Interestingly, it was not until 1912 did the WCF&N begin to look southward, which would ultimately constitute the bulk of its system. That year in December it opened as far as La Porte City (18.97 miles) and on September 14, 1914 had reached Cedar Rapids 62.05 miles from Waterloo. At its southern terminus the road interchanged with the Milwaukee Road, Chicago & North Western, Rock Island, Illinois Central, and fellow interurban Cedar Rapids & Iowa City (the CRANDIC Route). Keeping true to their intentions in operating to high standards the main line (and the whole system in general) ran along privately-owned right-of-way and was electrified using a 1,300-volt, D.C. system (incredibly powerful for an interurban when most didn't operate more than 600 or 800-volt systems).
Despite the fact that passenger demand never materialized, early on the
WCF&N also operated this service to a high level. After completing
its Cedar Rapids line the company ordered seven all-steel cars from the
McGuire-Cummings Manufacturing Company of Paris, Illinois (this builder
would supply the WCF&N with nearly all of its passenger equipment
over the years); of these, four were combination baggage coaches and the
the other three were de luxe parlor-buffet-observation cars. The
interior of the cars were
incredibly luxurious for an interurban with ornamental brass railings,
scalloped awnings drapped from the roof overhangs, washrooms, hot water heaters, oak paneling, leather-upholstered wicker armchairs, and an illuminated "Cedar Valley Road" drumhead on the rear platform.
Additionally, in a rare move for an interurban, the WCF&N worked in conjunction with the C&NW to provide through Pullman service between Chicago and Waterloo. This survived until the 1930s when demand began to quickly decline following the rise of the automobile and ongoing depression. The road's top-notch passenger operations did not even last that long, after just a few years of providing this service lack of demand forced it to scale back. By 1952 daily scheduling had ended altogether and the interurban provided only weekend runs after that point. A 1954 roundhouse fire at its headquarters in Waterloo destroyed most of its passenger equipment and this ultimately led to the discontinuance of such service altogether after July 31, 1958.
The WCF&N's forward thinking of its freight business kept the company humming along as passenger demand waned. It had three interchange points with the Class Is mentioned above (Waterloo, La Porte City, and Cedar Rapids) and was able to remain fairly profitable after World War I except for a period during the mid-1920s. Two decades later, however, it was not so fortunate as it fell into receivership in 1940 and reorganized in 1944. While the interurban showed strong profits during the period its operating ratio was far too high (a typical problem in the industry). In 1956 it was finally sold (then still owned by Cass interests) to the IC and Rock Island which renamed it as the Waterloo Railroad. A year later all remaining electrified services ended, which had been provided by a fleet of freight motors and steeple-cabs most of which had been built by Baldwin-Westinghouse.
their place four Electro-Motive SW900 diesel switchers were purchased,
#1-4, painted originally in the road's black and white livery (later in
the mid-1970s they were repainted into IC's white and orange). In 1968
the CRI&P sold its share and before the year ended remaining owner
Illinois Central began abandoning most of the railroad. On December 24,
1985 Class II, regional Chicago, Central & Pacific Railroad was
formed from ex-IC trackage which included the remaining WCF&N line
that still survived around Waterloo. This was repurchased by the IC in
1996 and is still owned by Canadian National which acquired the Class I in 1999.
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