Woodward to Grimes

The Grimes Branch

Point of Interest

GOOGLE MAPS no longer available: With apologies, I am unable to continue showing Google Maps. Google has forced my hand by increasing their map usage fee from nothing/free to OVER $300 A MONTH for the Abandoned Rails website! This is an expense that I simply cannot afford. Rest assured I am looking at available open source alternatives, so maps should be back online soon!

Greg Harrison

(Forwarded from the Des Moines & Northern Railroad)

This line was originally built by the St. Louis, Des Moines and Northern Railway in 1882. Ownership of the line passed through successive hands via various mergers and bankruptcies/consolidations:

  • Des Moines and Northern Railway in 1889
  • Des Moines, Northern and Western Railway in 1891
  • Chicago, Milwaukee and Saint Paul Railroad in 1899
  • Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad in 1927
  • Norfolk and Western Railroad in 1988
  • Norfolk Southern Railway in 1998

The line was actually abandoned by the CMStP&P in 1980 as part of its bankruptcy reorganization, but was soon brought back to service by the Norfolk and Western in 1988.

The Norfolk Southern abandoned a portion of the right-of-way around Grimes in 2012.

STB Filings and Decisions

Docket Number   Activity

This line went to Madrid Ia first going though Zot Spur. This line crossed the Des Moines river on a high wood bridge . Area around the Bridge was known a High Bridge which was a resort type of town about 1900.

Some time after the low bridge crossing on the Milwaukee was replaced the line was change to the route shown on the map. The first route is about 1/2 mile west of the present highway continued on north to Boone Iowa.

James Duff
Boone , IA



I think you meant Zook Spur, which is just north of the Des Moines River, just west of IA-17. Seems like I saw a panel on the High Trestel Bridge that describes how the rail came down from Madrid (or east of Madrid) to Zook Spur and crossed the river there until they built the higher bridge west of Madrid.

Merle Hall
Granger, IA


A couple of points about this line. My office is about two blocks from the most northern part of the line that is still active. The line ends at SE 37th Street - with a few hundred yards north of the crossing used for occasional car storage. The Iowa Interstate Railroad actually serves the line and has for years. They installed a run-around track just south of the SE 37th Street crossing in order to better serve the lumberyard at the end of the line.

Ken Chester
Grimes, IA


One more thing - I believe the stone bridge that carried this line over the east-west line just south of downtown Madrid is still standing. You should be able to see it by looking west from Iowa Route 17.

Ken Chester
Grimes, IA


Shortened Link: http://a-r.us/p4e

Do you have any pictures or information about The Grimes Branch? Please . You will get credit for anything you contribute.