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Golden Age of Railroading
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Golden Age of Railroading

Since the railroad is such an integral part of the history of Boone County, it was fitting that we hopped aboard a dinner train ride on the Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad. It took us on a two-hour ride for a glimpse of the Des Moines River Valley.

The route doesn’t go across the Kate Shelley Bridge, which is on the main line. But it does take you over the 156-foot-tall Bass Point Creek High Bridge—the highest single-track interurban railroad bridge in the U.S.

We rode in the “City of Los Angeles,” a streamliner car that traveled between Chicago and the West Coast during the golden age of rail travel. The car featured elegant appointments from the 1940s, and the menu offered prime rib, roast pork loin, chicken marsala, marinated salmon steak and five-cheese lasagna.

The dinner train (there are other excursions) runs Saturday evenings April through mid-November and also Friday evenings June through October. The cost is $60.25 per person.

Reservations are required and the dinner excursion is frequently sold out. In fact, it took nearly a month for us to get reservations. It was late October and by then, darkness had set in when we returned to the depot.

It was elegant dining in the glow of the train car lights. And the meal was great (we had the richest cheesecake ever for dessert!). Nevertheless, you might want to plan ahead better than we did and make your reservations earlier in the season when there’s daylight for the entire 5:30 pm to 7:45 pm trip.

This content previously appeared in the popular “Road Trip” series in Our Iowa Magazine. Learn more about the publication at


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