A History of Railroads in North Omaha

There have been several railroads in North Omaha throughout the years. The include the Missouri Pacific; the Omaha Road; the Union Pacific and several others. Here’s a lowdown of the history of railroads in North Omaha.

 


MoPac

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The red line on this graphic shows the approximate route of the Missouri Pacific’s Belt Line Railway in North Omaha.

 

I have been most hyped about the Belt Line Railway owned by the Missouri Pacific Railroad. After starting at a station downtown at N. 15th and Webster, it went north along the bottom of the bluffs east of N. 14th to Locust Street, then crossing N. 16th on a trestle at Commercial Ave. Then it crossed Commercial before Ames Avenue, going between Taylor Ave and Ames (along a street called Boyd that doesn’t exist there anymore). There was originally a depot at 4351 N 22nd St along this section. Then, the Belt Line shot west and across 30th to a depot at 32nd and John Creighton Blvd, then to a depot at 40th and Lake, then a depot at 43rd and Nicholas, then a depot at Military and Hamilton, then south over Dodge and beyond.

 


CNW

Debolt, North Omaha, Nebraska
A 1917 railroad map showing the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad through Debolt, as well as the northern connector to the Omaha Road through Briggs.

 

The railroad heading up the modern-day Sorensen Pkwy was the Fremont, Elkhorn & Missouri Valley Railroad, which was bought by the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad. Starting downtown, the railroad travelled through the North Omaha Yards to Locust Street, eventually going west through the ravine now used by the Storz Expressway to North 30th, which it cross with a trestle. It then went to a station by Fort Omaha and onward to Debolt, Bennington, Irvington, Fremont and beyond.

 


Omaha Road

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This is the Florence Depot when it sat on North 28th, next to the Florence Water Works, in the 1960s.

 

The railroad heading north through Florence was the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha Railway, aka the Omaha Road. After coming north along the bluffs, it went to a roundhouse north of Locust and west of Carter Lake Drive. It then went north to a trestle over Minne Lusa Blvd, then to the Florence Depot at N. 28th and Tucker. After that, it went to Briggs, Nashville, Blair and beyond.

 


IC

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This is the Illinois Central Missouri River Bridge in an early 1900s photo.

 

The Illinois Central Railroad crossed the Missouri River at East Omaha. Its more than 500 feet long, and was the longest swing bridge in the world from when it was completed in 1915. The IC then came east to a roundhouse at in old Sulphur Springs by North 13th and Wirt Streets. That roundhouse was demolished, and the railroad from East Omaha to North 13th was removed.

Today, the Canadian National Railway owns the bridge, and it is closed.

 


Depots and Stations

 

Missouri Pacific Lines Yard Office, North 15th and Grace Street, North Omaha, Nebraska
This is the Missouri Pacific Lines Yard Office at North 15th and Grace Streets.

 

I’ve found at least nine stations in North O affiliated with various railroads. The Belt Line Railway began as a passenger transport, and required depots for pickup and drop off. They included the Webster Street station, the Oak Chatham depot, the Druid Hill depot, the Lake Street depot, the Nicholas Street depot and the Walnut Hill depot.

There were several other railroad depots in North Omaha, too. The Omaha Road had two stations in North Omaha: the Florence depot and the Briggs station. After leaving north from downtown, the CNW used the Omaha View depot and the DeBolt station.

 


Other Railroad Infrastructure

MoPac Roundhouse, North Omaha, Nebraska
In this 1926 pic, you can see the Holmquist Elevator on North 16th at Commercial Ave; the MoPac Roundhouse to the right; and the Ames Avenue bridge over Carter Lake. I’m not sure what that elevator is to the right; it would’ve been along the Omaha Road, maybe nearby the ice house?

 

Its challenging to account for all the railroad infrastructure in North Omaha, if only because there was so much of it. By far the largest place was called the North Yards. It was a massive area of rails, shops and other industry-related places that was located north of the Union Pacific shops, extending roughly from Cuming to Locust Street, from North 9th to North 14th Street.

