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Nostalgia & History > TOOTD 1/6/1976 Ottumwa IA

Date: 01/06/19 16:05
TOOTD 1/6/1976 Ottumwa IA
Author: 22dot5_ERS

TOOTD 1/6/1976 Ottumwa IA

A rather plain order with (hopefully) an interesting back story.

This one is an obvious early trackside find - only the center bears the as-made green color (protected because it was partially folded up), the rest has been bleached yellow from days out in the sun.

There's not much between the BN crossing and the river, at least one road crossing and the switch to the "city" line that eventually went over to the joint Wabash-MILW freigthouse adjacent to the CB&Q freighthouse.  Years ago, there was a wye at the connection to the freighthouse line, today part of the route is a park trail.  Via this line, Milwaukee could serve John Morrell, and interchange with the other three railroads nearby.

Nowadays, there's a connection to the BNSF in the southwest quadrant (for coal trains), and the old street car barn is on the  opposite side of the diamond.

Years ago, Lawler tower at the crossing governed not only the Milwaukee and CB&Q crossing, but also the crossing of the parallel Rock Island "KD" line, following the Burlington from some distance either side of town.  Indeed, few Burlington and Amtrak passengers probably realized the were stepping over the Rock Island to enter the station from their train - at the north end of the station, a short platform shelter protected the RI doodlebug passengers detraining at the Ottumwa station - it lingered on for some time after the Rock Island track was pulled up.

Originally, the route through here up to Rutledge and on north to Cedar Rapids was graded by an affiliate of the Wabash, a financial panic left the line graded and bridged for the better part of 20 years without track until the Milwaukee was looking for a route to Kansas City.   The Iowa Central lent a hand in the construction south from Hedrick (in exchange for trackage rights) while the Milwaukee built south from Cedar Rapids, completing the job in 1885. 

In 1903, the "cut-off" was put in from Culver Tower (Muscatine) to Rutledge, taking many miles off the route from Chicago to KC.  The original line came to known as the Marion Line.  The north end of the "Marion Line" is now the Crandic (operated by the IAIS), tying in to the former Rock Island near South Amana where the the Rock Island once went over the Milwaukee. The line in the Ottumwa area is now part of the Canadian Pacific Kansas City line, via SOO, IMRL, IC&E. 


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