Fort Madison, Iowa, has a rich history with the railroad, as it is located along the Mississippi River and has been an important transportation hub in the Midwest. Here are some key points about the railroad in Fort Madison:
Historic Railroad Bridge: One of the notable features of the railroad in Fort Madison is the historic railroad bridge that spans the Mississippi River. The Santa Fe Swing Span Bridge, also known as the Fort Madison Toll Bridge, was constructed in 1927 and is a significant landmark in the area. It is a swing bridge that allows trains to cross the river, and it has been a critical transportation link for the movement of goods and people between Iowa and Illinois.
BNSF Railway: The BNSF Railway, one of the largest freight railroads in North America, operates a mainline through Fort Madison. BNSF has a major yard and locomotive maintenance facility in Fort Madison, which serves as an important operational center for the railroad. BNSF transports a wide range of freight, including intermodal (containerized) trains, coal, grain, chemicals, and other general merchandise.
Amtrak: Fort Madison is also served by Amtrak, the national passenger railroad in the United States. The Southwest Chief, one of Amtrak’s long-distance passenger trains, makes stops in Fort Madison on its route between Chicago, Illinois, and Los Angeles, California. The Fort Madison Amtrak station, located near the historic railroad bridge, serves as a transportation hub for passenger rail travel in the region.
Economic Impact: The railroad has played a significant role in the economy of Fort Madison, providing employment opportunities and facilitating the movement of goods. The BNSF yard and maintenance facility in Fort Madison employ many local residents, and the transportation of freight by rail supports various industries and businesses in the area.
Rail Heritage: Fort Madison has a strong rail heritage, with a long history of railroad-related activities. The town celebrates its railroad heritage through events such as the annual “Santa Fe Days” festival, which includes train-related exhibits, displays, and activities for the community to enjoy.
In summary, the railroad has been an important part of Fort Madison’s history, economy, and culture. The historic railroad bridge, the presence of BNSF Railway, and the Amtrak service are key aspects of the railroad in Fort Madison, providing transportation options for both freight and passengers and contributing to the town’s heritage and community. See the railroad tracks near Lost Duck Brewing in Fort Madison, Iowa.