The north St. Louis industrial district along the riverfront was at first dependent upon steamboats for transportation service. In 1855, the North Missouri Railroad was placed in operation from a depot at Second and North Market Streets. Its line ran north on Second toward Baden and thence through Ferguson to St. Charles. After the Civil War it reached Kansas City and, in a change of management, it assumed the name of St. Louis, Kansas City and Northern in 1872. Later, it was the Wabash and is now a part of the Norfolk and Western system.
Another railroad running through the Bremen area was the St. Louis, Keokuk and Northwestern, which made its appearance in 1884. It is now in the Burlington Northern Railroad system.
Merchants Bridge was built by the Terminal Railroad Association at the foot of Ferry Street in 1889-90 to provide additional rail access to the East. Connecting lines along the riverfront and the Bremen Avenue yards were established in conjunction with the bridge.
An important part in the industrial development of the Bremen-Hyde Park area was played by the Illinois Traction System. To bring its tracks into St. Louis, it constructed the McKinley Bridge in 1910. It was named for William B. McKinley, president of the system. The bridge furnished local access for its network of freight and passenger electric interurban lines in Illinois.
This railway, now known as the Illinois TerminaI Railroad, presently is a dieselized freight line operation. McKinley Bridge, which formerly carried local street cars to Granite City as well as interurban trains, now is used for highway traffic and railroad freight trains.