Burlington Railroad


April 21, 1881:
The Wabash has agreed to put a new line in the county.

July 23, 1881:
A new railroad is looming up in the north part of Washington township. We will soon go to Stahlville for our produce.

December 28, 1882:
Trains stopped running about a week ago and there are no mails. They felt shut off from the world. High water was the problem.

November 1, 1883:
A caboose and five cars of tea wrecked one mile east of Goshen. It spilled the contents on the hillside. It is believed the accident was the result of a fast running train down the steep grade.

July, 1884:
The H. and S. Railroad killed two horses west of Goshen. One belonged to P. Nelson and one to A.C. Talley. The railroad must be fenced because of the two horses killed. Before the fence was built, John Beatty had four head of cattle hit west of Goshen and John Woods had three head killed.

November 11, 1887:
The engineer corps are now locating the Diagonal railroad and are making Goshen their head quarters.

January, 1887:
The H. & S. line has distributed a large number of ties along their line of road now partially decayed. We fire it off again, that the new railroad is sure to be built through near to Goshen, and possibly through, in this coming summer. A number of men are looking over roads on which to haul bridge timbers into this area.

February, 1887:
An occasional stir of railroad excitement keeps the theme before the people. Every man, woman, and child in west Washington township is expecting to reap a rich reward this summer. It is thought the new railroad will be built through Goshen this summer, making Goshen the crossing.

March, 1887:
Mr. Slattery, section boss of the H.& S. is putting on more hands this week. They will have to raise the wages or do without help as the new line will pay much more. The crossing will not be located at Goshen, but a mile east.
Business in the shipping line is lively here. In the last thirty days there have been loaded or unloaded at the two railroad sidetracks in this place, forty-nine carloads of freight.

September 3, 1903:
Diagonal and vicinity was greatly discommoded by the recent floods. Both the K&W and the CGW were tied up for two days. Several State Fair visitors were stranded at Shannon City. Many passengers of the K&W had to lay over here because of the washout on the Platte River. Diagonal had to entertain about one hundred and fifty passengers waiting to get them home.

July 3, 1909:
Another heavy rain hit Diagonal. It began to rain Sunday night and lasted until Tuesday and slacked only a little. The water from Grand River was thirteen inches higher than the mark reached on June 7. It was the highest the water had ever been seen by the old settlers that came here in the 1850's. The water rose three feet in fifteen minutes.
One hundred Greeks and Italians, that had been working on the railroad from the last flood and sleeping in their cars on the siding, awoke to find their cars entirely surrounded by water and cried for help. Failing to bring any response, they began shooting. This awoke the citizens of town who rushed to the river and found the current too strong. It was impossible to reach the cars. Many of the men climbed to the tops of the cars, but the water rose rapidly. They stood on the cars with water up to their necks.
By morning the water had gone down so they waded to land. About 1:00 the bridge on the K&W just east of the crossing went out, leaving the tracks suspended in the air. The excursion train on the K&W, from Clarinda, bearing about two hundred people arrived at 1:30, and learning of the washout, was compelled to stop at Diagonal. Just about fifteen minutes after the train had crossed Platte River, 1,500 feet of track at that place went out and the train was completely shut in at our town. Some of the passengers for Tingley and Ellston walked home. Some of them hired farmers with teams and wagons to take them home. Some whose homes were farther away stayed in Diagonal until the last of the week when the trains began to run.
By Friday, the K&W was fixed so the excursion train was taken to Clarinda. Mail was finally received by Postmaster H. Todd which took him all afternoon to get distributed. All day the post office was crowded with people waiting for their mail from the outside world.
Many of the farmers had already put in their crops for the second time this year making it a total loss. The loss to the railroad was $1,000,000 last time, and twice that this time.

September 23, 1913:
Another train will be put on the K&W, for a six month trial. This will give Diagonal eight regular mails, two express mails, and ten passenger trains daily. Diagonal, being located at the junction of the K&W and the CGW, is one of the most desirable places in the southern part of the state.

January, 1918:
A notice in the K&W depot states that for every cuss word uttered a nickel shall go in the bank. Proceeds will go to the Red Cross. The bank is quite heavy already. R.D. Powell is the depot agent.

May 8, 1924:
The bridge on the K&W burned and the trains had to meet and trade passengers.

September 24, 1931:
The K&W, now called the Burlington has notified the town that they will discontinue service. This motion was overruled.

May 23, 1940:
Earl Beer came to town to be the new Burlington depot agent. (He was here until 1944. Ivan Price was elected a temporary agent, and was replaced by Flay Young.)

December 27, 1945:
December 29 was slated as the last day for freight and passenger cars on the "Q"railroad. The track was abandoned from Clarinda to Humeston. Flay Young received the bulletin from the Superintendent of this division.
There are some optimistic souls who feel that the abandonment may be to the advantage of Diagonal, reasoning that business interests and private citizens of other less fortunate towns will want to move here because of the railroad facilities. We are going to miss the monthly payroll of the Burlington employees in Diagonal. These men are well paid and have liberally patronized all local businesses.

May 14, 1946:
The Burlington tracks are being "rolled up".

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