After building and buying all the way to St. Paul, MN in 1902 the BCR&N was purchased by the Rock Island Railroad. (CRIP) The Rock Island had trackage rights in the St. Paul area. This completed the Spine Line. The Spine Line ran from St. Paul, MN to Kansas City, MO. This line was crucial to the Rock Islands health. The Spine Line ran through Mason City, splitting off at Manly.
But the Rock Island was a poor railroad, often going into Bankruptcy. Negotiations began for a Union Pacific and Rock Island merger in 1960, and fell through in 1980. The line here was well engineered, but due to a suffering Rock Island became unkempt and unmaintained. The Rock Island entered receivership in 1980. The Iowa Northern purchased the portion from the Nora Springs (12 miles east of Mason City) at the junction of the Milwaukee road to Shell Rock, near Waterloo. They operated as a shortline. It was completely purchased between Manly and Cedar Rapids by 1982, for a total of 5.4 Million.
Today, the Iowa Northern has a few more branch lines, but their mainline continues to be from
Manly to Cedar Rapids. The line sees about 2 trains a day, and is in decent condition.
This is a cool bridge over Hawkeye Ave, just outside of Nora Springs.
I have been told that this bridge is supposively haunted, making a even better bridge. The bridge cannot be accessed from downtown Nora Springs, because a big bridge on Hawkeye Ave over the Shell Rock River is closed, which is unfortunate.
This bridge is back in the woods, where the INAR is on a huge fill after crossing the DM&E (Ex MILW)
The legend I have been told is that this bridge, called the Gaylord Bridge, was built 1889, and a known serial killer was hung here by the towns people. This bridge, and the Gaylord Mansion are favorite hang outs of local teenagers.
This bridge is weird, because it has a main arch, but then little pedestrian underpasses on both sides, which makes the bridge harder to build.
To get to this bridge, go across two sets of railroad tracks on Hooker Ave, turn left on 9th St, and then a left on a little road, which is minimum maintnance.
The bridge is around a hill and steep curve.
The photo above is looking at the south face.