Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A Leisurely Drive Toward Home

Back in June, after leaving our family’s home in the Omaha area, we crossed the Missouri River at Bellevue Nebraska.  As is our preference, we avoided the Interstate Highway System, opting to follow US Hwy. 34 east across Iowa. 

I had noted and located a number of railroad depots along the way so we had periodic exploratory side trips planned for various towns along our route.  

This old Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railway Depot was our goal in Corning Iowa… This photo was borrowed from the dynamic depot map for Iowa as developed and maintained by provides a map showing the location of the depots listed as well as a photo of the depot.  I followed the map to the tracks…looked both ways…and there wasn’t a depot in sight!  I guess that the black frame around the original photo of the depot from is appropriate.  Apparently this old depot no longer exists… My photos and the view we had of downtown Corning confirm that this was where the depot used to be… Another one bites the dust!

Timing is everything… The lack of a depot was temporarily offset by a thundering freight train roaring by on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe mainline…

Our next ‘off road’ experience involved a stop in Creston Iowa.  This building is a Burlington Northern Santa Fe office and it also serves as an Amtrak Station…sort of… There isn’t a waiting room or available restroom, just an outdoor shelter and boarding platform.

Creston is served once daily in each direction by California Zephyr Amtrak service to Chicago and California.  In 2013, a total of 4,621 passengers utilized this ‘station’.  Creston is the County Seat for Union County Iowa with a population today of about 7,900.  It has a long railroad history and it is a BNSF crew station and has a sizeable active rail yard today.  

Creston was originally settled in 1868 as a survey camp for the workers with the Burlington and Missouri Railroad.  The campsite was on the crest on the railroad line between the Missouri and Mississippi, hence the name "Creston."  Early on, Creston was chosen as the division point for the railroad, which originally built machine shops, roundhouse and a construction camp at the new town. 

This “new” and handsome French Provincial Style railroad station was constructed by the Burlington Railway in 1899.  This building served passengers for 69 years.  It was renovated in 1978 to serve as a municipal building for Creston.  It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

The other old railroad buildings in town were either destroyed by a tornado or they burned down.   Various community organizations occupy the first floor of the depot today and city government occupies the second floor.  Fittingly, one of the occupants of the first floor is the local Model Railroad Club.


·       Marcia Wallace, the actress who played Carol Kester on the Bob Newhart Show and who later was the long term voice of elementary teacher Edna Krabappel on The Simpsons was from Creston.

·       So was Walt Cunningham, one of the Apollo 7 Astronauts.

·       Frank Phillips, the founder of Phillips Petroleum was born here. 

This Prairie Style depot and current Amtrak stop is located in Osceola Iowa.  It was built by the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad back in 1907.  A lot has been done to maintain this facility and as you can see additional improvements were being made when we drove through town.  The city’s goal is to create an intermodal transportation hub (train and bus) centered on the depot.   

Part of the reason that this depot is so well maintained is that it is the closest passenger railroad depot to Des Moines, the largest city and capital of Iowa. Actually, Osceola is considered a “gateway” for rail passengers from both Des Moines and Kansas City who are headed west to Denver and California by way of the California Zephyr.  It is the busiest Amtrak stop in Iowa with 14,799 passengers using the depot in 2013.  It isn't staffed but it does have a caretaker who opens the waiting room for the two daily arrivals of the train. 

That’s about it for this edition… Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave 


  1. Looks like Creston has a real nice depot for the small town.

  2. I'm thinking you may have set a world's record for seeing the most depots :)

  3. These pictures look beautiful David :)