The line was continued north by the Toledo & Northwestern Railway in late 1879, and was completed to
Blue Earth, Minnesota by 1883. It was a standard gauge line. The entire line came into the Chicago North Western Railway system by 1884.
The C&NW owned a large amount of track around Iowa at the time.
The line was a critical C&NW route to connect to the Twin Cities.
Starting from Des Moines, the line would start in downtown, and head north towards Ankeny.
The line would cross the east/west Milwaukee Road mainline at Slater, It would go through Kelley, crossing the Fort Dodge, Des Moines & Southern before arriving in Ames.
In Ames, it would cross Squaw Creek, and the busy C&NW east/west mainline.
Near Story City, it had to cross a high trestle over Keigly Creek, which was later filled and replaced with a stone bridge.
The line continued through Randall, crossed an east/west C&NW branch line in Jewell, and came into Webster City after crossing the Boone River.
In Webster City, it crossed the Illinois Central line again, and left town crossing the Boone River again.
Continuing north, the route went through Woolstock, and in Eagle Grove crossed a Chicago Great Western Line, and had a CNW line towards Humboldt break off.
It crossed another CGW line in Goldfield, and continued through Renwick and Lu Verne.
At Algona, it crossed over another Milwaukee Road main, and continued through Burt and Bancroft before crossing a Rock Island line near Lakota.
It crossed into Minnesota at Elmore, and joined with another CNW line at Blue Earth.
Several sections were abandoned over time. This included:
Ledyard to Blue Earth in 1968, Ledyard to Bancroft in 1978, Burt to Bancroft in 1985, and Ankeny to Ames in 1985.
The C&NW merged into Union Pacific in 1995. Since this merger, the Ankeny to Des Moines route has been abandoned and will be reused a trail.
The remaining segment, from Burt to Ames is known as the Jewell Subdivision.
This standard through girder bridge was built in 1917 to cross Ioway (formerly Squaw) Creek.
The year before, the previous bridge was destroyed in a flood. In response, this structure was erected.
Using a standard through girder span, the bridge was set onto wooden substructures and approached by trestle spans.
Upon abandonment in 1985, the City of Ames purchased the line and the railroad grade and reused it as a trail.
The bridge stayed in use until a flood in 2010 destroyed the bridge. The flood knocked significant portions of the pier out of position causing the bridge to severely lean.
In 2012, the bridge was replaced with a modern pedestrian truss span. In 2020, that truss was removed, and an extension of Grand Avenue was constructed over the railroad grade.
The author has ranked the bridge as being locally significant, due to the common nature of the design. Despite the Local Significance rating, this bridge was a nice addition to the area.
The photo above is an overview of the bridge.