Railroad buffs across Iowa have a chance to ride the rails this fall while making a donation to charity. The 104-year-old Cedar Rapids and Iowa City Railway Company, or CRANDIC, is holding an on-line auction and a raffle to raise money for the United Way of East Central Iowa.
Railway spokesman Jeff Woods says the top prize is seats aboard a diesel locomotive. Woods says, "Each contest, the winner will have one guest and themselves to ride one of our trains on its regularly scheduled service route." It’s not a high-speed train — far from it.
Woods says this locomotive travels around 20 miles an hour, or slower. He says the traditional route winners choose is the "Road Job" which runs 33-miles from Iowa City to Hills, going through Swisher, North Liberty, Coralville and the University of Iowa campus. Woods says the round-trip ride may take ten or 11 hours, or the winners may just choose to go one-way.
Woods says, "You really get an interesting perspective on the countryside in the corridor from our right-of-way and it’s also fun to share stories with the engineers and watch these folks as they physically move the cars in and out of local industry." The railroad runs on more than 100 miles of track in four east-central Iowa counties.
The raffle tickets are $2 each, while the on-line auction bidding ends September 28th at 8 P.M. Last year’s on-line auction ended up around $500. For more details on the raffle and auction, visit the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City line’s website.