As mentioned last time there is one more ‘I’ which warrants a longer entry.
Iowa Traction. This is the only surviving wholly electrically operated shortline freight hauler. It’s origins are in the Mason City & Clear Lake Railroad, an interurban line dating back to 1897 providing passenger service until 1936 and freight only thereafter. This became the Iowa Terminal Railroad in 1961 and was purchased by local interests in 1987 when the present title was adopted. In 2012 it was purchased by Progressive Rail but that seems, so far, to have had little effect on the operation. It is 10½ miles long with the shop at Emery, approximately midway between Mason City and Clear Lake. Most activity takes place on the eastern end in Mason City where several customers are located and there are interchanges with UP (CNW) and CP (SOO). The line west of Emery appears to be used for long term storage of tank cars which no doubt brings in a useful income for no effort!
Operations seem to take place in the mornings and can almost all be observed from public roads – it was a roadside interurban after all – and the crews and management are all “railfan friendly” and appreciate they are operating, in effect, an operating museum.
By the way, there is a small trolley museum in Clear Lake.
60, a Baldwin-Westinghouse 60 Ton (41054 5/17), outside the carbarn at Emery IA on 23 March 2004. It was originally Youngstown & Ohio River 5.
54, a smaller Baldwin-Westinghouse 50 Ton (56538 5/23), stands on the spur to AG Processing plant at Mason City IA awaiting the call to action on 23 March 2004. It was built as Iowa Southern Utilities 400.
Having been woken up, 54 pulls the empties from a siding at Mason City.
54 crosses 19th Street SW with empties for AG Processing whilst 50 waits to spot loads.
50 waits whilst hi-tech point reversal techniques are employed. Another Baldwin-Westinghouse 50 Ton (53784 10/20) it was new as Washington & Old Dominion 50 coming to Mason City after a spell with the Kansas City, Kaw Valley & Western.
54 propels the empties from AG Processing into the UP interchange track at Clear Lake Junction in Mason City.
51, yet another Baldwin-Westinghouse 50 Ton (54748 5/21) new as Northeast Oklahoma 2, it later served both the Crandic and KC,KV&W before coming to Mason City.
In a timeless interurban scene 54 heading west alongside the road with 51 on the rear out of Mason City on 23 March 2004.
A general view of the Emery IA depot on 23 March 2004.
54 glowing in the sunshine outside the depot at Emery. The traditional “Traction Orange” livery is kept in perfect condition.
54 and 51 stand side by side outside the Emery depot on 23 March 2004.
Another important customer is a scrapyard adjacent to the Emery depot. 54 waits with two gondolas of scrap whilst 51 attaches two more on 23 March 2004.
The operation is well worth visiting if you find yourself in the area.