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History: "Swing & Sway the CRANDIC Way"

In 1939, the CRANDIC purchased six high-speed cars from the Cincinnati & Lake Erie Railroad. Capable of traveling up to 120 miles per hour, these cars were repainted yellow, refurbished and incorporated into the rest of the passenger fleet.

With a peculiar swaying motion, these fast cars called "Comets," lead to the jingle "Swing and Sway the CRANDIC Way."

While passenger service flourished, the CRANDIC continued to haul freight such as coal, milk, lumber, grain and grain products.

CRANDIC Time Table No. 31

In 1951, the Iowa City agent reported that the CRANDIC hauled an average of 25 carloads of coal to a power plant in Cedar Rapids, and additional cars for the University of Iowa's plant in Iowa City.

Throughout World War II, CRANDIC's ridership rose steadily. In 1945, CRANDIC's passenger service reached its heyday, carrying a record 573,307 people.

For 10 cents, a passenger could travel from Coralville to Iowa City, and for $7, a book of 100 tickets could be purchased. While 13 runs were scheduled, sometimes as many as 16 runs were made.

Photo gallery:

Conductor Bob Rice

CRANDIC was ahead of its time in customer service. The railway
offered passengers convenient door-to-door service.
Here, Conductor Bob Rice assists a rider boarding No. 117.

Student Passengers

Thousands of students took advantage of CRANDIC's passenger service.
University of Iowa co-eds are shown in the Cedar Rapids depot
at Second Street and Fourth Avenue in 1947.

Car No. 120

Car No. 120 is shown on the University of Iowa campus in 1949.
(UI campus photograph - Charles A. Brown Photo/Lloyd Keyser Collection)

Car No. 116
Car No. 109

Car No. 116 was one of four “comets,
named for their ability to travel at
speeds up to 90 miles per hour.
(Photo reprinted with permission
The Gazette - Cedar Rapids, Iowa)

Car 109 was an excursion train popular
with rail fans and shutterbugs who spent
hours documenting the popular route.
(Photo courtesy
Krambles-Peterson Archive)

Next: The Last Passengers >>