In June 1983, the Norfolk and Western Railway Company (Norfolk), as lessee and operator of the line of railroad, and the Wabash Railroad Company, as owner of the line, jointly applied with the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) for permission to abandon and discontinue operation of the railroad line. The railroad companies cited several reasons to support their application for abandonment: (1) the significant
financial liability caused by operating the line; (2) the poor condition of the track structure; and (3) the decreasing demand from shippers.
The Northern Missouri Railroad, a local short-line railroad company, began operating trains over the Wabash tracks between Brunswick, Missouri, and Blanchard, Iowa. The railroad company soon experienced financial difficulties, however, and in October 1986, it discontinued service over the rail corridor. Subsequently, Norfolk removed the bridges, ties, and rail from the entire corridor in the second half of 1988, completing the work by December 1988.
The Wabash from Council Bluffs to the Missouri border was also abandoned border in 1988.