Hub City Railway Museum

26 2nd Avenue SW, Oelwein, Iowa

Originally the operations office for the Chicago Great Western Railroad, the museum celebrates Oelwein's heritage as a railway hub.


Overview Looking Southwest

The building used to be the administrative offices of the Chicago Great Western Railway. The stream seen here goes under the street, then passes beneath the museum building, the tracks and what was once the location of the railroad's huge shops.

Photo taken by J.R. Manning in June 2012




A.B. Stickney built a 110 mile short line in 1885 that ran from St. Paul to the Iowa state line. He called it the Minnesota and Northwestern Railroad. Shortly thereafter, he extended his trackage to Chicago and Kansas City, making the M&NW a respected operation. He merged it into another one of his railroads, the Chicago, St. Paul and Kansas City Railroad. Three lines radiated from Oelwein, so Stickney built his administrative offices and shops here, completed in 1899. In 1903, the line was extended to Omaha.

Renamed the Chicago Great Western Railroad, the line operated until it was acquired by the Chicago & Northwestern Railway in 1968. In 1995, the C&NW was acquired by the Union Pacific, and most of the CGW was incorporated into UPRR operations or was abandoned.

An 18.8 mile segment of the CGW was purchased from the UPRR by TRANSCO in 2002. It was renamed the D&W fro Dan and Woody, two TRANSCO employees who died in a tragic accident in Oelwein.

Today, the Hub City Railway Museum operates in the old administrative office of the CGW. Included on the property is a tower, built by the CGW in 1953, the first EMD F7 diesel purchased by the CGW, and several interesting pieces of rolling stock. The old Railway Express Agency building is also part of the museum.

A creek bed flows underneath the building and under the tracks that used to comprise the CGW shops.


19th Century (37,742)
Built 1899 (557)
Built during 1890s (7,628)
Fayette County, Iowa (31)
Iowa (2,521)
Museum (122)
Open to the public (3,136)
Railroad (1,962)
Railroad vehicle (187)

Update Log 

  • June 17, 2012: New photos from J.R. Manning
  • June 16, 2012: Added by J.R. Manning