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Omaha & Republican Valley Railway (Railroad after 1886)

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This page was last updated on March 7, 2010.

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Overview

The Omaha & Republican Valley Railroad (Railway after 1886) was one of Union Pacific's first branchline subsidiaries, meant solely to feed rail traffic to the mainline, and to occupy territory before competitors could build. What was called the Omaha & Republican Valley District after 1887 was built in segments (shown below) between Valley, Nebraska (on the Nebraska mainline), southwest to Valparaiso, then south to Marysville, Kansas by way of Lincoln and Beatrice. There was a branch constructed west from Valparaiso to Stromberg, completed in 1879. (A connection west from Stromberg to Central City on UP's Nebraska Division mainline (21.7 miles) was completed by UP in 1906.)

The branch south of the Kansas/Nebraska line to Marysville, Kansas (13 miles) was owned by Marysville & Blue Valley Railroad, and from Marysville south to Manhattan (54.9 miles) was owned by Blue Valley Railway. The BVRy was completed in 1886 and consolidated with O&RV at the same time. M&BVRR was completed in 1879 and consolidated with O&RV in 1887.

Marysville, Kansas was the connection with the existing St. Joseph & Denver City (later St. Joseph & Grand Island)

Manhattan, Kansas was the connection with the existing Kansas Pacific Railway and with its completion in 1886 the combined BVRy, M&BV, and O&RV lines connected the KP with UP's Nebraska mainline.

There were two groups of branchlines north of the Nebraska mainline. Three branches were built north from Columbus to Norfolk, Albion, and Cedar Rapids in 1880-1886 by the Omaha Niobrara & Black Hills Railroad, which merged with O&RV in 1886.

Two additional branchlines running north from Grand Island to North Loup and Loup City were built in 1880-1886 by the Omaha & Republican Valley Railroad, which merged with O&RV Ry in 1886.

In June and July 1886, the Omaha & Republican Valley Railroad was consolidated with the Omaha Niobrara & Black Hills Railroad and the Blue Valley Railway to form the Omaha & Republican Valley Railway. The Blue Valley Railway was made up of two other lines: the Marysville & Blue Valley Railroad and the Manhattan & Blue Valley Railway.

In early 1887, following the opening up of the Black Hills of southwest South Dakota for mining, Union Pacific made its move to beat its competition, in the form of the CB&Q, which had reached Denver in 1882 as well as building a separate line across Nebraska to the Pacific coast. UP at this time was firmly in the control of Jay Gould and his investor associates, and was pursuing control of western railroads and the Black Hills was yet another opportunity. To beat other UP rivals into the region, Union Pacific had its Omaha & Republican Valley subsidiary begin grading a line into the region, starting at its mainline at Kearney, Nebraska. In May 1889, after reaching Milldale, Nebraska, the 72 miles of finished railroad grade was turned over to a new subsidiary known as the Kearney & Black Hills Railway. By 1890 track was laid 66 miles to Calloway and operations began.

All of the lines of the consolidated O&RV Ry were sold to the reorganized Union Pacific Railroad in October 1898.

Regardless of the corporate ownership, and whatever the locomotives were lettered as, all of the O&RV branches were built and operated by UP, under informal or undocumented lease agreements with the owners, which were all UP officials with a few local businessmen for appearances sake. The Union Pacific corporate history completed for the ICC in 1919 showed that during the 1893-1897 Union Pacific receivership, no documentation other than basic incorporation dates was found concerning these branchlines.

Timeline

Omaha & Republican Valley Railroad

Marysville & Blue Valley Railroad

Manhattan & Blue Valley Railway

Omaha, Niobrara & Black Hills Railroad

Blue Valley Railway

Omaha & Republican Valley Railway

Maps

Map of O&RV north of Beatrice

Map of O&RV south of Beatrice

Locomotive Roster

O&RV 4-4-0 -- 6 locomotives

O&RV
Number
First
Number
Second
Number
Date To
O&RV
Builder Builder
Number
Date
Built
1885
Number
Notes
O&RV 1 UPRR 19 (1st) UPRR 13 1876 Hinkley & Williams 784 Aug 1866 O&RV 392 1
O&RV 2 UPRR 53 (1st)   1880 Norris [1205] May 1867 O&RV 390 2
O&RV 3 UPRR 83   1880 Danforth   1868 O&RV 314 3
O&RV 4 UPRR 1   1880 Danforth, Cooke   Sep 1864 O&RV 315 4
O&RV 5 UPRR 79   1880 Hinkley & Williams 853 Jun 1868 O&RV 502 5
O&RV 36 UPRR 36   1880 Hinkley & Williams 825 Jul 1867 O&RV 393 6

