Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha Railway

The Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha Railway or Omaha Road (reporting mark CMO) was a railroad in the U.S. states of Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and South Dakota. It was incorporated in 1880 as a consolidation of the Chicago, St. Paul and Minneapolis Railway and the North Wisconsin Railway.[1] The Chicago and North Western Railway (C&NW) gained control in 1882.[2] The C&NW leased the Omaha Road in 1957 and merged the company into itself in 1972.[3] Portions of the C. St. P. M. and O. are part of the Union Pacific Railroad network. This includes main lines from Wyeville, Wisconsin, to St. Paul, Minnesota, and St. Paul to Sioux City, Iowa.

Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha Railway "The Omaha Road"
Share of the Chicago, Saint Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha Railway Company, issued 13. December 1919
Reporting markCMO, CSt.PM&O
LocaleUnited States from St. Paul, Minnesota, Elroy, Wisconsin; Sioux City, Iowa
Dates of operation18801972
PredecessorWest Wisconsin Railway, St. Paul and Sioux City Railway
SuccessorChicago and Northwestern Railroad, Union Pacific Railroad
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Length1,616 miles (2,601 km)
HeadquartersSt. Paul, Minnesota


St. Paul to Elroy

The West Wisconsin Railway was authorized in 1876 to build from St. Paul, Minnesota through to reach the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad at Elroy, Wisconsin.[4] In 1878 the bankrupt West Wisconsin Railway was acquired by the Chicago, St. Paul and Minneapolis Railway.[4][5]

St. Paul to Sioux City

The Land Grant Act of Congress approved March 3rd, 1857, when Minnesota was still a Territory and not a state, conferred on the then called Southern Minnesota Railroad Company "lands, interests, rights, powers and privileges" for the proposed line of railroad from St. Paul via Mankato, Minnesota and other points named to the southern boundary of the state in the direction of the mouth of the Big Sioux river. The Minnesota Valley Railroad Company was organized in 1864 under an act of the Minnesota Legislature approved March 4th, 1864. This granted to the new company the Southern Minnesota Railroad grant.[6]

In 1869 the Minnesota Valley Railroad constructed a bridge jointly with the Minnesota Central Railroad Company to cross the Mississippi between Mendota and St. Paul at Pickerel Lake. It was the predecessor of the current Omaha Road Bridge Number 15 at the same location. A freight house was constructed in St. Paul at the foot of Robert Street. The name of the company changed on April 7, 1869 to the St. Paul and Sioux City Railroad The railroad had reached Mankato at the bend of the Minnesota river, and exited the river valley to reach Lake Crystal, Minnesota.[6] By September 1872, the track was completed to Le Mars, Iowa, where it joined the Iowa Falls and Sioux City railroad, a predecessor of the Illinois Central Railroad.[7] On October 1, 1872, the railroad was in regular operation from St. Paul through to Sioux City.


The North Wisconsin Railway was merged along with Chicago, St. Paul and Minneapolis Railway to become the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha Railway in 1880.[8] [5][9] The C. St. P. M. & O. then purchased the St. Paul and Sioux City in 1881.[5] The route was a bow shape between Le Mars, Iowa, to the Twin Cities, to Elroy, Wisconsin.

Chicago and Northwestern

At the end of 1956 C. St. P. M. & O. operated 1616 miles of road and 2396 miles of track; that year it reported 2115 million ton-miles of revenue freight and 65 million passenger-miles.

Union Pacific

Although the CMO had long been absorbed by the C&NW before that railroad was purchased by the Union Pacific, the UP still uses the CMO reporting mark on cars.[10]

Disposition of lines

The following main lines were part of the Omaha Road:[11]

Division Notes
Eastern Division: Elroy, Wisconsin (junction with C&NW towards Chicago) to Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota Now mostly part of the Union Pacific Railroad's Wyeville and Altoona Subdivisions
Northern Division: Northline (junction with Eastern Division towards Minneapolis-St. Paul) to Bayfield, Wisconsin Now abandoned
Eau Claire (Eastern Division) to Spooner, Wisconsin (Northern Division main line) Now a Union Pacific Railroad branch line south of Cameron Between Spooner and Trego, Wisconsin is used by the Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad.
Trego, Wisconsin (Northern Division main line) to Duluth, Minnesota Now abandoned, known as the Wild Rivers Trail
St. Paul and Sioux City Division: Minneapolis-St. Paul to Sioux City, Iowa Now the Union Pacific Railroad's Mankato and Worthington Subdivisions
Org, Minnesota (SP&SC Division main line) to Mitchell, South Dakota Now the Minnesota Southern Railway east of Manley
Nebraska Division: Sioux City to Omaha, Nebraska Now abandoned
Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha Railway
Chicago, St Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railway [Nebraska Division] (Main Line)
0 Omaha
5 Florence
16 Ft. Calhoun
25 Blair
35 Herman
42 Tekamah
51 Craig
58 Oakland
65 Lyons
73 Bancroft
82 Pender
95 Emerson
107 Hubbard
112 Coburn
116 Dakota City
120 South Sioux City
124 Sioux City


  1. Interstate Commerce Commission, Valuation Docket No. 549: Chicago, Saint Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha Railway Company, 1928
  2. Stan Mailer (January 1, 2005). The Omaha Road: Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha. Book Sales. ISBN 978-0-945434-04-7.
  3. Chicago & North Western Historical Society, Chicago St. Paul Minneapolis & Omaha - A Capsule History
  4. Yesterday and Today: A History of the Chicago and North Western Railway System. Winship Company, Printers. 1910. pp. 77–.
  5. Donald R. Jr. Durbin (December 2000). The Bigger They Are... Writers Showcase. ISBN 978-0-595-15521-7.
  6. J W 1831-1917 Bishop (October 12, 2018). History of the St. Paul & Sioux City Railroad, 1864-188. Creative Media Partners, LLC. ISBN 978-0-342-66271-5.
  7. Rudolph Daniels (2008). Sioux City Railroads. Arcadia Publishing. pp. 23–. ISBN 978-0-7385-5222-4.
  8. Minnesota. Office of Railroad Commissioner (1879). Annual Report. pp. 1–.
  9. George E. Warner; Charles M. Foote (1881). History of Ramsey County and the City of St. Paul: Including the Explorers and Pioneers of Minnesota. North Star Publishing Company. pp. 351–.
  10. Railway Equipment and Publication Co (October 13, 2018). The Official Railway Equipment Register, Vol. 33: Devoted to the Consideration of Topics of Interest to Railroad Officials, More Particularly Questions of Transportation Economies, Car Handling and Other Subjects of Especial Importance to the Transportati. Fb&c Limited. ISBN 978-1-396-78704-1.
  11. P. F. Collier and Son, New World Atlas and Gazetteer, 1922: Chicago and North Western Railway
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