Iowa crews began laying the first rails in 1854. A year later, the first locomotive was shipped across the Mississippi River by ferry. As with the Pacific line, the U.S. government was instrumental in funding railroad construction in Iowa. The Chicago, Iowa and Nebraska Railroad, which later became the Chicago and North Western Railway Co., was the first company to span the state. [UP]This map evidently shows the four railroads that were organized to take advantage of the Iowa Land Bill of 1856 that gave land grants to those railroads. The predecessors of IC and CB&Q finished their lines across Iowa in 1978. But IC built to the wrong town to tap the transcontinental traffic. Later they built a cutoff down to Council Bluffs.
|Iowa Department of Transportation from UP|
In 1862, the G&CU had leased in perpetuity the Cedar Rapids and Missouri Railroad, which was to be the first railroad to reach Council Bluffs, Iowa, and the First Transcontinental Railroad. The G&CU consolidated with the Chicago and North Western Railway in 1864 and merged with the Union Pacific Railroad more than a century later, in 1996. [northwest from IndustrialHistory]By 1860, the Chicago, Iowa & Nebraska had reached Cedar Rapids. In 1860 the Cedar Rapids and Missouri Railroad was chartered to finish the line to Council Bluffs. The G&CU leased the two Iowa routes, merged with C&NW in 1864, and later bought the Iowa lines.