The Cotton Belt, with four other railroads, namely the Missouri Pacific, Chicago & Eastern Illinois, the Iron Mountain, and Illinois Central, completed on April 18, 1905, and opened for traffic a double track bridge at Thebes, Illinois, across the Mississippi River, and forever eliminated the troublesome transfer service maintained by the Cotton Belt at Gray's Point, Missouri. A new company was organized to operate this bridge, called the Southern Illinois and Missouri Bridge Company, of which each of the roads mentioned originally owned one fifth of the capital stock. The bridge company was owned jointly by the Cotton Belt (40%) and Missouri Pacific (60%) in 1957.
The bridge considered an engineering marvel in its time, was designed by Ralph Modjeski. The Conductor of the first train over the bridge was W.G. Conyers.
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