The line in Iowa was completed at a majority by 1885. The route crossed the Mississippi River from Savanna to Sabula, Iowa on a large swing bridge between the two towns.
The line quickly turned south, paralleled the Mississippi River through Clinton, Davenport and Muscatine. Then the line turned southwest, crossing the Cedar and Iowa rivers near Conesville before arriving in Washington, where it crossed a Rock Island line towards Des Moines.
From here, it continued southwest, crossing the Skunk River before arriving in Ottumwa, where it would cross the Des Moines River, and a pair of rail lines.
Continuing on the same southwest trajectory, the line would cross a Rock Island line near Moravia. The line became increasingly hilly and curvy as it approached the Missouri border near Sewal.
By 1887, the Milwaukee Road reached Kansas City; crossing through Missouri and such towns as Chillicothe.
The CM&StP became the Chicago, Milwaukee St. Paul & Pacific in 1912 with newly completed Pacific Extension. By 1931, the Rock Island Railroad requested trackage rights along this line between Polo and Lawson, Missouri; as well as from Mosby to Kansas City.
The 1887 Choteau Bridge over the Missouri River was replaced in 1945 by the present Harry S. Truman Bridge.
The line was considered a mainline, connecting to Kansas City to Davenport and Chicago. Few changes were ever seen on the line, although the major one was in 1981. The Milwaukee Road purchased the former Rock Island alignment between Muscatine and Washington and scrapped their own. The Rock Island had fallen the year before.
In 1985, the Milwaukee Road was purchased by Soo Line, who operated the line until 1997 when they sold it to I&M Rail Link. The line then changed hands again in 2002 when Iowa, Chicago & Eastern purchased it, and IC&E was purchased by Canadian Pacific along with Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern in 2008.
Canadian Pacific currently operates this line, although they have continued to explore potential buyers. The line still connects Chicago to Kansas City.
Located east of Rubio, this large 39 span structure crosses the Skunk River.
Originally built in 1902, the bridge featured a large 6-panel pin connected Pratt Through Truss and a pair of 60-foot deck girder spans. In 1910, ten 50-foot deck girder spans approaching on the west, as well as one 40 foot span on the east were added to the structure. 25 concrete deck girder spans also approached on the east, and the entire bridge is set on concrete.
In 2014, the bridge was upgraded, with the concrete girder spans being replaced by modern versions. As part of the replacement, the older piers were built over with new H-pile piers. Unfortunately, these concrete spans were unique to this line and of historical significance. A similar type of bridge can be seen nearby at Dogwood Avenue Bridge.
At the same time, the steel spans of the bridge were upgraded and strengthened. Various minor repairs reinforced the trusses and girders.
Overall, the bridge appears to be in good condition. This large bridge is one of the largest structures along this line, which features numerous spans of all types. Recent rehabilitations will keep this span in service for years to come.
The author has ranked this bridge as being moderately significant, due to the large scale size and truss design.
The photo above is an overview.
|Upstream||Confluence of North and South Skunk Rivers|
|Downstream||RI Skunk River Bridge (Brighton)|