The National Surface Transportation Board will allow an Iowa rail line to merge with a railroad to the north. The lifting of a “housekeeping hold” on the deal will let the Dakota Minnesota and Eastern Railroad acquire Iowa-based I-and-M Rail Link. D-M-and-E president Kevin Schieffer hails the decision.He says it means they can go forward with the acquisition and open up new routes to Chicago, grain processors in Iowa, Kansas City and other gateway markets important to growers and shippers. He says it means more competition, options and rail service on both railroads. Schieffer says the railroad’s been anticipating this approval from the Surface Transportation Board.He says some workers have already started work at offices in Iowa and he hopes to finalize the takeover Friday and start “moving corn” on Saturday. D-M-and-E is am ambitious young railroad that’s already won hard-fought battles for approval to upgrade track and extend its reach from Wyoming coal mines to power plants across the Midwest. Judging by the federal report, the first challenge will be upgrading miles of poor-quality track on the I-and-M railroad.