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History: The First Passengers

Another asset to the Railway's popularity was that rail travel provided the convenience and flexibility passengers desired. Many benefited from the CRANDIC's hourly departure from either city, beginning at 5 a.m. and ending at midnight.

No one group characterized the CRANDIC's typical passenger: they came from towns or farms, and included men, women and children of all ages.

Children took the train to school on popular cars such as the "Hot Shot," a car that traveled south through North Liberty at 8 a.m. carrying 40-50 students to high school in Iowa City each day.

CRANDIC Conductor's Hat

Other cars, such as the "Milk Can Special," picked up both milk and students who had missed earlier cars. In a typical day, the Milk Can Special would carry 300 gallons of milk.

Many passengers took the Interurban to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics for medical attention. Others went to see a show, eat dinner or take a simple tour of the countryside.

CRANDIC Engineer's Hat

The CRANDIC also provided special trains to events such as Iowa Hawkeye football games or the Iowa Dairy Show.

On November 12, 1922, the Interurban came to the rescue of football fans trying to leave Iowa City. More than one inch of rain fell during the game; afterwards, 25,000 fans started home on the hilly "Red Ball Road" (Highway 218), which was described as a sea of mud.

More than 1,500 people ended up stranded in 500 cars between Iowa City and Cedar Rapids. Unable to move, people abandoned their cars and headed for the nearest CRANDIC station (which paralleled the road) looking for shelter and waiting for the next Interurban car.

CRANDIC dispatched several flat cars to the area, loaded the marooned cars and took them to Cedar Rapids.

Photo gallery:

CRANDIC Shop Crew - 1920

The CRANDIC Shops crew in 1920. Shops employees repair locomotives and railcars.

CRANDIC Shop Employees - 1936

CRANDIC Shops employees are pictured in 1936 in the original shop location on Rockford Road. A new, state-of-the-art maintenance facility was built at the site in 2005.

CRANDIC - Electric Interurban #119

Electric interurbans were the workhorses of the CRANDIC passenger fleet.
This photograph captures a rural scene where riders could board
at one of 60 stops between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City.
(Car No. 119 - William D. Middleton photo)

CRANDIC Locomotive 51 in 1938

Electric freight locomotive No. 51 pulls tanker cars near 10th Avenue
in Cedar Rapids in 1938. That year, CRANDIC moved 16,800 cars.
(Photo courtesy Joy Williams Collection)


This image shows an ad for CRANDIC Stages, Inc., which operated from 1929 to 1932.
Though not a well-known piece of company history, CRANDIC Stages began
as an intercity bus line that eventually offered motor coach transportation as far
west as Los Angeles. The venture was sold to Nevin Bus Lines in 1932.

Next: "Swing & Sway the CRANDIC Way" >>