General Notes:

a. Individual locomotive specifications:
  O&RV
Number
As Built
Specs.
Later
Specs.
Date
Rebuilt
  O&RV 1 63-14x22 64-16x24  
  O&RV 2 63-16x24 64-16x24 Feb 1885
  O&RV 3 56-17x24 64-15x22 Oct 1881
  O&RV 4 60-14x22 64-15x22  
  O&RV 5 56-17x24 57-17x24 Jul 1882
  O&RV 36 60-16x24 64-16x24  

Notes:

1. O&RV 1 was built as UP 19 (1st) in 1866; to UPRR 13 in 1867; to Omaha & Republican Valley RR 1 in 1876; to O&RV 392 in 1885; vacated in 1897 (O&RV to UP in 1898)
2. O&RV 2 was built as UPRR 53 (1st) in 1867; wrecked at Plum Creek, Nebraska on August 7, 1867; removed from roster and replaced by UPRR 53 (2nd); UPRR 53 (1st) was stored until being rebuilt and becoming O&RV number 2 in 1880; to O&RV 390 in 1885; vacated after 1897 (O&RV to UP in 1898)
3. O&RV 3 was built as UPRR 83 in 1868; to UPRy 83 in 1880; to Omaha & Republican Valley RR 3 in 1880; to O&RV 314 in 1885; vacated after 1894 (O&RV to UP in 1898)
4. O&RV 4 was built as "Major General Sherman" in 1864; sold to UPRR contractor in December 1864; sold back to UPRR in early 1867 as UPRR 1; to Omaha & Republican Valley 4 in 1880; to O&RV 315 in 1885; vacated after 1897 (new boiler in August 1882) (O&RV to UP in 1898)
5. O&RV 5 was built as UPRR 79 in 1868; to Omaha & Republican Valley RR 5 in 1880; to O&RV 502 in 1885; vacated after 1898 (O&RV to UP in 1898)
6. O&RV 36 was built as UPRR 36 in 1867; to Omaha & Republican Valley RR 36 in 1880; to O&RV 393 in 1885; vacated in 1893
   

ON&BH 4-4-0 -- 2 locomotives

ON&BH
Number
First
Number
Date To
ON&BH
Builder Builder
Number
Date
Built
1885 ON&BH
Number
Notes
ON&BH 56 UPRR 56 (2nd) 1880 Rogers     ON&BH 337 1
ON&BH 124 UPRR 124 1880 Schenectady 527 Dec 1868 ON&BH 336 2

General Notes:

a. Individual locomotive specifications:
  ON&BH
Number
As Built
Specs.
Later
Specs.
Date
Rebuilt
  ON&BH 56 60-13x22 64-16x24  
  ON&BH 124 54-16x24 58-16x24 Nov 1879 (cylinders only)

Notes:

1. ON&BH 56 was built in about 1867; secondhand to UPRR 56 (2nd) in about 1870; to Omaha, Niobrara & Black Hills RR 56 in 1880; to O&RV 337 in 1887; vacated in 1890
2. ON&BH 124 was built as UPRR 124 in 1868; to Omaha, Niobrara & Black Hills RR 124 in 1880; new boiler in May 1883; to ON&BH 336 in 1885; to O&RV 336 in 1887; scrapped
   

M&BV 4-4-0 -- 1 locomotive

M&BV
Number
First
Number
Date To
M&BV
Builder Builder
Number
Date
Built
1887 O&RV
Number
Vacated
Date
Notes
M&BV 129 UPRR 129 1880 Taunton 450 Dec 1868 O&RV 501 Aft 1887 1

Description:

Drive Wheel Diameter: 54 inches (rebuilt to 57 inches in June 1882)
Cylinders: 16x24 inches (rebuilt to 17x24 inches in June 1882)

Notes:

1. M&BV 129 was built as UPRR 129 in 1868; to Marysville & Blue Valley RR 129 in 1880; to O&RV 501 in 1887
   

UP 1885 Numbers

O&RV 4-4-0 -- 2 locomotives

1885 O&RV
Number
First
Number
Second
Number
Date To
O&RV
Builder Builder
Number
Date
Built
Date
Vacated
Notes
O&RV 314 UPRR 83 O&RV 3 1880 Danforth   1868 Aft 1894 1
O&RV 315 UPRR 1 O&RV 4 1880 Danforth, Cooke   Sep 1864 Aft 1897 2

General Notes:

a. Individual locomotive specifications:
  1885 O&RV
Number
As Built
Specs.
Later
Specs.
Date
Rebuilt
  O&RV 314 56-17x24 64-15x22 Oct 1881
  O&RV 315 60-14x22 64-15x22  

Notes:

