TRRA Logo TRRA H&TS Magazine
Issue 65 - 2005

Front Cover of Issue 65 - 2005

In the course of speaking about the Terminal Railroad, especially when the Travelling TRRA H&TS is on the road, I have found that there seems to be some confusion when it comes to the names and owners of the St. Louis railroad bridges spanning the Mississippi River. When the eyes of those inquiring minds start to glaze over - I know that they are lost - like pigeons circling about overhead unsure of what building on which to land. My words pass over their heads as I talk on about the Eads Bridge, the Merchants Bridge, the McKinley Bridge and the MacArthur Bridge - answering their questions even to the last time the Eads Bridge was used. (July 1974)

And the confusion isn't limited to those having a passing curiosity in St. Louis railroad history. Many of us have chuckled as the St. Louis Post- Dispatch has reported that the Illinois Terminal Railway built the Eads Bridge or that the Terminal Railroad of St. Louis owned the McKinley Bridge until purchased by the city of Venice, Illinois. One personal favorite error was when a Post-Dispatch writer noted that since the MacArthur Bridge was closed due to a derailment, all rail traffic would be re-routed via the Mercantile Bridge. (March 2, 2003)

Society member Richard Castagna has written what is to be considered the defining history of the MacArthur Bridge - the reasons for its existence, the planning, construction, financing, and the so called Public Mandate - nothing more than a frenzy whipped up by the area newspapers of the day. A frequent comment heard and read at the time was that St. Louis deserved a Free Bridge - the fact that the bonds were not paid off until 1986 underlies the myth about much in life - nothing is really free.

Imagine, if the monies spent on the bridge over the years - the cash to the contractors, steel suppliers, maintenance, employees, bureaucrats, interest on the bonds, and everything else - had been devoted instead to more civic minded projects such as improving the riverfront, beefing up the City Police or Fire Departments or slimming down a bloated city government.

Of course, the irony in all of this is that the Municipal/MacArthur Bridge, aka the Free Bridge, is now owned by the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis, the long time villain in the eyes of many in the St. Louis media.

In this issue the history of the Municipal Bridge is detailed, its operation and the ongoing maintenance written in an easy to read style. Many of us will remember the long standing Gratiot Tower on the west end of the bridge - an anachronism itself as it was owned by the City of St. Louis yet staffed by TRRA employees, but paid from City coffers.

Special thanks goes to those who dug through their photo collections and crafted the photos used - including Joe Collias, Louis Marre, Bill Raia, Bill Peters, and the J.R. Eike glass plate negatives from Thomas Kempland. The special treat in this issue is the St. Louis & O'Fallon story. Thanks to all.

This is the only issue for the 2005 membership year. Your continued support is much appreciated.

The Editor


The Editor's Page
      Page 2

St. Louis Municipal Bridge railway Company
      Page 3

The St. Louis Municipal Bridge
      The Power of Public Mandate:
      The Tactics and Negotiations for the Reduction of Railroad Freight Rates and the Construction of the Municipal Bridge in St. Louis, Missouri

      Richard M. Castagna
      Pages 4-53, with maps, timetables, many B&W photos, two foldouts

A Trip Across the Bridge
      A Ride with the Dupo Transfer across the Municipal Bridge
      Richard M. Castagna
      Pages 54-58, with 5 color photos, 1 B&W photo

The Municipal Bridge Fees
      Nothing is Really Free
      Richard Castagna
      Page 59

The Southern Traction Company
      What Money Couldn't Buy
      Richard Castagna
      Pages 60-66, with B&W and color photos, maps, foldout page

Recollections of a New York Central Terminal Superintendent at East St. Louis, Illinois
      "...the GM&O used to tie-up the whole East bank with their train to the south..."
      Lawrence Baggerly
      Page 67

A Tale of Two Towers
      Working at Carroll Street or Gratiot Tower Provided a Challenge on a Daily Basis
      Richard M. Castagna
      Pages 68-73, with B&W and color photos, letters

Federal Railroad Administration Railroad Safety Board
      Railroad Employee Accident Investigation - Report No. 19
      Manufacturers Railway - East St. Louis, Illinois - August 9, 1973
      Page 74

St. Louis Municipal Bridge Railway - In Color
      Pages 75-81

The Ralston Purina Mill Fire
      ...a disaster waiting to happen...
      Lawrence Thomas
      Pages 82-86, with foldout

The St. Louis and O'Fallon Railway
      Its Commodity Was Coal
      Lawrence Thomas
      Pages 87-96

"...The Greatest Lawsuit in History..."
      So said the attorney pleading before Congress for more funds to widen the Investigation
      Lawrence Thomas
      Pages 97-100

I Remember the St. Louis and O'Fallon
      "...they must have operated under yard rules, as I never saw a timetable..."
      Walter W. Simms
      Page 101

Footnotes and Additional Sources
      Pages 102-104

Back Cover of Issue 65 - 2005

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Last Update: Fri, 30 Dec 2005 by Rich Zellich