Prof. Chen, Chun-Hung from Taiwan said:" I remember that the girl jumped onto the bridge, ran to the direction of the coming train, and signal the danger by waving her red shirt. Of course, the train stopped safely, which is the most difficult part of the story to believe when I was a child.I felt that the girl is so kind to help people without considering her own life. When I was a child, I was wondering whether there is a better way to stop the train. That was my first thought after I read the story. But now, I just feel that this girl should be much appreciated even if there was a better way to stop the train. "Kindness" (a better Chinese translation is Tsu2-Be1) is more important than "intelligence", I think."
Many friends from Taiwan remember this story. Mr Lin in UCLA said he remember the girl jump on the bridge. Meisho remember she stop the trains by waving red shirt. Many Taiwan students study in Iowa state Univ knew it, but they don't know it happened in IOWA and not too far from Ames.
Actually, I didn't know where this story happened when I came there. In 1997/4, I went to a high bridge near Boone with friends,Dan Kelly and Seth Loyd. I spent about 4-5 hours with Dan to take photos. When he started to tell me this bridge was named Kate Shelley High Bridge because her brave deed. I am so surprised because I have heard it!!!
After that, I began to find her story and knew it was happened on July 6,1881. The girl is Kate Shelley. The train she saved is Atlantic Express. The most important thing is the railroad is Chicago & North Western!
At that night, Kate Shelley heard a steam locomotive fell into Honey creek . She knew Atlantic Express would passed Ded Moines River very soon. It was too dangerous, if the train ran on this bridge because of flood. Therefore, she ran to Moingona station to stop this trains. She waved her red shirt to do so. After this night, she became famous. This Des Moines river bridge was retired later when CNW built another new and high 2 tracks bridge. Kate Shelley died on January 21, 1912, but her story are known all over the world.
Today, you can visit Kate Shelly railroad museum in Moingona, IA. It is not too far from Boone or Ames. The place is right the location, Moingona station was in 1881. The high bridge was named after her brave deed in 1981 for the 100 years anniverary.This high bridge was built in 1901. When it was completed, it was the highest(185 feet) and longest(2685 feet) double-track bridge in the world.
I have asked many friends of mine in the world, but interesting thing is: Railfans from UK or Japan have never heard about this story. Even American railfan, there are so many didn't know it. However, most people from Taiwan remember it, although they are not railfans! I have written a book named " Taiwan Railway Story". I think Kate Shelley's story already became Taiwan Railroad story, didn't it? Many people in Taiwan don't know Taiwan railway story, but they remember Kate Shelley! I sould put her story on my next Taiwan Railway story!
Left: Kate Shelley Museum. Mid: Kate Shelley Right: My article about Kate Shelley in China Times