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Oelwein, Iowa

Oelwein still bustles because of a heavy railroad presence, and its location at the intersection of two highways.

Its downtown is perhaps a bit smaller than others, as there are extensive suburban-style businesses located over on Highway 150. Still, there is life downtown.

There is large church that anchors the north end of the downtown main street strip.

There are also some nice quiet residential neighborhoods.

But what got me really excited were the remnants of what was clearly a large railroad and industrial presence in the past. This large factory in the bushes did not have any signage to explain its former use, but it sits along the massive rail lines that run north and south through town.

The city has preserved some of its railroad legacy, such as this switching tower.

And this locomotive, which I believe was restored with donated labor from the nearby rail yards.

The number of train tracks necessitated the construction of this viaduct, which is a pretty tight squeeze nowadays! It is about fifty feet wide.

What is most fascinating is that there is a fully intact and operating roundhouse, which is where railcars are still repaired as part of the local railroad operations.

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