Iowa Interstate Railroad, Ltd.

Iowa Interstate's website is:


Please see below for additional perspective on IAIS as compiled by their colleagues at RDC.

photo of new Rock Island-inspired logo of IAIS





intermodal operations at Council Bluffs, Iowa

eastbound IAIS train passing restored Newton, Iowa, depot

Amtrak inspection train on IAIS at Rock Island, Illinois - April 1998

About IAIS    |    Fast Facts    |    System Map    |    News & Press Clips

Photo Gallery    |    Link to IAIS    |     Recommended Links    |    Contact


Iowa Interstate Railroad (IAIS) is a privately held corporation founded in 1984 to operate the former Rock Island routes between Chicago, IL and Omaha, NE in the Midwest USA. Heartland Rail Corporation purchased the trackage from The Rock Island's trustee to preserve the line as a through route, making IAIS one of the few regional railroads that connects with every Class 1 railroad at multiple locations. As a result, IAIS creates competition for its on-line customers to ship and receive their goods to or from anywhere in North America. Traffic includes containers, forest products, ethanol, fertilizer, metals, agricultural and dimenstional products i.e. windmill blades.

IAIS is a 592 mi (954 km) single-track standard gauge (1,435 mm) regional carrier. IAIS owns and maintains 428 mi (689 km); leases and maintains approximately 49 mi (79 km); and uses trackage rights over other carriers of 115 mi (186 km). The main line extends from Council Bluffs, Iowa to Bureau, Illinois. Trackage rights have been procured between Bureau to Blue Island, IL over CSX and Metra.

IAIS provides intermodal facilities at Blue Island, Illinois, and Council Bluffs, Iowa, and offers access to the Mississippi and Illinois River terminals for rail to barge or barge to rail service. Transload facilities are also located in Council Bluffs and Newton, Iowa.

click to view larger imageIAIS purchased a total of 17 new 4400 horsepower GE Evolution Series (ES44AC) locomotives for their fuel efficiency and maintenance savings. With these units, IAIS remains competitive and poised for growth. To service and maintain all power, the "Dennis H. Miller Locomotive Maintenance Works" shop was constructed in South Amana, Iowa, in 2012.

Safety is an important component of RDC's culture and IAIS' persona, and is reflected in IAIS' twice receiving the Gold Harriman Award for its excellent safety record.

IAIS is a member of the Association of American Railroads (AAR) and the American Short Line & Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA).

From 1991 through 2003, IAIS was jointly owned by Heartland Rail Corporation and RDC. Now IAIS is an affiliate of RDC.

Fast Facts

Length 592 miles  /  954 km
Principal Power: (17) GE AC 4400 units
(17) EMD GP 38-2 units
(4) SD 38-2 units
(2) slug units
Intermodal Ramps: Blue Island, Illinois, and Council Bluffs, Iowa
Traffic: containers, ethanol, fertilizer, metals, intermodal, agricultural and dimensional products (windmill blades)
Interchanges: UP, BNSF, CSX, NS, CN, CP, EJE, KCS, CIC, IHB, CRL, TZPR
Route: Main line extends from Council Bluffs, Iowa, to Bureau, Illinois.Trackage rights have been procured between Bureau to Blue Island, IL over CSX and Metra.

Major branch line to Peoria, IL from Bureau, IL over owned track from Peoria to Henry, IL and leased track from Henry to Bureau, IL.

Other branch lines owned or leased:
-- Rock Island to Milan, IL
-- Altoona, IA stub
-- Des Moines to Grimes, IA
-- Hancock Junction to Hancock, IA

System Map

  printer-friendly map
(607k PDF)

click to view larger image of IAIS network

Click to view larger image of the IAIS railroad system.

(Map design provided by Bill Metzger)

  News and Press Clips

www.IAISRR.comLink to IAIS
Please visit IAIS' official website at for more information or to purchase IAIS-related merchandise.

Recommended Links

YouTube Video
An inspiring film from 1950 documenting Rock Island's important role in the Greatest Transportation System in the world.
DVDs by Revelation Video
  • "Rock Island Rooster" 
    (75 minutes -- Chinese QJ 2-10-2s come to America and highlights of their first public excursion, Sept. 2006)
  • "Hawkeye QJ"
    (55 minutes -- footage of the QJs steam-hauled freight run on IAIS, June 2007)

Unofficial IAIS photo archive and railfan guide
Tom Fawell (EMD loco artist)

RailARC - the ultimate IAIS photo archive
Rock Island Technical Society
Historical Overview of the Rock Island
IAIS photos on

Contact Information

Iowa Interstate Railroad
Administrative Office
5900 6th Street SW
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52404


+1 (319) 298 5400
+1 (319) 298 5457
Joe Parsons, President & CEO 

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