Illinois Central "Land O Corn"

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Illinois Central "Land O Corn"
Posted by Heartattack 19 on Wednesday, September 13, 2006 10:05 AM
I just found out one of my friend's grandfather's was an engineer on the IC's Land o Corn until the mid 1970's.  It has sparked an interest in trains for him, so i am trying to nuture that interest along.  I found some very basic information, mainly the route and the interesting two car trainset's that are being imported as brass models.  I tried to look up info on the IC historical Society, but have not located a whole lot.  Playing with Google, i always come up with info on the Mendota Sweet Corn festival, which i have heard is a great time, but irrelevant to what i am interested in right now.  Does anyone know a good source on info (equipment used, possible Amtrak takeover, that type of stuff)  then i can go to George Elwood's great site and see what locomotive he may have rode on.  Thank you, sorry for the long post!
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, September 13, 2006 10:57 AM

From the June 1954 Official Guide, The IC 'Land of Corn', Trains 13 and 14.

Number 13:  Lv Chicago 5:15PM,  Ar Waterloo 10:55 PM

Coaches - Deluxe Reclining Seats - Chicago to Waterloo

Cafe-Lounge - Chicago to Waterloos.

Diner - Chicago to Freeport, Ill.

 

Number 14:  Lv Waterloo 6:45AM,  Ar Chicago 12:15PM

Coaches - Deluxe Reclining Seats - Waterloo to Chicago

Cafe-Lounge - Waterloo to Chicago

 

The April 1971 Guide shows only the 'Hawkeye', no 'Land of Corn'. This was the last month before the start of AMTRAK.

 

Art

 

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Posted by KCSfan on Thursday, September 14, 2006 4:18 AM

The Land 'o Corn was originally a two car train consisting of a gas electic "doodlebug" combine power unit pulling one coach. I have heard that locals referred to it as the "Can o' Corn" in that era. Somewhere in the 1946-48 time period it was converted to a modern lightweight streamliner pulled by a single E diesel locomotive with a consist as describe above by Art. I don't know exactly when it was discontinued but would know it was in pre-Amtrak times probably in the late 1960's or early 70's. Currently there are plans to reinstate passenger service over that portion of the old Land 'o Corn's route between Chicago and Rockford.

Mark

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Thursday, September 14, 2006 7:00 AM
If the passenger run was in the mid-1970's under the Amtrak banner, there is a possibility that he is talking about the "Black Hawk", which was a Section 403 train between Chicago and Dubuque.  It started out with RDC's and later became a locomotive-hauled consist.
The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by wjstix on Friday, September 15, 2006 2:50 PM
Hmmm....I have a video from the eighties somewhere in my stuff that is an all color film from about 1937-41 that had a segment on the "Land O Corn", at least they mention it. Wish I could remember more for sure. I think it was called "Streamliners of Yesteryear", includes some great shots of the RR displays at the NY 1939 World's Fair and Chicago & NorthWestern's streamlined 400 in it's first year of operation.

Stix
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Posted by nanaimo73 on Saturday, September 16, 2006 1:33 AM

The Land O' Corn began handling Flexi-Vans for the Post Office in 1960.

The last run was August 5, 1967.

The Chicago-Sioux City run had the Hawkeye (11 & 12) until Amtrak began.

Amtrak's Black Hawk ran Chicago-Dubuque from Feb 14, 1974 until Sept 30, 1981.

Dale
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Posted by Heartattack 19 on Monday, September 18, 2006 11:41 AM
Thank you for the information!  I will have to see if my friend's dad worked for Amtrak now!  I really appreciate all of this information.
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Posted by Nightfreight on Tuesday, September 19, 2006 2:04 PM
I used to hike or ride my bike the 2-3/4 miles from my home in Villa Park, IL north to the IC tracks after supper to watch the Land O' Corn roar through. This was circa 1961-63. It normally carried flatcars with trailers for US Post Office (1-2), baggage car (1-2), 2-4 coaches (depending on season/holiday). I can't remember if it carried a diner or lounge. I'm pretty sure it did. The motive power was usually an pair of A unit E's although every once in a while you'd see a couple of geeps. The Hawkeye followed the Land O' Corn by about four hours on the overnight run to Sioux City. It was mostly headend cars (3 or 4) a couple of coaches and a sleeper. Motive power was almost always 2 geeps.
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Posted by northwoods railroader on Monday, July 13, 2015 3:15 PM

I lived in Elmhurst and also would like to watch the Land O' Corn both ways at West Ave. Sometimes when the inbond was late I would estimate the speed of about 90 mph. Loved the striking colors and occasional E-9's great horns and unusual double white bulbed oscillating headlights. I moved to Wisconsin along the Soo Line and eventually hired out there at Stevens Point, doing many different jobs and finally retiring as a dispather on the CN

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Posted by Wizlish on Wednesday, July 15, 2015 12:43 AM

KCSfan
The Land 'o Corn was originally a two car train consisting of a gas electic "doodlebug" combine power unit pulling one coach. I have heard that locals referred to it as the "Can o' Corn" in that era.

