In 1855, the Mississippi & Missouri Railroad Company began building an extesive network of railroads in Iowa.
The largest line connected from Illinois, on the Rock Island side of the Missippi, crossed the Mississippi and began heading west.
This crossing of the Mississippi is one of the most famous, and is the first known railroad crossing of the river.
The line was completed to Wilton (25 miles from Davenport) by September 19th, 1855.
At Wilton, a line would eventually be completed heading south to Muscatine (13 miles), at which point the railroad completed a new line from Muscatine to Washington (30 miles south of Iowa City)
The future mainline was continued, making it to the capitol of Iowa City by December 31st 1855.
Between 1860 and 1865, the line was eventually extended to Kellogg, about 45 miles east of the new capitol, Des Moines, which became the capitol in 1858.
The railroad became part of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific (Rock Island) on October 20th 1865.
In 1867, the line was extended to Des Moines, where it met up with what was formerly known as the Des Moines Valley Railroad.
From here, it was extended to Council Bluffs Iowa in 1869, a distance of 141 miles.
Beginning in 1896, the Rock Island took on a big challange by double tracking up until West Liberty, 20 miles east of Iowa City. Most of the line was reconstructed between Council Bluffs and Chicago between 1895 and 1902.
After years of doing well, the Rock Island began to fall apart by the 1960's. The Union Pacific attempted negotiations to merge with the Rock Island, which fell through.
In 1981, the ICC ruled that the Rock Island would be liquified. The Chicago North Western Railroad purchased much of the Iowa and Illinois lines.
The one line they didn't acquire was the mainline from Chicago to Los Angeles. This is due to the fact they had a mainline just north of that line.
The mainline became part of the Iowa Interstate in 1987, which has become an extremely successful railroad today.
The Union Pacific Railroad acquired the C&NW in 1995, meaning it would have been interesting should have the UP merged with the Rock Island.
Today, the Iowa Interstate is heavily used, with about 4 trains per day at any given piece of tracks. The IAIS is a prime example of hard work, and luck.