1. O&RV 314 was built as UPRR 83 in 1868; to UPRy 83 in 1880; to Omaha & Republican Valley RR 3 in 1880; to O&RV 314 in 1885; vacated after 1894 (O&RV to UP in 1898)
2. O&RV 315 was built as UPRR 1 in 1864, named "Major General Sherman"; sold to UPRR contractor in December 1864; sold back to UPRR in early 1867; to Omaha & Republican Valley 4 in 1880; to O&RV 315 in 1885; vacated after 1897 (new boiler in August 1882) (O&RV to UP in 1898)
   

O&RV 4-4-0 -- 2 locomotives

1885 ON&BH
Number
First
Number
Second
Number
Builder Builder
Number
Date
Built
1887 O&RV
Number
Vacated
Date
Notes
ON&BH 336 UPRR 124 ON&BH 124 Schenectady 527 Dec 1868 O&RV 336 Aft 1887 1
ON&BH 337 UPRR 56 (2nd) ON&BH 56 Rogers     O&RV 337 1890 2

General Notes:

a. Individual locomotive specifications:
  1885 ON&BH
Number
As Built
Specs.
Later
Specs.
Date
Rebuilt
  ON&BH 336 54-16x24 58-16x24 Nov 1879 (cylinders only)
  ON&BH 337 60-13x22 64-16x24  

Notes:

1. ON&BH 336 was built as UPRR 124 in 1868; to Omaha, Niobrara & Black Hills RR 124 in 1880; new boiler in May 1883; to ON&BH 336 in 1885; to O&RV 336 in 1887 (ON&BH to O&RV in 1886); scrapped
2. ON&BH 337 was built in about 1867; secondhand to UPRR 56 (2nd) in about 1870; to Omaha, Niobrara & Black Hills RR 56 in 1880; to O&RV 337 in 1887 (ON&BH to O&RV in 1886); vacated in
   

O&RV 4-4-0 -- 3 locomotives

1885 O&RV
Number
First
Number
Second
Number
O&RV
Number
Date To
O&RV
Builder Builder
Number
Date
Built
Date
Vacated
Notes
O&RV 390 UPRR 53 (1st) O&RV 2   1880 Norris [1205] May 1867 Aft 1897 1
O&RV 392 UPRR 21 (1st) UPRR 13 O&RV 1 1876 Hinkley & Williams 788 Oct 1866 1897 2
O&RV 393 UPRR 36 O&RV 36   1880 Hinkley & Williams 825 Jul 1867 Oct 1893 3

General Notes:

a. Individual locomotive specifications:
  1885 O&RV
Number
As Built
Specs.
Later
Specs.
Date
Rebuilt
  O&RV 390 63-16x24 64-16x24 Feb 1885
  O&RV 392 63-14x22 64-16x24  
  O&RV 393 60-16x24 64-16x24  

Notes:

1. OR&V 390 was built as UPRR 53 (1st); wrecked at Plum Creek, Nebraska on August 7, 1867 and rebuilt; to O&RV number 2 in 1880; to OR&V 390 in 1885; to UP in 1898; vacated after 1897
2. O&RV 392 was built as UPRR 21 (1st) in 1866; to UP 13 in 1867; to Omaha & Republican Valley RR 1 in 1876; to O&RV 392 in 1885; vacated in 1897 (O&RV to UP in 1898)
3. O&RV 393 was built as UPRR 36 in 1867; to Omaha & Republican Valley RR 36 in 1880; to O&RV 393 in 1885; vacated in 1893
   

M&BV 4-4-0 -- 1 locomotive

1885 M&BV
Number
First
Number
Second
Number
Date To
M&BV
Builder Builder
Number
Date
Built
1887 O&RV
Number
Vacated
Date
Notes
M&BV 501 UPRR 129 M&BV 129 1880 Taunton 450 Dec 1868 O&RV 501 Aft 1887 1

Description:

Drive Wheel Diameter: 57 inches (rebuilt from 54 inches in June 1882)
Cylinders: 17x24 inches (rebuilt from 16x24 inches in June 1882)

Notes:

1. M&BV 501 was built as UPRR 129 in 1868; to Marysville & Blue Valley RR 129 in 1880; to M&BV 501 in 1885; to O&RV 501 in 1887 (M&BV to O&RV in 1887; O&RV to UP in 1898)
   

O&RV 4-4-0 -- 1 locomotive

1885 O&RV
Number
First
Number
Second
Number
Date To
O&RV
Builder Builder
Number
Date
Built
Date
Vacated
Notes
O&RV 502 UPRR 79 O&RV 5 1880 Hinkley & Williams 853 Jun 1868 Aft 1898 1

Description:

Drive Wheel Diameter: 57 inches (rebuilt from 56 inches in July 1882)
Cylinders: 17x24 inches

Notes:

1. O&RV 502 was built as UPRR 79 in 1868; to Omaha & Republican Valley RR 5 in 1880; to O&RV 502 in 1885; vacated after 1898 (O&RV to UP in 1898)
   

