Amtrak coming through Marshalltown due to floods

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Amtrak’s California Zephyr passenger train will be traveling on Union Pacific Rail Road tracks in Iowa (and through Marshalltown) as a result of the Burlington Northern & Santa Fe railroad bridge in Omaha, Neb. being out of commission due to flooding.

U.S rail giants Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) and Union Pacific Rail Road (UPRR) have joined forces to help AMTRAK — the nation’s passenger rail service — transport passengers across Iowa.

AMTRAK spokesperson Marc Magliari of Chicago confirmed the “California Zephyr” will be using UPRR’s main east and west tracks in Iowa.

“The AMTRAK train that left Wednesday from Emeryville, Calif., will pass through Omaha Friday morning meaning it will go through Marshalltown Friday morning as well,” he said.

Beginning Friday, and for a yet-to-be determined period, AMTRAK’s “California Zephyr” will be traveling through Marshalltown.

Generating the cooperation was the “bomb cyclone” that swept through the Midwest this week and has caused more than $1 billion of flood damage in Nebraska, Gov. Pete Ricketts said Wednesday.

Heavy rainfall and rapid snowmelt have caused catastrophic flooding across the Missouri River, meaning the BNSF bridge spanning the river can not be used.

The bridge provides a critical link to BNSF tracks in Iowa which run through Council Bluffs, Glenwood, Red Oak, Creston, Osceola, Ottumwa and Burlington before entering Illinois.

The detour means for the first time in decades local residents and rail aficionados will have an opportunity to see passenger trains pass through Marshalltown.

Years ago it was the Chicago & North Western train that carried passengers east and west.

Magliari was effusive in praising UP for their help.

“It is their cooperation that enabled this to happen,” he said. “We are anticipating the need to detour for awhile, given the infrastructure damage over by Omaha.”


Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or