First Train for Billings

Railroads changed the spatial relationship of cities and regions, altering trade routes, access to markets, credit, and information. Despite his campaign against railroad political corruption, the editor of The Omaha Bee celebrates the new Billings route with great enthusiasm for the opportunities it will create.


It Will Be Sent There at the Rate of Thirty-Three Miles an Hour.


Regular Passenger Service Will Begin in Ten DaysóRoute Touches Historic Indian BattlefieldsóCuster monument to Be Seen from the Cars.

Final arrangements have been completed for the train service on the Billings extension of the Burlington, as a result of a conference Monday among D. O. Ives, general passenger agent of the Missouri lines of the Burlington. General Passenger Agent John Francis, S. E. Crance, general superintendent of the Missouri lines at St. Joseph, General Superintendent Calvert and G. R. Faucon, superintendent of equipment. The first train for Billings and the northwest will leave Omaha at 5 p.m. on the evening of October 21, arriving at Lincoln at 6:40 p.m., breakfast at Edgemont, S. D., taking dinner at Gillette, supper at Sheridan and arriving at Billings 9:40 p.m. of the following day out from Omaha, making the run of 892 miles in twenty-nine hours and forty minutes, an average speed of thirty-three miles per hour. Through sleeper and chair cars will run from Omaha to Billings, where close connection will be made with the Northern Pacific for Helena and Portland. The train will be perfect in all respects and with its introduction will come a new territory for the wholesalers and jobbers of Omaha the tariff which the Burlington will shortly issue showing a differential in favor of Omaha as against St. Louis, St. Joseph and Kansas City. Omaha taking the same rate as St. Paul and Minneapolis, the Chicago rate being the same as the Northern Pacific.

The train will arrive in Deadwood the same as now and sleeping car arrangements will be the same. Eastbound, the trains will leave Billings pretty late at night in order to connect with train No. 2 at Omaha. Connections have been arranged for from St. Louis, Kansas City and all points south and east.

The road which opens up Montana and Idaho to the business interests of Omaha passes through a wonderfully fertile country, needing only irrigation to make it bud and blossom luxuriantly. It, too, passes through historic ground. Custer's battlefield being only two miles to the south of the Crow agency, and the monument which marks the site of the massacre is only a mile from the line of the Burlington road and in plain view from the car windows. The road skirts the Little Big Horn, where Sitting Bull and Chief Gall, with their 6,000 Sioux and Cheyenne warriors, were encamped when Custer and his handful of men of the Seventh cavalry marched down to their death, June 25, 1876. There are still to be seen the marks of the Indian camps, tepee poles still standing along the banks of the stream where the Indians were camped, but it is a peaceful scene now. Eighteen years ago a white man's life would not have been worth a farthing in that valley. Today there is a good sized settlement of whites about the agency, and while there are plenty of Indians to be seen, they are peaceful Crows, who are as "good Indians" as any live Indians can be. They own their farms, they have wagons and buggies, and, stranger yet, all sorts of farm implements, including reapers, mowers and threshing machines, which they put to use after a fashion.

Workmen are busily engaged in laying the track in the Billings yard, the last spike having been driven on the line between the Burlington and the terminus of the Northern Pacific.

About this Document

  • Source: Omaha Daily Bee
  • Citation: 7
  • Date: October 10, 1894