This line would be completed in 1857, and by 1858 the Iowa Southern Junction Railroad began construction on an extension into Fort Madison. This would be completed in 1859 by the Iowa Southern Railroad.
These two railroads would become a part of the Keokuk and St. Paul Railway in 1866. By 1867, the line would be extended to Burlington, Iowa where it would meet a mainline. The line would be completed in late 1869.
Far south of Iowa, a railroad known as the Clarksville and Western Railroad begun construction of a 54 mile line stretching from St. Peters, Missouri to Louisiana, Missouri.
Similarly, the Mississippi Valley and Western Railway completed a 34 mile segment from West Quincy, Missouri to Buena Vista, Iowa in 1872. This segment was started by the Mississippi and Missouri River Air Line Railroad in 1868.
In 1873, the Clarksville and Western Railroad was purchased by the Mississippi Valley and Western Railway in 1873. This railroad would complete segments from West Quincy to Hannibal, Missouri and from Lousiana to Clarksville.
In 1875, the railroad would become part of the St. Louis, Keokuk and North Western Railway. This railroad would complete the line between Buena Vista, Iowa and St. Peters Missouri in 1879.
Finally, in 1881; the railroad built a portion from Buena Vista to Keokuk. This created a continuous line between St. Peters and Burlington.
After a rename in 1887, the St. Louis, Keokuk and North Western Railroad built a final 49 miles from Cuivre Junction (at Old Monroe) to St. Louis in 1892. The entire line was considered critical to the development of industry along the Mississippi River.
Both the Keokuk and St. Paul Railway, as well as the St. Louis, Keokuk and North Western Railroad were purchased by the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railway in 1901. The CB&Q had been constructing a significant amount of track throughout the midwest.
In 1907, the 10 mile spur to St. Peters would be abandoned, considered unnecessary.
The remainder of the line remained critical to the CB&Q, which would eventually merge with the Northern Pacific and Great Northern to form Burlington Northern in 1970.
By 1996, the thriving BN decided to merge with the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe to form BNSF Railway, the current owner of the line. It currently sees a solid traffic base, and is operated as the Hannibal Subdivision.
Against the riverfront in Downtown Louisiana is this bridge, a simple deck girder bridge which carries the BNSF over Noix Creek.
The bridge is simply built. It consists of three deck girder spans. The main span is 80 feet, while the approaches are each 60 feet.
It was built in 1902 by the American Bridge Company, likely to replace an older trestle style bridge. It rests on concrete substructures.
The bridge has been ranked by the author as being locally significant, due to the common design.
The photo above is an overview.