There were trestles over Cuming around North 40th; over North 30th at Hartman; over Minne Lusa Boulevard near JJ Pershing Drive; and over North 16th Street at Commercial Avenue. There was also a large a viaduct on Locust from North 11th to North 16th, and another over Nicholas from North 13th to North 16th Street.

There were two roundhouses north of Locust Street and east of North 14th. One was operated by the Missouri Pacific, and the other was for the Omaha Road. There were also at two train bridges across the west arm of Carter Lake operated by the Illinois Central Railroad.

Any corrections, additions, etc. are always welcome!

 


North Omaha Railroad Tour

 

Omaha Missouri Pacific Railroad Passenger and Freight Depots
This Sanborn Insurance map shows the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railroad Passenger Depot and Freight Depot at

 

Much the same as railroad infrastructure across the United States, North Omaha’s depots, stations, trestles, bridges, roundhouses and rails themselves have largely faded from the community’s landscape. However, their places don’t have to be lost! Here’s a list of railroad places in North Omaha.

  • North Yard, N. 11th and Nicholas St (demolished)
  • Missouri Pacific Freight Depot, N. 14th and Webster St (demolished)
  • Webster Street Station, 1490 Mike Fahey St (demolished)
  • Oak Chatham Depot, 4351 N. 22nd St (demolished)
  • Druid Hill Depot, 4230 N. 30th St (demolished)
  • Lake Street Depot, 2480 N. 40th St (demolished)
  • Nicholas Street Depot, 4360 Nicholas St (demolished)
  • Walnut Hill Depot, 4242 Hamilton St (demolished)
  • Florence Depot, 2800 Tucker St (standing)
  • Briggs Station, 5300 Sargent St (demolished)
  • Omaha View Depot, 3200 Grand Ave (demolished)
  • DeBolt Station, 7000 N. 60th St (demolished)
  • Omaha Road Roundhouse, 35 Carter Lake Shore Dr (demolished)
  • Missouri Pacific Roundhouse, 35 Carter Lake Shore Dr (demolished)
  • Illinois Central Bridge, 41°16’44.4″N 95°53’31.8″W (standing)
  • Missouri Pacific Trestle, 4448 Cuming St (demolished)
  • Missouri Pacific Railroad Yard Office, N. 15th and Grace Street (demolished)
  • Chicago and Northwestern Trestle, 4900 N. 30th (demolished)
  • OPPD Trestle, 41°19’39.1″N 95°56’25.6″W Minne Lusa
  • Omaha Road Trestle, 41°19’37.2″N 95°56’58.4″W Minne Lusa (standing)
  • Missouri Pacific Trestle, 4140 N. 16th (demolished)
  • Union Pacific Bridge, 4405 Carter Lake Shore Dr. W (demolished)
  • Locust Street Bridge, 1415 Locust St (demolished)
  • Locust Street Viaduct, 1415 Locust St (demolished)
  • Nicholas Street Viaduct, 1450 Nicholas St (demolished)
  • Missouri Pacific Carter Lake Bridge, 35 Carter Lake Shore Dr (demolished)

 


Related Articles

 

BONUS PICS!

 

 

Missouri Pacific Freight Depot, Omaha, Nebraska
This is Omaha’s Missouri Pacific Freight Depot, located at N. 14th and Webster Streets.

 

Omaha Road Roundhouse, North Omaha, Nebraska
The Omaha Road roundhouse was located in the former Sulpher Springs, north of Locust Street and west of Carter Lake Drive West. It lasted from approximately 1890 through the 1950s. In 1913 it was demolished by the Easter Sunday tornado, and rebuilt later.

 

Nicholas Street Viaduct, North Omaha, Nebraska
Looking south towards downtown from the top of the Nebraska Consolidated Mills on North 16th, you can see the Nicholas Street Viaduct in the center of the pic. The Missouri Pacific Railroad freight house is on right (west) and the CMO ice house is to the left left (east).

 

 

North Railroad Yards, N. 13th and Yates Streets, Omaha, Nebraska
This is Omaha’s North Yard in 1951. Located between Cuming and Locust between North 8th and North 14th, it was packed with railroad-related shops, spots and more.

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