The year was 1881. The
place, Des Moines, Iowa. Kate Shelley, who
was only 15 years old, lived in a farmhouse
in the beautiful valley of North Creek.
She lived there with her mother (a railroaders
widow) and her 5 other siblings. The Chicago
and North Western Railroad ran right past
the Shelley house. The particular day was
July 6th, it was late in the afternoon,
and a terrible rainstorm began to flood
the creek in front of the Shelley home.
At 11:00pm an engine stationed at Moingona,
the closest village, was ordered, "A
run to Boone and back regardless of all
other trains and the weather." The
train left the station with 4 men on board.
As the train passed the Shelley house, two
men were standing on the outside of the
engine checking for washed out tracks. Then
the train made its way onto the Honey Creek
Bridge, when out of nowhere, CRASH!! The
bridge had broken.
"They've gone down!" Kate shouted
to her mother. Kate jumped to her feet and
sprang into action because she knew a passenger
train would be on these same tracks shortly.
With only a jacket, a straw hat and a tiny
miner's lantern, Kate ran out into the stormy
Kate made her way along the bluff, on the
backside of her house, to the railroad tracks.
She followed the tracks to the Honey Creek
Bridge, where she found the men and wrecked
engine in the water below. Kate knew the
Midnight Express would be at this very same
spot soon and they too would plunge into
the abyss below…unless she could somehow
stop it. Quickly, she decided she must go
to Moingona and stop the passenger train.
The town was only a mile and a quarter away,
but first she would have to cross the Des
Moines River wooden bridge.
READING ABOUT KATE)