Through Historic Fields

Even though the Omaha Daily Bee campaigned against railroad political power, the newspaper celebrates the opening of a new line it expects to reshape the West and enhance the prominence and position of Omaha, Lincoln, and other cities.


Burlington's New Line to the Coast Opened Yesterday.


This is What the Company Promises for this Division-Immediate Vicinity of Where Custer and His Brave Men Fell Traversed.

Yesterday the Burlington began the regular running of trains to Billings, Mont., and by way of the Northern Pacific to Helena, Spokane, Butte, Seattle, Tacoma and Portland and all other Montana, northern Idaho and Puget sound points, thereby giving to the railroad world another transcontinental line, which will play no inconsequential part in the matter of freight and passenger traffic of the future. There was considerable of a crowd of people at the Union depot to see the train and the people who would make the first run over the new extension of the Burlington fro Sheridan, Wyo., to Billings, Mont., a distance of 144 miles, which has been constructed this year, the construction gang laying on an average a mile and a half of track a day.

The building of this line is of incalculable benefit to Omaha, Kansas City, St. Louis, Chicago, bringing a territory of some 1,500 miles in extent almost to the doors of these cities. It is the short line between Omaha and Helena by 295 miles, Omaha and Butte by 225 miles, Omaha and Spokane by 385 miles, Omaha and Seattle by fifty miles, Omaha and Tacoma by fifty-five miles, Kansas City and Helena by 385 miles, Kansas City and Butte by 315 miles, Kansas City and Spokane by 474 miles, the mileage to these points being equally shortened from St. Louis.

The country to the northwest has been almost a sealed book to the wholesale and jobbing interests of the big cities along the Missouri, as well as in Illinois and the more remote east. St. Paul and Minneapolis have enjoyed a monopoly of this territory now for the first time brought into civilization's rim by the progressive pioneer methods of the Burlington system of rails, which now covers quite 7,000 miles.

The train which left yesterday at 4:50 p.m. is carded for very fast time, scheduled to make the distance between Omaha and Billings 893 miles, in twenty-nine hours, or nearly 31 miles and[sic] hour, which, through the Black Hills country, the route traversed by the Burlington, is regarded as exceedingly fast running. Passengers leaving Omaha at 4:50 p.m. will arrive in Billings the following evening at 9:45 p.m. making close connections with the Northern Pacific for the Sound country. The New Short Line, as it will be known henceforth, is more than a mere short line; it is a scenic route, perhaps the most interesting across the continent, introducing the traveler to historic battlefields, which, until now, have only been seen by the wagoner and ranchman or tourist willing to accept the disadvantages of horseback and wagon travel.


The road travels the entire length of the Crow reservation and permission of the United States government had to be obtained as well as the consent of the Crow chiefs before the work of building the road was begun, and no more interested lot of people could be found than the Crows were during the progress of grading and laying the track and when this first train rushes through the Crow country the red man will wake up to realize that the time is not far distant when the white man will be asking congress to throw open the Crow reservation to white settlement, and ship the present possessers of this historic soil, upon which General Custer died, as well as his brave boys in blue, to their brethren in the Indian Territory. The New Short Line opens for settlement hundreds of thousands of acres of land which need only water to make them prolific. Already irrigation ditches have been put in in anticipation of the coming of farmers and planters, and a scheme is now ready for the irrigation of a much greater body of land, which will add to the tillable land of the United States enough farming property to start a new empire in the northwest. The road runs though[sic] a country rich in coal and other minerals and through the greatest cattle grazing section of the United States. Hundreds of thousands of head of cattle grow fat on the "blue stem" grass which grows in abundance on the plains and in the valleys. The line passes through the valleys of the Little and Big Goose creeks, the Tongue river, the Little Big Horn, where Custer made his stand against the Sioux, across and down the Big Horn to the valley of the Yellowstone, which is brought almost into the back yard of the Missouri river towns on account of shortening up the distance.

The new line, which is to become a large factor in the commerce of the Missouri and Mississippi valleys was inaugurated without any flourish of trumpets, but in that quiet, conservative manner that has characterized the Burlington management in the past.


Elkhorn's Black Hills Flyer Goes Through Against Difficulties.

The new black Hills fast train on the Elkhorn arrived here this evening on time. The run from Omaha was made in nine hours and ten minutes, including stops at local stations, in the face of a fierce head wind. Chicago newspaper representatives left Chicago this morning at 3 o'clock on the Northwestern and are on board the train. Grand Passenger Agent Buchanan accompanies the train and chaperones the newspaper party. He receives the congratulations of the people at every station over the new train service, just what the people of northern Nebraska and the black Hills need.

About this Document

  • Source: Omaha Daily Bee
  • Citation: 8
  • Date: October 28, 1894