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Nostalgia & History > Fort Dodge, Des Moines and Southern RR?


Date: 06/08/07 07:44
Fort Dodge, Des Moines and Southern RR?
Author: tolland

I was checking over a map from Topozone of Boone, Iowa. The Fort Dodge, Des Moines and Southern line is shown leaving town and crossing over the CNW main just east of Boone and thence in a southeasterly direction. On my two visits to Boone, I do recall seeing a portion of the line with electric poles that is probably used by the museum there for electric trolley cars or historic interurban runs. However, I don't recall it outside of town.

Does someone have further comments on this line?

I'd sure like to be there for Pufferbilly days, but alas, it is not meant to be this year. UP Steam will be there in a few weeks for a layover however, so friends can greet Nystrom and other familiar characters there.

Thanks for your comments as always.
Jim Burrill



Date: 06/08/07 15:09
Re: Fort Dodge, Des Moines and Southern RR?
Author: mamfahr

> I was checking over a map from Topozone of Boone, Iowa. The Fort Dodge, Des Moines and Southern line is shown leaving town and crossing over the CNW main just east of Boone and thence in a southeasterly direction.

Does someone have further comments on this line?


Jim,

FtDDM&S at its peak had a main route from Ft Dodge through Hope, Boone, Kelley, Midvale and Ankeny to Des Moines with branches from Hope to Rockwell City, Ft. Dodge to Webster City & Lehigh, Kelley to Ames and Midvale to Newton. The "Ft. Dodge" was independent until around 1969 when CNW took control. Most of their trackage was abandoned around 1983. By far, the greatest amount of trackage still active is in the Boone area; from Hope (north of Ogden) to a point east of Boone, about 13 miles I believe. That trackage survives because of 1) the tourist operation based in Boone that runs west out of there, through the Des Moines River valley and across the "high bridge" and 2) because of a few freight customers still active in Boone.

CNW never really used the FtDDM&S routes much. They were never very good for "overhead" freight operations due to poor alignment (such as 2.44% grades & tight curves), light rail, not much ballast, etc. On the commercial side, the problems were that Ft. Dodge's routes only went places that CNW already reached with their own routes and that there was relatively little on-line (local) traffic. CNW's primary use of the Ft Dodge's routes prior to abandonment was for car storage. Throughout the late '70s, I recall seeing mile after mile of CNW 40-foot boxcars stored on the Ft Dodge's main, primarily between Boone and Kelley (south of Ames) - 100s of them. Those old 40-footers were surplus at that time as CNW and shippers were acquiring jumbo hoppers for grain service and the branches that were the biggest users of the boxcars were being abandoned at a rapid rate.

One other item you mentioned was that bridge over the CNW at the east end of Boone. That was dismantled sometime in the late '80s / early 90's, IIRC. When it was there, it was a nifty location to get photos of CNW action in/out of Boone. I have several shots from there, mostly from CNW's "dark days" (early '70s) when survival was far from a certainty (the photos clearly show that, with mud for ballast, weeds so high you couldn't see the rail, bent 112/115 lb jointed rail on rotten ties, etc).

Lastly, I see in a reference book (the "Historical Guide to North American Railroads") that the Ft. Dodge's electric operation ended for good in 1955 - the same year their last passenger train operated.

Hope that's helpful.

Take care,

Mark



Date: 06/08/07 17:42
Re: Fort Dodge, Des Moines and Southern RR?
Author: CNW6500

tolland Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I was checking over a map from Topozone of Boone,
> Iowa. The Fort Dodge, Des Moines and Southern line
> is shown leaving town and crossing over the CNW
> main just east of Boone and thence in a
> southeasterly direction. On my two visits to
> Boone, I do recall seeing a portion of the line
> with electric poles that is probably used by the
> museum there for electric trolley cars or historic
> interurban runs. However, I don't recall it
> outside of town.
>
> Does someone have further comments on this line?
>
> I'd sure like to be there for Pufferbilly days,
> but alas, it is not meant to be this year. UP
> Steam will be there in a few weeks for a layover
> however, so friends can greet Nystrom and other
> familiar characters there.
>
> Thanks for your comments as always.
> Jim Burrill


On the eastern side of town the old FtDDMS bridge was removed from north of the old CNW main to about 1/3-1/2 of a mile south of the current Hwy 30 location. There was a tresle that crossed the CNW main and old Hwy 30. When the current Hwy 30 by-pass was built the ROW was basically erased. I haven't been in Boone for about 15 years but the old FtDDMS main was still inplace and used occassionally to access a couple of warehouses on the north side of the CNW yard.

On the westside of town it left the CNW main about a mile west of the CNW depot and followed the terrain nw toward the Des Moines River. It crossed about 2 miles to the ne of the Kate Shelley bridge on its own high bridge. In the stick season you can see this bridge from the Kate Skelley bridge.



Date: 06/08/07 20:55
Re: Fort Dodge, Des Moines and Southern RR?
Author: mamfahr

> On the westside of town it left the CNW main about a mile west of the CNW depot and followed the terrain nw toward the Des Moines River. It crossed about 2 miles to the ne of the Kate Shelley bridge
on its own high bridge.

That seems to imply that the FDDM&S's "high bridge" was their crossing of the Des Moines River, but it's actually just a creek below that bridge, in a very deep valley. The Ft. Dodge's crossing of the Des Moines River is on a relatively low bridge down in the river valley - thus the long 2.44% grade to get back out of the valley to the north/west.

Take care,

Mark



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