by Sara Steuer

Dubuque is a city steeped in heritage. Dotted with historic structures from the Shot Tower and Star Brewery to the charming Victorian homes lining its bluffs, it’s a city that recognizes and honors its past. Revered by many is Dubuque’s long history of train travel.

While notably a means of transporting goods inland from barges traveling the Mississippi River, trains have shaped the lives and livelihoods of residents for over a century, having provided passenger rail service from the 1850s until the early 1980s. In more recent times there was “The Land O’Corn,” a streamlined passenger train operating from 1941 until 1967 by the Illinois Central Railroad between Chicago and Waterloo. More recently the Amtrack Black Hawk Route provided service from Chicago to Dubuque until its discontinuation in 1981, marking the last time commercial passenger rail lines accessed the city.

Ride the Rails, a local advocacy group, is looking to return passenger trains to Dubuque.

To read this and other featured articles in their entirety, pickup the July 2022 issue of Julien’s Journal magazine. Click to subscribe for convenient delivery by mail, or call (563) 557-1914. Single issues are also available in print at area newsstands and digitally via the Issuu platform.

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Julien’s Journal, the Dubuque area lifestyle magazine, is a monthly regional feature magazine for and about Dubuque and the tri-state region.


  1. Awesome idea given the recent news that United airlines is cancelling service for Dubuque. Rail service could help locals get to O’Hare for flights. Or even opt to use rail service period.


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