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The original main line of the Pacific Railroad of Missouri ran from St. Louis to Kansas City, Missouri, with a branch to Springfield. The intention, of course, was that it would become part of the first transcontinental railroad, but unfortunately the MoPac was beaten to this by the Union Pacific, as was the Frisco (St. Louis & San Francisco) -- formed when the Springfield branch split off and became a separate company, following a bankrupsy settlement in which the St. Louis to Kansas City line was renamed the Missouri Pacific Railroad.

Construction began on 1 July 1851 and the first section of the line to open was between St. Louis and Kirkwood (named after the company's engineer, James Kirkwood) in 1853. This was the first stretch of railroad laid west of the Mississippi River.

By late 1855 the 125 miles to the State Capital of Jefferson City were complete, and the first train for Jeff City set off from St. Louis on 1 November 1855. It never made it to its destination. The bridge over the Gasconade River collapsed and the train plunged into the river. Over thirty people were killed. Completion of the line was delayed not only by this tragic event, but also by the American Civil War, so that it was 1865 before the line was open all the way to Kansas City.

The line was initially built to the 5 ft. 6 in. broad gauge, but was converted to 4 ft. 8 in. gauge in 1869, so as to have access to the east coast when the Eads Bridge over the Mississippi was completed in 1874.

The line became part of the Union Pacific Railroad in 1982.

The Missouri Pacific's first locomotive was the "Pacific" built the Taunton Locomotive Works of Taunton, Massachusetts (No. 102), was shipped to St. Louis on 31 May 1852.
Builder's photograph of Missouri Pacific ten-wheeler No. 767, built by the Cooke Locomotive Company of Paterson, New Jersey in 1899
The Original Union Station in St. Louis before the conversion from Broad Gauge in 1869.
The Pacific Railroad of Missouri's first locomotive, "Pacific" was probably similar to the Taunton Locomotive Works's "Champlain" 4-4-0 of 1849.
1860 Advertisement for the Missouri Pacific, at that time extending to Jefferson City. Image Courtesy of the Missouri State Archives.
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