Don Cushine of Chicago, IL, who is General Manager of Amtrak's Long Haul Trains. It is expected that Cushine will update the persons attending the conference on the current Amtrak financial crisis and its effect upon Amtrak's long distance trains, including the California Zephyr .
Lutz said, "Elimination of long distance trains, such as the Zephyr , would not only deprive residents of Iowa, Nebraska and citizens elsewhere in the central part of the United States of a public transportation alternative, but it also would mark the demise of Amtrak as a national rail passenger system."
NARP Region 10 includes the states of Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. Lutz noted that membership in IARP, ProRAIL NEBRASKA, or NARP is not necessary to attend the conference which begins at 10:00 a.m. Here is the schedule of events:

Registration 10:00 a.m.
Business Meeting - State Reports, Cathy Johnson, Region 10 Director, Presiding 10:30 a.m. - 11:50 a.m.
Buffet Lunch - $7.25 per person Noon
Address by Dan Cushine of Amtrak 12:30 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.
Business Meeting Continues, Dan Lutz, Region 10 Director, Presiding 1:15 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.
Busses Leave Holiday Inn for Harriman Dispatch Center tour (Pre-Registration Mandatory) 1:45 p.m.

A fee of $2.00 will be charged for bus transportation from the Holiday Inn to the Harriman Center. Lutz stated that ADVANCE REGISTRATIONS are required for the Harriman Center tour. Other rail related sites of interest in Council Bluffs and Omaha include: Union Pacific Museum, Western Heritage Museum (former Union Station), and the Rails West Museum, the former Rock Island depot in Council Bluffs.

Advance Registration is Mandatory to Participate in the Harriman Center Tour
Send to Dan Lutz, 3915 Apple Street, Lincoln, NE 68503-2133, FAX: 402-472-0025
Cathy Johnson, 242 Ferson Street, Iowa City, IA 52246-3509, FAX: 319-337-2317

Who To Call and Where to Write

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 50312-5311 515-288-6532
Secretary: W.V. "Pete" St. Peter, P.O. Box 116, Anamosa, IA 52205-0116 No Telephone
Treasurer: Mary Buczek, 1422 West 9th Street, Davenport, IA 52804-4018 319-323-3390
Director: John Ely, Jr., 203 23rd Street, N.E., Cedar Rapids, IA 52402-4902 319-363-3927
Director: Scott L. Rogers, 1112 Catherine, Cedar Falls, IA 50613-2426 319-266-0703
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 50315-6531 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 52404-5424

Iowa Rail News is the official publication of the Iowa Association of Railroad Passengers, Inc.

An interim report was recently made public about the Commuter Rail Feasibility Study of the Iowa City-Cedar Rapids corridor. Cathy Johnson and Eliot Keller represented IARP at the presentation by the Wilbur-Smith Consulting team.

The steering committee overseeing the consultants' work emphasized the need to compare the Iowa City-Cedar Rapids corridor to others with similar characteristics. The consultants were told, "Don't quote California and Florida. This is the Midwest."

Still being studied are the type of system that should be designed; the speed at which the system should operate; whether speed is worth the potential costs; the type of propulsion to be used; and where the system should go. The study is expected to be completed in June 1995.

The study was authorized by the Iowa General Assembly and was sponsored by IARP member Jean Lloyd-Jones, at the time a state senator.
Petitions with over 900 signatures seeking support from the General Assembly for additional Amtrak service in Iowa have been presented. Cathy Johnson coordinated the effort to obtain the signatures. Eliot Keller submitted the petitions to Iowa House Speaker Ron Corbett and a representative of Senate Majority Leader Wally Horn. Copies of the petitions have also been mailed to the Governor Branstad.

IARP President Richard F. "Dick" Welch urged members to continue to write members of the Iowa General Assembly and Congress supporting Amtrak. Welch said, "We must continue to let our elected representatives know and understand the importance of rail service to a balanced transportation system in the United States. If we do not let our representatives know, no one else will."
APRIL 1, 1995:
Des Moines Railroad Historical & Model Meeting, at Howard Johnson's Motor Lodge, 4800 Merle Hay Road, just south of the Interstate 35/80 - Merle Hay Road Interchange. The meet is co-hosted by the Mid-Continent Region of the National Model Railroad Association and the Burlington Route Historical Society. Representatives of a number of railroad historical societies will be there, including the Chicago & North Western Historical Society, Rock Island Technical Society, and Wabash Route Historical Society. Registration begins at 8:00 a.m. A fan trip and photo run-by will be conducted on the Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad. More information from Mike Bush, 1718 East Walnut, Des Moines, IA 50316.

MAY 21, 1995:
Mid-Iowa Train Show, Valley High School, West Des Moines, IA, beginning at 10:00 a.m. Admission is $2.00 for adults; children under 12 with an adult are free. Valley High School is at 35th and Woodland in West Des Moines, just south of Interstate 235 at the 35th Street interchange. More information from Viola Dubay in West Des Moines at 515-223-1963.

Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad resumes daily operations, rain or shine. Weekday departure time at 1:30 p.m. On Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays trains leave the station at 10th and Division Streets in Boone at 11:00 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Steam is operated on weekends. Call the Boone & Scenic Valley for more information at 800-626-0319.

JUNE 23 - 25, 1995:
Milwaukee Road Historical Society meeting in Cedar Rapids, IA, at the Five Seasons Center. The annual meeting of Milwaukee Road enthusiasts will feature slide shows and tours. More information Jerry Droll, P.O. Box 353, Clarence, IA 52216-0353, Telephone: 319-452-3010.
The announcement was not a surprise -- the timing was, perhaps to some, coming immediately after the Union Pacific gave up its "battle" for control of the Santa Fe. The UP has purchased control of the Chicago & North Western. My sense is the UP "war" with the Burlington Northern over the Santa Fe was a diversion, intended to assure that when the day to assume control of the North Western came, it would be flawless, if possible.

The UP move can mean some good things for rail passenger service in Iowa. The UP is not antagonistic toward passenger service, and its steam, diesel, and passenger excursion fleet is legendary. Excursion chair Eliot Keller has already contacted Steve Lee, director of the UP excursion operation, to let him know that IARP would like to do something positive.

There are downsides, too: more job consolidations and reductions, fewer rail facilities, and less competition. There are serious questions about the impact upon Iowa's regional railroads -- Chicago Central and Iowa Interstate. Can they survive, or will both end up in the UP camp? When CC was the Illinois Central, it, along with the UP and Southern Pacific, was controlled by the Harriman family. When IAIS was the Rock Island, it was supposed to have been the favored UP connection by virtue of a contract negotiated by Dr. Durant and his cohorts.

Keep watching and observing. Time will tell.