Was it not run with a Motorailer consist (both units powered, but the rear one with only one engine,not two)?  And that only for a comparatively short time -- the Motorailers being wrecked, and when rebuilt sold to the Susie-Q?

My understanding was that during and immediately after WWII the train was run with conventional equipment and steam power.  I have no idea what specific type of equipment, though.

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Posted by tgee43 on Wednesday, July 15, 2015 8:42 PM

Believe this is true. NYS&W got those cars.

Wizlish

 

 
KCSfan
The Land 'o Corn was originally a two car train consisting of a gas electic "doodlebug" combine power unit pulling one coach. I have heard that locals referred to it as the "Can o' Corn" in that era.

 

Was it not run with a Motorailer consist (both units powered, but the rear one with only one engine,not two)?  And that only for a comparatively short time -- the Motorailers being wrecked, and when rebuilt sold to the Susie-Q?

My understanding was that during and immediately after WWII the train was run with conventional equipment and steam power.  I have no idea what specific type of equipment, though.

 

 

 
KCSfan
The Land 'o Corn was originally a two car train consisting of a gas electic "doodlebug" combine power unit pulling one coach. I have heard that locals referred to it as the "Can o' Corn" in that era.

 

Was it not run with a Motorailer consist (both units powered, but the rear one with only one engine,not two)?  And that only for a comparatively short time -- the Motorailers being wrecked, and when rebuilt sold to the Susie-Q?

My understanding was that during and immediately after WWII the train was run with conventional equipment and steam power.  I have no idea what specific type of equipment, though.

 

[/quote]

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Posted by Los Angeles Rams Guy on Tuesday, October 27, 2015 2:47 PM

As a very young boy growing up in northeast Iowa, I can remember watching the Land O' Corn whizzing by my aunt and uncle's house in Manchester.  That was quite a sight to see!

"Beating 'SC is not a matter of life or death. It's more important than that." Former UCLA Head Football Coach Red Sanders
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Posted by IowaFrisian on Sunday, March 18, 2018 11:22 PM
I realize that this is 12 years post the date if the original question, but i only recently joined Trains and Classic Trains. The original Motorailer Land 'o Corn was wrecked in 1947 only having started in 1946. It then ran as a diesel-hauled consist until its end of operation in 1967. Those of us west of Waterloo had to rely on The Hawkeye for travel to Chicago if we decided not to drive ourselves. We had always used The Hawkeye for westbound travel anyway, but as before, only if we chose to not drive ourselves. My grandparents and great-grandparents were usually the deciding factor in our mode of transport, and I love 'em for so often choosing the train.
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Posted by Fr.Al on Monday, March 19, 2018 10:47 AM

I say God Bless your grandparents and great-grandparents then! Frisian? As a language buff that piques my curiosity. Frisian is a micro language spoken in the Netherlands. It is supposed to be the closest language to English.

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Posted by IowaFrisian on Tuesday, April 10, 2018 1:27 AM

Frisian (or Plaat) is also spoken in Germany in areas near the Dutch border; areas including Emden, Aurich, and Leer from where my great-great and great grandparents emigrated. We grew up speaking Low German and English at home and High German along with English in church until the early '70s. And yes, Plaat is quite similar to English. I tell my wife it's akin to a mixture of English, Dutch, and German.

Fr.Al

I say God Bless your grandparents and great-grandparents then! Frisian? As a language buff that piques my curiosity. Frisian is a micro language spoken in the Netherlands. It is supposed to be the closest language to English.

 

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Posted by Fr.Al on Tuesday, April 10, 2018 4:19 PM

Thank you! My late wife grew up speaking a micro language called Lemko. It is sometimes considered a dialect of Ukrainian, but bears influence of Polish, Slovak, and some Hungarian. Its speakers are in Southern Poland. It was the old Austro-Hungarian empire when her four grandparents arrived here over a century ago.

     But I'd like to hear more about the trains you grew up with in Iowa. Steam, Interurbans, Mixed Trains, etc. I missed out on all that. My parents moved to Vermont from suburban NYC area in 1956 when I was four and my brother two. Had they moved to Detroit, I might have experienced the last of GTW steam as described in the current issue of CT.

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