7.6.17

WILL THE BARGE OPERATORS CONTRIBUTE TO THE PROJECT?

One way railroads could reduce their property tax bill was to sell off no-longer-necessary station buildings, as the passenger trains came off, and the agent required to have empty box cars and cattle cars set off for market moved to a pickup truck, or solicited only the big elevators and feedlots.  Thus, for instance, did the large Chicago and North Western station at Clinton, Iowa become an antique store.  (Dear reader, that's the back story behind many a railroad-themed eatery or tavern trackside, as well.)

Now, the Union Pacific Railroad have ... bought back the station.  Don't look for a restoration of the Kate Shelley 400 or Corn King anytime soon.
Calli Hite, director of corporate communications for Union Pacific, says the purchase is part of the planning stage for a new railroad bridge over the Mississippi River.

“The property was purchased as part of preparations and planning in support of the possible construction of a new rail bridge over the Mississippi River, which is currently in the initial steps of the design and permitting process,” Hite tells the Herald.

In 2013, the railroad considered building a $400 million clear span bridge to replace the swing span bridge built in 1909. According to a report from the Iowa Department of Transportation in 2009, the existing bridge has been designated by the United States Coast Guard as a hazard to navigate.

Hite says that bridge was related to an earlier project, but notes there are no time line or cost projections due to where the railroad stands with the project.
The station is on the inside of a curve coming off the bridge and the location of the station suggests a straighter, rising approach to a new bridge upstream of the existing bridge.  The hazard to navigate, though, doesn't refer to the Northeast Iowa Mark Twain Fishin' and Floatin' Society being inconvenienced by the spacing of the piers or the narrowness of the span.

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