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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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)
- A History of the Belt Line in North Omaha
- A History of the Village of DeBolt, Nebraska
- A History of Squatter’s Row