The Gregarious Railfan
Boone, IA  50036 (population, 12,661)

GPS: N 42.06313, W 93.96807   Google map   

Scanner: UP 160.890 [52]

Railroad: Union Pacific Twin Cities Div, Boone Sub, MP 207

Description: The above GPS coordinates are for the viewing location from Wagon Wheel Bridge. The view is of the new
Kate Shelley Bridge, UP crossing the Des Moines River just west of Boone, IA.  The old bridge still stands (for now,
2014) just south of the new bridge now used by the UP. A better view of the old bridge should be in the vicinity of
N 42.05728, W 93.97428 on Juneberry Rd.  I’m not sure if Wagon Wheel Bridge is fit for auto traffic, so be
cautious, and probably use the roundabout way to access the two locations.

The Kate Shelley Bridge was named for an Iowa Legend based on a true story:

One night, in 1881, a fierce storm broke over the Des Moines River valley. The storm raged through the night, flooding
the river and the nearby creeks. Along about 11 p.m., a "pusher" train was sent to search for any wash-outs along the
track. After it passed the home of the Shelley family, a railroad widow raising five children, the family heard a terrible
crashing sound. The bridge over Honey Creek had collapsed, taking the pusher train with it.

The eldest daughter, fifteen year old Kate Shelley, ran out into the storm to investigate. She saw two of the four
men trapped in the water, but she could not reach them. Kate realized that she could not rescue the men by herself,
and furthermore, that a midnight express train was due to pass over the Honey Creek Bridge, possibly sending more
people to their death if she did not warn the nearby Moingona station of the washout.  Kate Shelly knew there was a
nearby trestle bridge with a tiny catwalk over the flooded Des Moines River. So, amid the darkness and the storm,
Kate crawled on hands and knees across the catwalk.  As soon as Kate reached the other side of the river, she ran
towards Moingona Station, trying to beat the clock. She burst into the station, wild-eyed and warned the station
agent of the wash-out. The station agent ran out into the storm with a red lamp to halt the express, whose
headlight was bearing down upon the station.

As soon as the express train was safe, Kate led a rescue train to where the two men from the pusher train were
clinging on for dear life, and they were saved as well. Only two lives were lost that night, thanks to the bravery of
Kate Shelley.

Approximate # trains per 24 hours: 62  

Nearby RR stuff:   The Boone & Scenic Valley RR N 42.06606, W 93.89130 in nearby Boone, IA, It runs steam on
the weekends, in addition to a diesel dinner train and traction. The B&SVRR hosts the James H. Andrew Railroad
Museum, formerly known as the Iowa Railroad Museum, on their grounds.  Also there is a small depot museum
commemorating Kate Shelley N 42.01960, W 93.93255
  map   Kate Shelley Museum Link   

Local Breakfast: Whistle Stop Café, 1102 Story St, Boone, N 42.06694, W 93.87979

Fast Food: McDonald's, 1227 S Marshall St, N 42.04273, W 93.87853

Personal observations: I do not suggest that it is a great railfan spot other than to get wonderful scenic pictures of
the High Bridge, and visit the Boone Scenic RR nearby. Many pictures of the bridge have been published in TRAINS
Magazine and other publications. The town of Boone is a better place to railfan.
Old Kate Shelley Bridge
New Kate Shelley Bridge
Old Kate Shelley Bridge in foreground
B&SVRR Station