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Don's Rail Photos

Iowa Southern Utilities Co.

Southern Iowa Railway


The main line between Albia and Centerville was built in 1879 by the Centerville Moravia & Albia RR as part of the Wabash RR. In 1885 the Wabash went into bankruptcy and line operated independently until 1890 when it was reorganized as the Albia & Centerville and leased to the Iowa Central (M&StL). In 1910 the line became independent as the Southern Iowa Traction and operated with steam power. In 1914 it was absorbed by the Centerville Light and Traction Co, which operated the local street railway. They reorganized it as the Centerville Albia & Southern Ry and it was combined with the local line to Mystic, which was built in 1910. The Mystic line served several mines. Electrification came immediately, but freight service was provided by steam power until May 1915. 2 box motors and 2 center entrance cars were acquired. Passenger service was never the main revenue generator with 6 trains a day to Albia and hourly service to Mystic. All passenger service ended in 1933 with local streetcar service having ended in 1925.

In 1916 both companies were acquired by Iowa Southern Utilities, and in 1941 it became the Southern Iowa Ry but still owned by the power company. In 1944 the Mystic line was cut back to Appanoose where there was a connection with the Milwaukee Road. In 1948 the Albia line was cut back to Moravia where there was interchange with the Wabash.

The railroad became home to the Iowa Chapter, NRHS, in the 1950s. Three interurbans were acquired, plus a CGW caboose. In 1958 1.5 miles of the Mystic branch was abandoned. When the Centerville powerhouse was closed, ISU wanted to abandon or sell the line. It was purchased by a local group and became the Southern Industrial RR. In 1966 the wire was removed on the Moravia line and a CB&Q motor car was acquired. The wire remained at Moravia and box motor 101 was stationed there for switching. Also in 1966 the Chariton River trestle burned and the line was severed. The wire at Centerville was removed and service became occasional. The Moravia operation was abandoned on July 18, 1967, and was the final electric operation.

1 was built by Stephenson in 1892 and rebuilt as a line car by Albia Interurban Ry. It was acquired in 1925 by ISU and sold to Columbia Park & Southwestern at Olmsted Falls, OH, in 1968.

9 was built by Barber Car in 1912 as a single truck car. It was acquired in 1922 by Albia Interurban Ry and rebuilt as a double truck car. It went to ISU in 1925 when the Albia line shut down. It was used in work service until restored by the NRHS. In 1966 it was sold to the museum group at Mount Pleasant.

100 was built by American Car in 1914. One end was rebuilt after a collision. It was sold to the Columbia Park & Southwestern in 1968.

101 was built by American Car in 1915. It was sold to Columbia Park & Southwestern in 1968.

102 was sold to Columbia Park & Southwestern in 1968.

400 was built by Baldwin on May 17, 1923, #56538, and completed by Westinghouse on September 1, 1923. In May 1968 it was sold to Iowa Terminal as 52 and was renumbered 54 in June 1969. It became Iowa Traction 54 in April 1987.

At Moravia was a substation which can be seen at the far end of the station. Behind the station can be seen the Wabash station.

The Albia station remained long after the line was abandoned.


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