The Missouri-Pacific railroad was by far the greatest influence on Eagle’s early life.  The location of the town was determined by the path the railroad took.  The prosperity of the town depended upon the goods brought in and shipped out by rail.  In a “dull month” in 1890 the village shipped:

  • 16 cars of hogs
  • 2 cars of wheat
  • 3 cars of corn
  • 3 cars of cattle
  • 3 cars of barley

Receipts this month were $1,030.76 including $381 for tickets.  Even the earliest of these was the one between Amos Benson Headley and Anna Umland.

Ben was the first engineer to operate trains on the line through Eagle and, of course, for some time everyone had to stop and watch the train go by.  Apparently, one spectator in particular caught Ben’s eye.  Eventually, he started throwing her a note as he went through town, this was possible because Anna would always be sure to be milking a cow in the pasture by the railroad tracks whenever the train went through.  Eventually, they dated and finally married in 1888, then moved to the Indian territories of Oklahoma or Texas.

The railroad was completed in August of 1886 with the successful completion of the first test run.  Regularly scheduled runs started September 21st of 1886 with E.O. Wait as depot agent.

By the depot records of Q.P. Brown, agent, in 1890 we can see that Eagle kept the railroad quite busy.



11:02 a.m.

St. Louis Express


10:05 p.m.

Kansas City


8:02 p.m.




5:28 a.m.

Kansas City


4:10 p.m.

St. Louis


5:50 a.m.


People of the area used the passenger trains quite extensively because they were both affordable and the fastest method of travel over long distances.  For example a round trip ticket to Governor Boyd’s inauguration was $.70.

The best way to get to Plattsmouth was to take the 11:18 train to Union then catch the accommodation train to Plattsmouth.  You would arrive around 4:00.

In the spring of 1901, Lincoln residents found the railroad to Eagle to be the best way to quench their thirst.  Lincoln prohibited the sale of liquor for a time and many people who missed the drink would ride the morning train out to Eagle and the evening train back to Lincoln.

With improvement in the road system and the appearance of large freight and grain trucks, the railroad eventually became less attractive to the shipper and traveler.

Today, there is no passenger or freight trains that run through town. The old tracks are now the MOPAC trail. The family auto and semi-trucks have replaced the iron horse of years past.  We will miss the strength and vitality those great trains represented.