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The Original Union Pacific Main Line through Papillion

Approximately thirty feet south of here in 1865 the Union Pacific Railroad laid its original
track extending from the Missouri River in Omaha, south up Mud Creek to Papillion Creek,
and northwesterly along West Papillion Creek. Although Chief Engineer Peter A. Dey had
proposed a more direct route to reach the Elkhorn Valley, Union Pacific Vice President Dr.
Thomas Durant and consulting engineer Silas Seymour instead selected the Papillion Creek
alternative, adding nine miles to the line. Durant was accused of making the change to
obtain additional government subsidies, but he defended the Papillion route as having
gentler grades than the Dey route.

When E. H. Harriman gained control of the Union Pacific in 1897 he began modernization,
including construction of the Lane Cut-off following Dey's original route. The cut-off opened
in 1908, relegating the Durant line to a secondary role. Between 1988 and 1994, 7.3 miles of
track on the original Durant line between Gilmore and Millard were removed. Rail customers
in Millard are served from the west end of the original main line at Lane Junction in west

Papillion Area Historical Society
Nebraska State Historical Society, 2012

222 N Jefferson, Papillion (Sump Library)
Sarpy County
Marker 499


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Last updated 3 December 2012

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