Photo taken by Daniel Barnes in November 2016
BH Photo #370607
What is really ironic is that Pella Windows was one of the original backers of Iowa Interstate Railroad when it was formed. Before 1980, this line went all the way to Keokuk, but the section from Keokuk to Pella was quickly abandoned after the Rock Island shutdown.
Pella Windows seems to have been the primary reason the line wasn't abandoned further north in the first place. Whatever traffic originated from Pella seems to have quickly declined after Iowa Interstate was formed.
Even though the taxpayer was on the hook for building this bridge in 1993, by 1998 IAIS filed to abandon the line, citing lack of customers and poor track conditions. Apparently, none of the three online customers at Pella had shipped anything in at least a year, having all switched to big trucks. I read the STB document recently, but I can't find it now or I would post it.
I don't necessarily disagree with the fact that we the people had to pay for the bridge, but it seems sad at the time nobody had the foresight to realize the branch line wasn't going to last much longer. IAIS could have filed to abandon in 1993 and saved us some money.
From what I can surmise, this bridge was only built because Iowa Highway 163 was being built in 1993.
The rest of the line from Pella to Prairie City, according to an IAIS railfan site (http://www.iaisrailfans.org/info/Subdivision4), was in "poor condition".
Abandoned after only five years?