The following year, the Iowa City and Western Railway continued the line 11 miles south to Iowa Junction. Here, the route would connect to an east/west line through the area.
Both of these railroads would be leased by the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern Railway. The BCR&N was constructing numerous small lines through the area, connecting all parts of Iowa.
By 1902, the BCR&N would be acquired by the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad. The Rock Island already had an established mainline running through Iowa City.
As a result, this route became a branch line. The line connecting to Elmira would be abandoned by the end of 1929.
In 1976, the line was again cut down and abandoned from Hills to Iowa Junction. By 1980, the Cedar Rapids & Iowa City Railroad acquired the remaining portion of the line.
Today, the CIC operates the remaining portion as the Hills Industrial Lead. The route serves very few remaining customers, and could be a canidate for abandonedment in the coming years,
Located in the south side of Iowa City, this unique bridge crosses the Iowa River.
Originally, it appears that the bridge had a trio of truss spans. However, at some point prior to 1938, the bridge was significantly altered by what appears to be a devastating event.
As a result, the bridge received it's current look. It is very possible that both the current truss spans were brought in from elsewhere.
The author does not know much about the bridge. The northern span is a riveted Quadrangular Lattice Through Truss which appears to date to the mid 1880s. The author has approximated the construction date of 1885.
South of that is a second truss span, with 6 panels of riveted Warren Through Truss. This standard truss likely dates to approximately 1905. This design of truss can be seen across the former Rock Island system.
A third 176 foot long truss once existed, but was replaced with trestle spans. The entire bridge, except the trestle spans sits on stone and concrete substructures.
The previous bridge was likely a typical BCR&N Parker Through Truss. Judging by the current state of the structure, either a derailment or flooding would have caused the current configuration.
Because the Rock Island was particularly well known for reusing bridges of all sizes, and left little records of what they had; the original dates and locations of the truss spans may never be solved. However, during the 1930s and 1940s, the RI did a considerable amount of rebuilding of older structures.
One such location these could have come from is the mainline from Davenport to Kansas City.
Overall, the bridge appears to remain in good condition. As a short branch line, it is highly unlikely this bridge would be replaced, unless a disaster made it necessary.
The author has ranked this bridge as being highly significant, due to the unique history and old age of the trusses.
Should the railroad discontinue service across this structure, the author believes it is an absolute must for Johnson County and Iowa City to reuse the bridge and grade as a trail.
The photo above is an overview. It can be accessed from a trail underneath.
Iowa River Railroad Bridges
|Upstream||IAIS Iowa River Bridge|
|Downstream||RI Iowa River Bridge (River Junction)|