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End of the Line

Posted August 02, 2012 in Community Featured, Perry

Finally in 1969, Murray Salzberg disposed of his Iowa properties to the Chicago and Northwestern Railway.

The DM&CI retained its corporate identity but was substantially integrated into the C&NW system. The C&NW always saw the DM&CI as industrial track to feed its existing lines in Des Moines. Consequently, little was done to upgrade over the years and the track from Granger to Camp Dodge was abandoned in 1980. The last remnant of the Perry line from Camp Dodge to Flint Junction was finally removed in 1983. A washout just east of Flint Junction severed the trackage to Des Moines which was subsequently scrapped from University Avenue to the Firestone Plant in 1984.

The only DM&CI trackage still remaining is about 2.2 miles from the Firestone Tire Plant (now Bridgestone) east to the connection with the C&NW (now Union Pacific) which includes the bridge over Second Avenue familiar to all. However, there are a few remnants of the former line still in evidence. A portion of the roadbed with rails and crossties remains intact on the grounds of Forest Park Museum at Perry. From Perry to Moran, most of the old grade has been obliterated due to agricultural operations. Between Moran and Granger, the roadbed was lost when Highway 141 was widened to four lanes. At Moran there was a brick substation that lasted for many years before finally being torn down. There is also a stretch of the old roadbed approximately two miles long adjacent to the westbound lanes of Highway 141 east of Granger. Now heavily overgrown with trees and brush, at one time one could see a culvert or cattle pass constructed from scrap rail.

The roadbed is probably intact within the Camp Dodge Military Reservation, but I have not had the opportunity to investigate to see if this the case. South of Northwest 70th Avenue, the City of Johnston is developing a recreational trail system along the I-U Ry. roadbed.  From a point south of Northwest 62nd Avenue, the trail is already in place down to the I-U Ry. Bridge over Beaver Creek, which can be seen from Interstate 35/80. At that point, the trail continues on the I-U Ry. roadbed (where it is known as the Polk County Trestle to Trestle Trail) another 3.5 miles to the I-U Railway Bridge over the Des Moines River where it connects to the City of Des Moines Trail System. Beyond that point, most other vestiges of the I-U Railway have been lost to urbanization.

This concludes our four part capsule history of the Inter-Urban/Des Moines and Central Iowa Railway.

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