Art, architecture, history, travel

TRRA Terminal Railroad Assoc

The American Queen, a recreation of a classic ...

The American Queen, a recreation of a classic Mississippi riverboat, in front of the Eads Bridge in St. Louis, MO, US. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The MacArthur Bridge in St. Louis from the Riv...

The MacArthur Bridge in St. Louis from the Riverfront. Self-taken photo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


English: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: The Eads Bridge over the Mississippi ...

English: The Eads Bridge over the Mississippi River under construction in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1874 or earlier. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Does anyone know history of the Terminal Railroad Assoc TRAA of St. Louis? Owning only 12 miles of track, the TRRA is one of the shortest RR in the country and also one of the most profitabble. Trains are taken over the river after 11:00 PM. The Mississippi river. There is a staging yard in Dupo, Illinois and another at Compton Avenue in St. Louis. Trains are hooked together taken across the Mississippi and charged, when they are unhooked. Making it one of the most profitable railroads in the country. Trains then head to California and other points west.

The railroad was the brainchild of New York robber baron, Jay Gould  and was the result of a feud with the Wiggins Ferry Company. Before the Eads Bridge Wiggins hauled freight and passengers across the river for a nickel apiece. The delay in

English: An 1875 drawing of Eads Bridge by Cam...

English: An 1875 drawing of Eads Bridge by Camille N. Dry. Copyright has expired. From Pictorial St. Louis, the great metropolis of the Mississippi valley; a topographical survey drawn in perspective A.D. 1875, by Camille N. Dry; designed & edited by Rich. J. Compton. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

building the bridge allowed Chicago to get a leg up over St. Louis and started a rivalry that continues to this day. Including the 1904 Worlds fair and 1893 Columbia World’s Exposition. Cardinals Cubs rivalry.

Ushering a vast period of economic and industrial growth known as the guided age including, a stock market crash, easy credit and free silver.

Inspiring the play War of Wealth

The bridge between Chicago and Rock Island, being the only way across the Mississippi, beating St Louis by twenty years.


English: Union Station and meeting of waters s...

English: Union Station and meeting of waters statue. Photo by poster in April 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

St. Louis already had a Union Depot, but it could handle only fourteen trains daily, so Wiggins continued to prosper. Gould, still in control of the Wabash and Missouri Pacific roads, created a monopoly of trans-river movement so he could set the tariff for trains to cross. Responding to this “arbitrary,” as it was called, the Merchants Exchange organized an effort in 1886 to build a Merchants Bridge at Bissell’s Point to break the Eads monopoly and to operate competitive lines open to any operator.the_war_of_wealth_print-r4251880ef22349a392715c405900bfca_26gi_8byvr_324

Not to be outdone, Gould organized the Terminal Railroad Association in October of 1889. The TRRA consolidated freight terminals and Union Depot via Eads Bridge and the St. Louis tunnel. Wiggins Ferry had a strong competitor, as did the Merchants Bridge which opened the following year. The Merchants had problems connecting with freight lines, though, and offered no passenger service to Union Depot.2 After the Panic of 1893, Merchants was broke. The TRRA took over its debt and property August 13, regaining its monopoly over rail connections into St. Louis. The arbitrary continued into the twentieth century.

The TRRA used this “arbitrary” to set rates for freight entering or leaving the city by rail, so it had a direct impact on the cost of using St. Louis as a shipping terminal or warehousing center. It gave a certain impetus to businesses in Illinois, who chose to not pay extra overhead to bring goods into the city. It also provided a motive for businesses to relocate north or south of city, where it could ship goods without the heavy hand of the TRRA and its arbitrary.


Cupples Station attempted to remedy the problem for freight. After opening in 1891, Cupples handled most of the heavy wholesale trade in its warehouses (eighteen of them built over a thirteen-year period, ten of which remain) with its tunnel connections from the Eads Bridge via the TRRA. Some $200 million in freight passed through Cupples Station by the turn of the century. Some 93,000 trains entered and left St. Louis annually by the 1920s.

Cupples Station handled freight well enough, but travelers remained problematic. Union Depot opened in June, 1875, between 10th and 12th on Poplar, but was always restricted in capacity by a design that limited the number of trains it could handle. Its 52 daily scheduled arrivals and departures meant that it could not handle the volume from the day it opened.

The answer to the problem was a new rail station. When completed at 18th and Market in 1894, the new Union Station was the largest passenger station in the United States. It became a symbol of connection with the rest of the country for St. Louis travelers for eight decades. After World War II, train travel began declining. As air travel and expressways made trains seem old-fashioned and slow, rail travel and Union Station fell on hard times. Down to just six trains a day, Union Station closed on Halloween in 1978.

The St Louis tunnel still exists and is in use by the light rail metrolink and Amtrak for passenger train to Chicago  as the Union station which reopened in 1984.The TRRA now sends freight of the MacArthur bridge, which has been closed to cars for years. Also known as the merchants or free bridge.

A new bridge will open over the Mississippi River next year, 2014. The Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge

images imgres accessed 8/29/13 accessed 8/29/13


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