Sedan, IA to Mercyville, MO

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This shows the I&StL depot at the railroad's intersection with the QO&KC in Novinger. (From the photo collection of Archie Hayden, Hannibal, MO.)

The Iowa and Saint Louis Railroad was formed in 1901 with the intent to run from Centerville, IA to Saint Louis, MO. Coal was prolific in the Chariton River Valley; in some cases, it was so close to the ground surface in the valley that most farms had their own mines to extract what they needed and sell the rest. The I&StL was built for this purpose: hauling coal from the Chariton River Valley. Other commodities included timber, general freight and also passenger service.

The I&StL reached as far north as Sedan, IA, via trackage rights on the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific. The southern end was at Mercyville, MO, a half-mile northeast of Elmer, MO, where the Santa Fe had a station.

One of the main facilities of the I&StL was at Novinger, where the railroad crossed tracks with the Quincy, Omaha and Kansas City Railroad. There was a large yard for handling freight cars interchanged with the QO&KC. In addition, several steam locomotives were stationed at Novinger for local runs to both the north and south, as well as switching duties at the yard and the QO&KC interchange. While there was a roundhouse and locomotive shop at Novinger, most of the heavy maintenance was performed at the shops in Milan, MO. The I&StL was subsequently bought by the QO&KC; both railroads were finally merged into the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy.

Abandonment of the line came in sections: the line from Sedan, IA to Novinger, MO was abandoned in 1936, as was the line between Mercyville to South Gifford; from South Gifford, the line was abandoned to the Baiotto mine spur (which served Billy's creek mine, northeast of Youngstown, MO) in 1942. Final abandonment came before 1950 when the Kirksville to Green City line was abandoned.

The right-of-way is still marked on topographical maps.

See also The Quincy, Omaha and Kansas City Railroad.

Thanks to Chuck Porter for contributing information about this route.

Our farm north property line was about 8-900 yrds south of the railroad on shoal creek.We bought the farm 1948. I used to see stack locomotives pass through. Your article said the orig. line was abandoned in 1936.So what I saw was I believe a local run. The trains stopped running in probably in early 1950's. It was interesting experience. Sylvester age 68.

sylvester kuberski
shoal creek southwest of exline about 3 mile
1/24/2010

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I would be very surprised if the Rock Island Line was ever in the Sedan area. It went east and west through Centerville, Iowa, not far from Sedan. The Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad had lines crossing at Sedan. The line going NW out of Sedan went through Centerville. I believe the I&StL would have gone into Centerville via the CB&Q. These CB&Q lines in earlier times belonged to other independent railroads, but never the Rock Island RR.

The line from Kirksville to Green City was not a part of the I&StL RR, but belonged to the CB&Q and crossed the I&StL at Novinger. I think these companies were closely associated and the CB&Q may have owned the remains of the I&StL, but the Kirksville to Green City line ran east and west and would not have been a part of the original n and south I&StL.

Keith Walker
Milan, MO
1/13/2011

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My grandparents Elmer and Francis Burns rented a large farm at Sedan in the 40's. My mother said there was a small depot on the farm. I'd love more info on this and a picture of the depot or farm if anyone has one.

darrin crow
cedar rapids, IA
1/19/2012

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would like to find the owner of the Land the depot sits on would like to get permission to metal Detect on the property around the depot Thanks for any info

Larry Benham
Buckner 64016, MO
2/1/2014

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Ive got pictures dated Oct. 22 1922 identified as the NEMO switch yards . is this that line or is it another ???

tim veach
Ottumwa, IA
5/24/2014

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Tim Veach, did you find out anything about your pictures?

James Holzmeier
Kirksville, MO
9/4/2014

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To the individual asking about the NEMO.... that line was a branch line thru Shelbyville, MO and was a Burlington subsidiary...

Robert McNeill
Wentzville, MO
9/4/2014

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