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RailsWest Railroad Museum facts for kids

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Council Bluffs
Former Rock Island Line passenger rail station
Council Bluffs Station 1.JPG
Council Bluffs station in May 2011.
Location 1512 South Main Street, Council Bluffs, Iowa 51503
Closed 1971
Rebuilt 1899
Preceding station   UP   Following station
toward Ogden
Main Line
through to Chicago & North Western/Milwaukee Road
Rock Island Line
toward Colorado Springs
Main Line
toward Chicago
Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad Passenger Depot
Location 1512 S. Main St.
Council Bluffs, Iowa
Area less than one acre
Built 1899
Architect Chief Engineer, CRI & PRR; Volk, John, & Co.
Architectural style Romanesque
NRHP reference No. 95000856
Added to NRHP July 21, 1995

RailsWest Railroad Museum is a railroad museum operated by the Historical Society of Pottawattamie County at 16th Avenue and South Main Street and illustrates the history of railroads in Council Bluffs, Iowa.


The museum is housed inside a Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad passenger depot that was also used by the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific. The depot is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad Passenger Depot and also has been known as just Rock Island Depot. The depot opened in 1899 and would become a daily stop for the Rocky Mountain Rocket, Midwest Hiawatha, the Arrow, and Corn Belt Rocket before the end of passenger service in 1971. Similar Rock Island passenger depots were also constructed in Iowa City, Iowa and Ottawa, Illinois.


RailsWest includes historical exhibits on the eight railroads that served the community along with displays on the Railway Mail Service and an extensive HO scale model railroad. Adjacent to the historic depot are Union Pacific locomotive 814 and Chicago, Burlington and Quincy locomotive 915, Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad and Chicago, Burlington and Quincy cabooses, a 1953 switch engine built by the Plymouth Locomotive Works, the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Omaha lounge car, a Union Pacific boxcar, and Union Pacific Railway Post Office car 5908. RailsWest is adjacent to tracks of the Union Pacific, BNSF, and Iowa Interstate Railroad with a fenced-in area for railfanning.

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