A History of Railroads in North Omaha

There have been several railroads in North Omaha throughout the years. Here’s a lowdown for anyone who’s interested.

MoPac

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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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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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All three of these are reflected on the map above. However, I’ve left out the Illinois Central Railroad, which crossed the Missouri River at East Omaha, then came east to a roundhouse at in old Sulphur Springs by N. 13th and Wirt Streets.


Depots

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 dropoff. After starting off at the Webster Street Station at North 15th and Webster Street, their depots were the Oak Chatham Depot at 4351 North 22nd Street; Druid Hill Depot at North 32nd and John Creighton Boulevard; Lake Street Depot at North 40th and Lake Street; Nicholas Street Depot, North 43rd and Nicholas Street; and the Walnut Hill Depot at Military Avenue and Hamilton Street.
The Omaha Road used the Florence Depot and the Briggs Station as it headed northwards.
After leaving downtown, the CNW used a station near North 31st and Saratoga street called the Omaha View depot, and the DeBolt Station near present-day North 60th and Whitman.

Other Stuff

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?
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 and another over Nicholas near North 11th Street.
There were two roundhouses north of Locust Street and east of North 14th.
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!

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