Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Keokuk & Western and Humeston & Shenandoah RRs

While studying the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad, my 1928 Railroad Atlas indicated that there was another CB&Q route about half way between the B&MR route and the Missouri border. This southern route consisted of the Keokuk and Western Railroad on the eastern end and the Humeston and Shenandoah Railroad on the western end.

The Missouri part of the K&W was chartered in 1857 and the Iowa part was charted in
1866. The two were combined as the Missouri, Iowa, and Nebraska Railway in 1870. This line went bankrupt in 1885 and was reorganized as the K&W in 1886.

Jay Gould had built a branch of the Wabash from Bluffs, IL, to connect with Keokuk, IA. And he could use the K&W to get to Humeston, IA. So in 1881 he envisioned the H&S as part of a route that would allow him to connect at Omaha his Wabash RR with his Union Pacific RR. But as indicated in the B&MR posting, the CB&Q was concerned that Jay Gould was trying to box om the CB&Q and fought the construction of the H&S. Jay Gould and the CB&Q compromised by creating a company that was owned 50/50 by CB&Q and Wabash and the H&S was built as a joint initiative in 1881. (Wikipedia)

So the 1882 map of the CB&Q system includes the H&S, but not the K&W. But the Wabash went bankrupt in 1889 and the CB&Q acquired control of both the K&W and H&S in 1901. So the 1928 Railroad Atlas shows CB&Q owning the entire route between Shnandoah and Keokuk, IA.

Because farmers wanted to be close to a town with rail service in the 1800s, this route that was parallel with the CB&Q mainline prospered until roads, cars and trucks made it redundant around 1920. My 1973 Railroad Atlas shows that only a few remnants of the original route existed except for the segment between Centerville, IA and Keokuk, IA, which was owned by the Burlington Northern. That final segment was abandoned in 1982.

Photo from the "The K&W" page
Centerville was the division point of the K&W and it had a roundhouse. The is a great web site because it includes a lot of pictures of buildings. In addition to the roundhouse picture, "The K&W" page also has a coaling tower.
Photo from "The K&W" page

The text for the coaling tower is: "Fuel Station: Fairbanks-Morse 150 ton coaling tower located just north of National Carbide plant. Balanced bucket (elevator) style, 18'x28' wood frame, 10'x32' concrete machinery house, powered by F-M Type T 12hp gas engine, one coal pocket serving 2 tracks, 8'x8' tank compressor sanding facility serving 2 tracks. 36 ton per day average consumption per 1931 company records"

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