Plans are being unveiled to build a ten-million dollar railroad museum in the northern Iowa town of Manly. Dan Sabin, president of the non-profit Iowa Northern Railway, says they’re just completing the purchase of two historic locomotives that would be restored and housed at the planned museum.
Sabin says it’s still in the development stage but they’ve bought two rare Rock Island Lines passenger locomotives. They want to display them but also want to have them be operated on the grounds so it would be a "live museum." Sabin says the group would like to see the museum developed into a great place for rail fans, tourists and researchers to visit.
They want to integrate commercial development, including restaurants and shops, with modern facilities but in a 1920s appearance, along with a vintage railroad station. Sabin says there are also plans for a storehouse of pictures and other information about railroads so the museum could also become a railroad research facility for scholars, writers and historians. Manly is just north of Mason City in Worth County. Sabin says the town used to be a hub for rail activity, decades ago, so he sees it as an appropriate distinction that railroads could again put Manly on the map.
Sabin says the group wants to see that Manly celebrates its railroad heritage with such a museum. Sabin and his family members are also partners in the Manly Terminal, an ethanol warehouse operation that is currently being constructed north of Manly. He says that project combined with the museum idea could also make Manly a railroad town of the future. Anyone interested in contributing money or memorabilia to the project can contact Sabin at (319) 297-6000 or by e-mailing him at [email protected].