This weekend was the "Rail Ride for Flood Relief" event in the Quad Cities. Two steam engines took passengers on 90 minute trips towards either Walcott or Silvis, and there were also a few dinner excursions between the Quad Cities and Iowa City.
This QJ steam engine was built in China during the 1980's. They were purchased by the Iowa Interstate Railroad in 2006. Here's a PDF file showing them being unloaded from flat cars in Rock Island. Back when they visited during RiverWay 2006, it was said that they were bought to resell. One of the more recent articles said they were bought for spare parts and "to operate and display on occasion." Personally I think that the owner of IAIS just thinks they're cool, and this is his hobby.
The Iowa Interstate Railroad has also been buying up some old passenger cars, including a couple that have been repainted in IAIS colors, which I didn't get a good picture of.
On the left is one of the IAIS's 12 new GE Evolution locomotives (bit over $2 mil each), which you may have seen in some of GE's television commercials. They are much more fuel efficient than previous locomotives. These are the first brand new engines ever purchased by the railroad. On the right is IAIS's chairman and owner, Henry Posner. He donated all of the coal, fuel, equipment, and man-hours that were involved in this charity event, which allowed all the money that came in from ticket sales to go straight to the Salvation Army and their flood relief efforts. He was the hero of the weekend, and it was interesting to see that he didn't dress like the stereotypical railroad baron.
Here are a couple of views of the Davenport skyline, as seen from the train crossing Arsenal Island and the Arsenal Bridge. If the QC ever finally gets Amtrak service to Chicago, the state of Iowa is interested in extending service over to Iowa City, Des Moines, and eventually Omaha. If this happens, these will be the tracks that Amtrak would use, and this is the view of Davenport that the passengers would get. Its a little better than the view from I-80.
There would also be plenty of views like this between Davenport and Iowa City, although its a pretty nice view in its own way. This was taken near Walcott.
Finally, here's a video I took through the unfortunately dirty windows during the return crossing the Arsenal Bridge.