Gladbrook to Gifford
This line, about 22 miles long, connected the C&NW line at Gladbrook with the Minneapolis & St. Louis (ex Iowa Central) mainline at Gifford. Not much of the line's history is known. According to the Iowa Office of Rail Transportation, the corridor was abandoned in segments: the line west of Conrad was abandoned between 1970 and 1979, while the line east of Conrad was abandoned between 1980 and 1989.
Towns along the line from Gladbrook are Beaman, Conrad, Whitten and Gifford.
Back in 1973 to 1975 I worked as a brakeman between Tama and Eldora. I also worked from Eagle Grove to Lawn Hill via Jewell. When I read your information I was confused by the comment about Gifford as we did not go through there between Whitten and Eldora. There was a Wye between Whitten and Eldora that came from Lawn Hill but the tracks were gone by the fall of 1973. If you go to http://www.iowadot.gov/iowarail/railroads/maps/Chronology.pdf you will see that the line between Lawn Hill and the junction that went through Gifford was abandoned in the 60's. There was a bridge that was structurally unsond between Whitten and Conrad. That happened in 1974 and the trains operated from Tama to Conrad and back Monday through Friday after that. I was told that the livestock trains would come out of Hawarden through Eagle Grove and Via Jewell to the junction and then to Tama onto Belle Plaine where there was a crew change.
IN PICTURE #4 JUST TO THE RIGHT OF THE TWO STEEL BINS IS A TELEPHONE POST ON THAT POST IS MP 26. 26 MILES FROM TAMA. I WORKED THIS LINE OFF THE MARSHALLTOWN EXTRA BOARD AFTER THE FLOODS IN 1974 WE WENT TO CONRAD AND TURNED BACK TO TAMA. THAT MP IS STILL THERE TODAY, 8-20-13
I lived along this line when it closed in 1974 due to an unsafe bridge after the great storm of 1974. The trains stopped outside my farmhouse and one of the men woke us up to ask if he could use my phone as their communication had been lost with the bridge. Their allotted time of service had nearly expired. He received his instructions, the train reversed to the east. We never saw it again. The crews were always friendly and always waved as they went by twice daily.