IAIS Locomotive Paint Schemes

Phase 0

IAIS Phase 0 wasn't as much an official paint scheme as a patched version of the paint the engines came on the railroad wearing. The most common variant was the ICG white and orange, with a black "IOWA INTERSTATE" on the long hood and a black circle with the white text "IAIS" on the nose.


Phase I

IAIS Phase I paint included a 20" red stripe with bordering 2" yellow stripes only on the long hood, along with solid yellow ends. The nose had the IAIS emblem. Road numbers were large yellow digits on the cab side.

This was Iowa Interstate's first original paint scheme, and was only worn by three units. IAIS 8036 / 36 / 436 was the first IAIS engine painted, and was done for a promotional video. IAIS 7957 / 57 / 457 and 7971 / 71 / 471 were renumbered and painted later, but prior to 1987. (From IAIS former CMO Fred Cheney?, via the IAIS list.)



Phase II

IAIS Phase II paint had a 16" red stripe bordered by two 2" yellow stripes running the entire length of the unit and had solid yellow ends. Lettering was supposed to be 12" Helvetica Medium. This paint scheme was implemented by CMO Fred Cheney? in 1987, after coming to the railroad in 1987 and "deciding the paint scheme needed some help." IAIS 250 was the first engine to be painted in the new scheme, and IAIS 479 (formerly IAIS 7979) was the first roadswitcher to wear it.

Phase II came in two different lettering sizes and placements.

  • Phase IIa had wider lettering, and the "IOWA INTERSTATE" on the long hood was positioned towards the rear. According to Cheney, this was an error caused by the paint department at Precision National when they painted 402 and 403.
  • Phase IIb had the more modern, narrower 12" Helvetica Medium. Also, the "IOWA INTERSTATE" on the long hood was more centered.

Phase III

IAIS Phase III paint had the stripe running the entire length of the unit, but with yellow chevrons on both ends. This modification to Phase II was implemented somewhere around 1989, likely with the painting of IAIS 900.


Phase IV

IAIS Phase IV paint had the stripe running the entire length of the unit, but with a solid yellow front nose and a yellow chevron rear. It also replaced the white reflective sill stripe with a yellow one. The solid yellow nose included the IAIS logo. This paint scheme was introduced with the 700-series GP38-2s, and was later applied to the 150-series SD38-2s, IAIS 601, and IAIS 628. The paint on the 700s was also the first IAIS paint job that included a clear coat, so these units look much cleaner and shinier than those in earlier schemes.



Phase V

IAIS Phase V paint includes solid yellow ends, with a large IAIS logo on the front and a zig-zag stripe. It was created for the 500-series ES44ACs, and so far has only been applied to those units. The paint scheme was partially inspired by a concept drawing done by a fan on the IAIS list.

Oddball Paint

IAIS 303

Nicknamed the "Green Bean" by some fans, IAIS 303 was the only unit in prior paint to receive a partial IAIS stripe. (850, the other unit remaining in prior paint, received the full length stripe.) During part of a cab rebuilding/repainting process, a short section of stripe was applied with the road number along the cab side.

IAIS 495

IAIS 495 is a former CSXT engine, and came wearing CSX "stealth" grey. The letters on the size were selectively augmented and blanked to form a very blocky blue IAIS.

IAIS 650 & IAIS 651

650 & 651, given their low profile as cut-down slug carbodies, wears a modified form of Phase IV, but with a zig-zag in the red/yellow stripe to bring it up to the level of the stripe on the connecting end of mothers IAIS 601 and IAIS 721.

IAIS 850

850 remained in Green Bay & Western red for its entire stay at Iowa Interstate. The traditional IAIS stripe (phase II - IV) was applied for the full length of the unit, though the ends remained solid red and never received chevrons or yellow paint.

IAIS 513

This is the Rock Island heritage unit.

IAIS 516

This will be another special paint scheme, to be released in late January or February 2015. It's rumored to be a 30th Anniversary IAIS scheme, inspired by the Rock Island's red and yellow paint scheme but not strictly a "heritage paint job".

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  Last modified on January 07, 2015, at 11:15 AM
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