UP Ry 4-4-0 -- 1 locomotive

UP 1885
Number
1885 Operating
Division
Builder Builder
Number
Date
Built
1898 UP
Number
Vacated
Date
Notes
UPRy 631 (1st) O&RV Schenectady 2793 Mar 1889 UP 631 Sep 1901 1

Description:

Drive Wheel Diameter: 63 inches
Cylinders: 18x26 inches

Notes:

1. UPRy 631 (1st) was built in 1889; assigned to Omaha & Republican Valley Division; renumbered to UP 631 in 1898; vacated in 1901; sold to F. M. Hicks Locomotive and Car Company, Chicago, Illinois
   

UP Ry 4-4-0 -- 10 locomotives

UP 1885
Number
1885 Operating
Division
Builder Builder
Number
Date
Built
1898 UP
Number
1913 UP
Number
1915 UP
Number
Vacated
Date
Notes
UPRy 736 O&RV Baldwin 8394 Feb 1887 UP 736     1902 1
UPRy 737 O&RV Baldwin 8395 Feb 1887 UP 737     Aug 1904 2
UPRy 738 O&RV Baldwin 8399 Feb 1887 UP 738     Jan 1901 3
UPRy 739 O&RV Baldwin 8405 Feb 1887 UP 739     1901 4
UPRy 740 O&RV Baldwin 8406 Feb 1887 UP 740     Nov 1904 5
UPRy 741 O&RV Baldwin 8401 Feb 1887 UP 741 UP 691 UP 922   6
UPRy 742 O&RV Baldwin 8402 Feb 1887 UP 742     Aug 1904 7
UPRy 743 O&RV Baldwin 8403 Feb 1887 UP 743 UP 692 UP 923   8
UPRy 744 O&RV Baldwin 8404 Feb 1887 UP 744     May 1902 9
UPRy 745 O&RV Baldwin 8408 Mar 1887 UP 745 UP 693 (2nd) UP 924   10

Description:

Drive Wheel Diameter: 62 inches
Cylinders: 18x26 inches

General Notes:

a. UPRy 736-744 are shown on Baldwin builder records as being built in 1887 for Utah & Northern Railway, a UP subsidiary that converted a portion of its line in Idaho and Montana from three-feet narrow gauge to standard gauge in July 1887; these locomotives were apparently not included with other U&N locomotives in the merger that formed the OSL&UN in 1889, and were assigned to UP's O&RV Division in eastern Nebraska (O&RV Ry to UP in 1898).

Notes:

1. UPRy 736 was vacated in 1902; scrapped
2. UPRy 737 was vacated in 1904; sold to Southern Pacific, numbered as SP 246; renumbered to SP 216 in 1913; purchased by Steamtown in 1957; donated by Steamtown in August 1995 to the Nevada State Railroad Museum at Boulder City, Nevada; to Double T Agricultural Museum in Stevenson, California
3. UPRy 738 was vacated in 1901; sold to F. M. Hicks Locomotive and Car Company, Chicago, Illinois
4. UPRy 739 was vacated in 1901; sold to F. M. Hicks Locomotive and Car Company, Chicago, Illinois
5. UPRy 740 was vacated in 1904; sold to SP 1476 in 1904
6. UPRy 741 was renumbered to UP 691 (2nd) in 1913; renumbered to UP 922 in 1915; vacated in 1921
7. UPRy 742 was vacated in 1904; sold to SP 1469 in 1904
8. UPRy 743 was renumbered to UP 692 (2nd) in 1913; renumbered to UP 923 in 1915; vacated in 1924
9. UPRy 744 was vacated in 1902; sold to F. M. Hicks Locomotive and Car Company, Chicago, Illinois
10. UPRy 745 was renumbered to UP 693 (2nd) in 1913; renumbered to UP 924 in 1915; vacated in 1921
   

O&RV 4-6-0 -- 1 locomotive

UP 1890
Number
Builder Builder
Number
Date
Built
As Built
Specs.
UP 1898
Number
1915
Number
Notes
UPRy 1816 New York 605 Jun 1890 62-20x24 UP 1816 UP 1316 1

General Notes:

a. UPRy 1816 was built in 1890; assigned to O&RV Division in 1894 (O&RV Ry to UP in 1898)

Notes:

1. UPRy 1816 was renumbered to UP 1816 in 1898; renumbered to UP 1316 in 1915; vacated in 1923

Sources

Ehernberger, James L. and Francis G. Gschwind. Union Pacific Steam, Eastern District (E&G Publications, 1975)

Ehernberger, James L. Union Pacific Equipment List & Renumbering, June 1, 1885, Including Subsidiary Lines

Union Pacific Railroad Company. Corporate History of Union Pacific Railroad Company, As of June 30th, 1919

Union Pacific Railroad. Eastern District Condensed Profile

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