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 guage line. The entire line came into the Chicago Northwestern Railway system by 1884. The C&NW owned a majority 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.
It 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. UP continues to operate from Des Moines to Ankeny as the Ankeny Sub, a spur.
Also, from Ames to Burt is the Jewell Sub, and sees about 4 trains per day.
This bridge is the largest in Webster City, Iowa and Hamilton County. That is why it has the city name attached to it.
The bridge is a 3 span bridge, with two-120' Quadrangular Lattice Through Truss spans and a 80' deck plate girder span, supported on stone, with the exception of the south abutment, which is concrete.
A stone on the north abutment clearly reads 1901, leading me to believe this is when the bridge was constructed.
The exact same truss design is on a bridge about 10 miles north, near Woolstock over Eagle Creek. These were likley built the same time.
The stone piers on this bridge are nothing but massive. The river is shallow, so getting close to the bridge is easy.
The photo above is looking from a downstream sandbar.
Boone River Railroad Bridges
|Upstream||UP Boone River Bridge|
|Downstream||CN Boone River Bridge|