The near-complete 1893 collapse of the Merchants System and its envied Merchants Bridge enlarged the Terminal Railroad, but the ongoing animosity with the Wiggins Ferry Company and its rail subsidiaries, the East St. Louis Connecting Railway and the St. Louis Transfer Railway Company, provided fodder for corporate soap operas.
The rivalry and the heated competition between the TRRA and the Wiggins provided some of the best examples of yellow journalism in the newspapers of the day. There were leaks to the press, innuendo, and the buying and selling of stock all of which added to the excitement. No one was surprised when it was discovered that the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific was behind the plot.
In this issue rail historian Thomas T. Taber III, a long time Society Life Member, has written a capsule history of each of the segments that became a part of the Terminal Railroad Association. His research included newspaper and business archives and Poor's Manual of Railroads. Additionally, he was able to look at the overall picture and the individual line's importance to the TRRA system.
At Tom's suggestion a map was included whenever possible. For those not familiar with the TRRA or MBT system, or for those who used to live in the St. Louis area and whose memory has dimmed, the TRRA's size garnered many enemies. Some businessmen feared the TRRA was an octopus strangling the business life out of St. Louis. The efficiency of the TRRA, such as the single Union Station and rail yards that were open to all trunk lines, was lost on those same businessmen.
Two voices in St. Louis were opposed to the TRRA early on. One was the St. Louis Post-Dispatch who portrayed themselves as a guardian for the poor and downtrodden. Another was David Francis, President of the St. Louis Merchants Exchange - the St. Louis version of the Chicago Board of Trade. Francis was later Mayor of St. Louis and Governor of Missouri.
The Merchants Exchange was quick to support an alternative to the TRRA and the despicable ferries of the Wiggins Ferry Company, but community support was lackluster. When the Merchants system collapsed, Francis found himself in the strange position of being a stockholder in the Terminal Railroad with a seat on the board.
One ongoing issue with which the TRRA struggled was the bridge arbitrary, or fee for hauling the freight cars across the river. The TRRA could not afford to do it for free and neither east side nor west side roads were in the habit of volunteering to change their billing system. The threat of Federal oversight spurred the railroads into action.
This is the only issue for the 2004 membership year. Your continued support is much appreciated.
The Editor's Page
A contrast between the TRRA and the Belt Railway of Chicago
Thomas T. Taber III
Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis
A Corporate History
Pages 4-9, with map, tariff, letter
The Union Railway and Transit Company
The Union Railway and Transit Company of St. Louis
Pages 10-12, with maps, photo, drawings
St. Louis Bridge Company
Tunnel Railroad of St. Louis
Pages 14-20, with maps, photos, drawings, and a foldout with Eads Bridge on pages 19-20, and "the tunnel" on the reverse
Terminal Railroad of East St. Louis
Terminal Railroad of St. Louis
St. Louis Belt and Terminal Railway
Pages 22-28, with maps and many photos
St. Louis Terminal Railway
Pages 29-33, with photos, maps, and a timetable
St. Louis Transfer Railway
Pages 34-41, with photos (two in color), maps, and documents, and a foldout
The North Belt
Pages 42-46, with maps, drawings, photos, document
East St. Louis & Carondelet Railway
Pages 47-53, with photos, maps, timetables
Venice & Carondelet Railway
Pages 54-56, with maps, photo
East St. Louis Belt Railroad
Terminal Presidents Travelled in Style
Pages 58-66, with many photos and a double foldout
East St. Louis Connecting Railway
Pages 67-73, with maps & many photos
Illinois Transfer Railroad
Pages 74-81, with maps, photos, timetable
Working at Willows
Pages 82-88, with many photos and a foldout
St. Louis Merchants Bridge Company
Pages 89-92, with map, photos
St. Louis Merchants Bridge Terminal Railway
Illinois Transfer Railroad
Pages 96-102, with several photos & documents, some of both in color
Madison, Illinois and St. Louis Railroad
Pages 103-106, with maps, photos (some color), foldout
TRRA and the B&O's Cone Yard
Pages 106-107 (starts on foldout of previous article)
Granite City and Madison Belt Line Railroad
Wiggins Ferry Company
How the Terminal Railroad Acquired the Wiggins Ferry Company
Other Miscellaneous Companies
Footnotes And Additional Sources
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Last Update: Thu, 20 Jan 2005 by Rich Zellich