St. Joseph and Grand Island Railway

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The St. Joseph and Grand Island Railroad (SJ&GI) had its start with the St Joseph and Denver City Railroad which, after several changes of destination, was completed as the St Joseph and Western (SJ&W), between St Joseph and Hastings, Nebraska in 1872.

Seven years later the Hastings and Grand Island Railroad was built between its namesake cities, and promptly sold to the SJ&W, giving that road a connection to the Union Pacific Railroad at Grand Island.

The SJ&W ran into financial difficulties, eventually falling into bankruptcy in 1884. The Union Pacific brought the railroad out of bankruptcy in 1885, reorganizing it as St Joseph and Grand Island Railroad.

The SJ&GI became an essential part of the UP's system, providing a connection from the transcontinental mainline to the eastern Kansas area, and the UP undertook several steps to improve it. In 1914 a connection was made between the UP mainline at Gibbon and Hastings, providing a more direct route than thru Grand Island. Also, a connection was made between Marysville KS on the SJ&GI and Topeka in 1906, from whence the UP's Kansas Pacific mainline gave access to Kansas City.

Today the portion of the SJ&GI between Hastings and Marysville remains a core part of the UP mainline, seeing dozens of trains per day. The SJ&GI exists east of Marysville as far as Hiawatha KS, altho it is little used, and a short stub exists at Grand Island, to serve a nearby power plant.