Eagan, MN to Oelwein, IA

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Map submitted by Tim Thorp, Lee M.

The abandoned route between Hayfield and Oelwein is a former Chicago Great Western mainline. The CGW once had large shops with turntable and large yard at Hayfield, MN, seen here. (Submitted by Tim Thorp)

Was just up by Oelwein and took a few photos of the tracks heading Northwest of 60th Street ( county Rd 3 ) They run a few hundred feet and end. It's covered in weeds and trees, some areas are washed out and only the rails hang with a tie here and there holding on for dear life. If you like the photos shoot me an email. ?

Joe Abels
Lowden, IA
11/17/2011

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I was about 4 when the line shut down with track removal. I can list that in the top ten saddest days of my life. At the time the train almost never ran anymore so it was exciting when the train came through.

The small portion of the track left north of Oelwein was supposed to be for Purina, but I think the whole line died quickly leaving Oelwein desperate quickly. There used to be "Railroad Days" and train rides and tours of the repair shops. By the time I was ten the "train rides" were kiddy sized coal burners- not even real trains- the shop tours were limited and have since ceased all together.

Oelwein was once "The Hub of Northeast Iowa" almost lost all connection with any train lines, the only remaining track comes from Waterloo. The railway was not going to repair it and attempted to get counties and cities to buy the intersections (which failed) but by good fortune a new Ethanol production facility opened between Fairbank and Oelwein and now the line has been repaired and is open!

Clarence
Sumner, IA
1/26/2012

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origin Mason City.

like any/all RR photos from the area

parts of history, parts of my youth

Bob Chlupach
Willow, AK
8/10/2014

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