- 1884: 104 miles completed from Waterloo to Des Moines, Iowa by the Wisconsin, Iowa and Nebraska Railway
- 1886: WI&N sold to the Chicago, St. Paul & Kansas City Railway
- 1887: 27 miles completed from Oelwein to Waterloo, Iowa by the Chicago, St. Paul & Kansas City Railway
- 1888: 159 miles completed from Des Moines, Iowa to St. Joseph, Missouri by the Chicago, St. Paul & Kansas City Railway
- 1890: 23 miles completed from St. Joseph, Missouri to Beverly, Missouri by the Leavenworth & St. Joseph Railway
- 1892: L&StJ merged into the Chicago, St. Paul & Kansas City Railway, trackage rights obtained over the Union Pacific and Missouri Pacific into Kansas City
- 1893: CStP&KC sold to the Chicago Great Western Railway
- 1909: Chicago Great Western Railway becomes the Chicago Great Western Railroad
- 1968: Chicago Great Western purchased by the Chicago & North Western Railway
- 1984: Des Moines to St. Joseph segment abandoned due to acquisition of parallel Rock Island "Spine Line"
- 1985: Bondurant to Marshalltown segment abandoned
- 1985: Cedar Falls to Cedar Falls Junction segment abandoned
- 1986: St. Joseph to Kansas City segment abandoned
- 1989: Marshalltown to Cedar Falls Junction segment abandoned
- 1995: C&NW purchased by Union Pacific Railroad
- 2001: Bell Avenue Industrial Lead in Des Moines abandoned
- 2011: Bondurant Industrial Lead abandoned
- 1987-Present: Chicaqua Valley Trail uses the railroad grade from I-80 north of Des Moines to Baxter
- 1992-Present: Great Western Trail uses the railroad grade from Des Moines to Martensdale
- 1995-Present: Union Pacific leases the Cedar Falls to Oelwein segment to the Iowa Northern Railroad
- 1995-Present: Union Pacific operates small segments of the former route in Des Moines and Kansas City
Once located in Des Moines, this large railroad bridge crossed the Des Moines River south of the Scott Avenue Bridge.
Built in 1901, the bridge featured four large skewed Pratt Through Truss spans. These spans were all 7 panels with pinned connections and a significant skew. They followed a traditional design seen in the first few years of American Bridge Company and the 20th Century.
The substructures of the bridge were all built of stone, although some were later encased in concrete. These substructures became a major issue with the bridge, with the west and east piers having extensive damage, primarily caused by the growing of a tree in each pier. The encased pier also were beginning to fail, as the concrete on the pier was beginning to slip.
Significant alterations to the bridge occurred in 1925 and 1945, when the piers were repaired. It is believed the encasements occurred in 1945. Steel repairs occurred in the 1970s.
The piers on the bridge were built in 1887, for a similar bridge. However, the original bridge was five spans. The size was cut to four spans in the 1901 rebuild.
At the end of 2012, demolition of this structure surprisingly began. The structure was sold to the City of Des Moines for future trail use. Demolition was completed in the summer of 2013.
When demolished, the substructures of the bridge would have needed repairs to be usable for a trail. However, the truss structure actually was in good condition and was rehabilitated with the replacement of failing steel. Unfortunately, Des Moines decided demolition of this bridge was needed for flood reasons. The author believes that this bridge could have been preserved with proper maintenance, and could have served as a trail.
Should the bridge still exist, the author would have ranked the bridge as being moderately significant, due to the truss design. However, this bridge is not as significant as other railroad bridges in Des Moines past or present.
The photo above is an overview. The photo below shows the demolition of the bridge.
|Upstream||CBQ Des Moines River Bridge|
|Downstream||Union Pacific Des Moines River Bridge at Hartford Avenue|