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 bridge is a little stone arch right next to County Road B20 in Rock Falls.
The bridge has a number of unique features, including the significant skew seen. This skew means the outer ring arch does not line up.
The bridges east face has a faded inscription which says 1886.
The stone head walls are massive, holding back a huge embankment that the arch sits under.
The photo above is an overview.