Chicago & North Western No. 5015A, an EMD E7A with the Kate Shelly 400 in DeKalb, IL on December 28, 1964. Click to enlarge.

(Photo by Roger Puta, courtesy Marty Bernard, railfan 44, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)


North Western logo.


The Kate Shelley 400 was a short-lived streamlined passenger train operated by the Chicago and North Western Railway between Chicago, Illinois and Iowa. The train drew its name from the CNW's popular Twin Cities 400, so-named for making the 400-mile (644 km) run from Chicago to Minneapolis, Minnesota in 400 minutes, and Kate Shelley, a young woman who in 1881 risked her life to save a passenger train from a washed-out bridge.

The C&NW introduced the Kate Shelley to fill the void left by the Union Pacific Railroad's famed "City" streamliners, which had moved from the CNW's route to that of the Milwaukee Road. The Kate Shelley made its first run in October 1955. Initially it operated to Boone, Iowa, but this was cut back in 1956 to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and then again in 1957 to Clinton, Iowa, just across the Mississippi River. The CNW dropped the name altogether on July 23, 1963, though the unnamed trains No. 1 and No. 2 continued running until the formation of Amtrak in 1971, when they were discontinued.


Kate Shelley 400 Route Map. Click to enlarge.



Status: Discontinued
Locale: Illinois and Iowa
First service: October 1955
Last service: July 23, 1963
Former operator: Chicago and North Western Railway
Route Termini: North Western Terminal, Chicago, Illinois / Boone, Iowa (1955–56), Cedar Rapids, Iowa (1956–57), Clinton, Iowa (1957–63)
Service frequency: Daily
Train numbers: Except Sundays: 1, 2; Sundays: 11, 12
Track gauge 4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge