Early Omaha: Gateway to the West
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COUNCIL BLUFFS & NEBRASKA FERRY COMPANY & UNION PACIFIC TRANSFER ALBUM
The Missouri River Bridge at Omaha is completed and the first train crosses in March 1872. Note the fill work on the trestles is not yet finished on the Omaha side. Notice that a crib has been built around the trestle work to catch the fill dirt and prevent the river from washing it away. The railroad flat cars have dropped some heavy rip-rap just under the bridge. You can also see some of the business buildings on the mud flats or levee in the foreground.
The completion of the railroad bridge brought an end to the large ferry service. People began to travel by train and ship all their goods by train. The railroads set up what was essentially a glorified street car system called “Dummy Trains” that transported local citizens back and forth across the river.