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M&St.L to be featured in Past Times

August 26, 2013 - Mike Donahey
Railroad buffs — and I know there are many in Marshalltown — will get to take a trip down memory lane as the Times-Republican’s September Past Times will feature the Minneapolis & Saint Louis Railway.

Past Times is the T-R’s monthly publication devoted to central Iowa history and can be found inserted the first Sunday of each month.

Older residents — who remember when rail travel was king and when Marshalltown was once a railroad hub — may remember the M&St. L. Only a few landmarks of the railway exist in Marshalltown today. And there may be fewer in central Iowa. In Marshalltown, some are buildings, once owned by the M&St.L, but absorbed by the Chicago & Northwestern Rail Road, when that company merged with the M&St.L in 1960 and put it out of business. Some of those buildings are in, or border the Union Pacific Railroad yard in Marshalltown.

Other examples are more evident.

For example, the M&St.L logo can be clearly seen on the front of a building immediately to the east of Spahn & Rose, 110 W. Madison St. That building was the railroad’s freight house, according to railroad historian Merrill Price of Marshalltown.

The M&St.L once owned tracks which ran from Marshalltown (over 13th St. and elsewhere) to Albion and Eldora. Those tracks were recently removed, according to several readers.

The M&St.L was established May 26, 1870. Over the years, it purchased or merged with other railroads. In 1899 the Wisconsin, Minnesota & Pacific merged with M&St.L. In 1912, it purchased the Iowa Central.

While the primary business of the railway was freight, it also operated a limited number of passenger train services.

The years 1925-26 saw the railroad abandon the State Center to Van Cleve branch. In 1936, the Montezuma branch was abandoned, along with the Spencer-Storm Lake route. Read more in Past Times.



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