The Humeston and Shenandoah Railway (earlier Humeston and Shenandoah Railroad until 1896) was part of a collection of railroad lines built as a westward extension to the Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska Railway across southern Iowa in the last half of the 19th century. These lines were later exclusively operated, during the 20th century, by the Burlington Route. The Humeston and Shenandoah was originally envisioned as part of a strategy to allow Jay Gould and his Wabash Railroad to reach Omaha, Nebraska. The line's construction was contested, however, by the Burlington Route, and eventually Gould compromised and allowed the H&S Railroad to be built as a joint initiative with the Burlington. Upon completion of construction, the H&S line was leased for operation to a company owned jointly by the Wabash and the Burlington on April 1, 1881, and operated for their joint accounts. This arrangement continued until the Wabash bankruptcy of 1899, after which the line was operated by the Burlington Route under lease.