OMAHA, Neb., September 7, 2012 – Boone, Iowa has been awarded a membership in Union Pacific’s Train Town USA Registry as part of the railroad’s year-long 150th anniversary celebration.
Boone received an official Train Town USA resolution signed by Union Pacific Chairman Jim Young, and Boone’s historical connection with Union Pacific will be featured at www.up150.com.
“We are proud to recognize Boone as we commemorate our railroad’s sesquicentennial celebration and growing up together,” said Brenda Mainwaring, Union Pacific director – Public Affairs for Iowa. “Union Pacific has been part of the country’s fabric throughout the railroad’s 150-year history. That bond between us and the nearly 7,300 communities we serve continues to strengthen.
“Our shared heritage with Boone is a source of pride as we remember our past while serving and connecting our nation for years to come.”
The rail line through Boone was constructed in 1865 by the Cedar Rapids & Missouri River Railroad. In 1884, the Cedar Rapids and Missouri River was sold to the Chicago and North Western Railway (C&NW). Union Pacific merged with the C&NW in 1995. Just west of downtown Boone, a double track bridge over the Des Moines River was constructed from 1899 to 1901. It stands 185 feet and is 2,685 feet long. The bridge was renamed in 1912 to honor Kate Shelley.
Kate was 15 on the night of July 6, 1881, when a big rainstorm hit near Honey Creek in the Des Moines River Valley. On that night, Kate was up late and heard a work locomotive tumble off the Honey Creek bridge into the
water. Risking her life, Kate made her way across the broken parts of the bridge in the storm and the dark. She went to the Moingona depot because she knew the Midnight Limited, full of passengers, was on its way. Kate arrived at the depot in time for the agent to flag down the train, saving many lives.
Built between 2006 and 2009, a new more-than-$50 million bridge was constructed, next to the original bridge, to handle heavy trains such as coal and grain. The two tracks, 20 feet apart, are set on a ballast deck that is supported by reinforced concrete towers and steel piles. Two trains can operate on the bridge at the same time at the maximum speed of 70 mph.
The first train operated over the bridge August 20, 2009.