From 2012 to 2016, the Iowa Interstate Railroad (IAIS) leased and operated 8.4 miles of railroad owned by the Cedar Rapids & Iowa City Railway Co. (CRANDIC). The rail line, known as the Hills Line, extends from a connection with CRANDIC’s Cedar Rapids-Iowa City line at milepost 25.0 near Burlington Street in Iowa City, Iowa to the end of track at milepost 33.4 in Hills, Iowa.
At Maiden Lane in Iowa City, near milepost 26, the Hills Line connects with IAIS’s so-called “Hill Track,” which extends a short distance to IAIS’s main line and Iowa City Yard. The IAIS main line, the Hill Track, and most of the Hills Line are former Rock Island trackage, and were operated as part of a single carrier system through the Rock Island bankruptcy. The Hills Line was acquired by CRANDIC in 1980 in order to preserve service on that branch line, while the other former Rock Island trackage in Iowa City is today owned and operated by IAIS.
There were three active shippers on the Hills Line — City Carton Recycling, Nagle Lumber, and Eldon C. Stutsman, Inc. — generating approximately 600 annual carloads of traffic. CRANDIC provided rail service on the line as needed, typically 1-2 days per week, utilizing a crew based some 25 miles away in Cedar Rapids. CRANDIC did not have other significant traffic on its Cedar Rapids-Iowa City line, and thus faced a fairly long and inefficient operation to reach and service the isolated Hills Line.
IAIS provided service on the Hills Line using a crew based at IAIS’s nearby Iowa City Yard. Due to the close proximity of IAIS yard and crew resources to the Hills Line, both parties felt the lease would provide more efficient and frequent rail service to shippers on the line and enhance the long-term viability of operations on the line.
On October 26, 2016, under the terms of the governing lease agreement, the IAIS relinquished to CRANDIC (and CRANDIC alone assumed) the legal obligation to provide common carrier rail service over the Hills Line.
About the Iowa Interstate
IAIS is a Class II common carrier by rail which owns or operates approximately 551 route miles of rail line in the states of Illinois and Iowa. IAIS’s principal route extends from Blue Island, Illinois, outside of Chicago, to Council Bluffs, Iowa. A primary branch line extends from Bureau, Illinois, on the Blue Island-Council Bluffs line, to Peoria, Illinois. Secondary branch lines reach Milan, Illinois and Prairie City, Grimes and Oakland, Iowa. IAIS began operations in 1984, over rail lines previously owned by the bankrupt Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad Company.
IAIS is itself owned by Railroad Development Corporation, a non-carrier holding company.
About the CRANDIC
CRANDIC is a Class III common carrier by rail which owns and operates approximately 60 route miles of rail line extending southeast and southwest from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. CRANDIC began operations in 1904 as an interurban railway between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, Iowa. In 1980, CRANDIC acquired a rail line between Cedar Rapids and Amana/Homestead, Iowa from the bankrupt Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad Company. That line connects with what is now IAIS’s main line near Homestead, and IAIS operates over CRANDIC’s trackage between Homestead and Cedar Rapids.
CRANDIC is a subsidiary of Alliant Energy Corporation, an Upper Midwest public utility holding company.