The Burlington & Missouri River Railroad was actually two different railroad companies at overlapping times in the history of the CB&Q.
The first was the Burlington & Missouri River Rail Road Company, referred to as the BM&R (Iowa) and the second was the Burlington & Missouri River Rail Road in Nebraska, referred to as the BM&R.
The BM&R (Iowa) was the successor to the Burlington & Mount Pleasant Plank Road Company. It had its original beginnings back in 1838 as a dirt highway which had been constructed over a long established Indian trail. In 1848 an all weather road was needed and the Burlington & Mount Pleasant Plank Road Company was formed. By December of 1851 the 28 mile plank roadway was completed and travel was established between Mount Pleasant and Burlington Iowa.
The BM&R (Iowa) was chartered on January 15, 1852 by Burlington Iowa businessmen.
In February of 1853, with the help of James F. Joy and John W. Brooks of the CB&Q, the BM&R (Iowa) received the financial backing of Boston investors, led by John Murray Forbes to build the railroad.
By September 1, 1859 Ottumwa had been reached and would remain the end of the line until after the end of the Civil War. Resumption of construction began in July of 1865. Chariton was reached on July 1, 1867; Osceola January 1868; Red Oak November 1869. Construction had also begun opposite of Plattsmouth Nebraska on the Iowa side of the Missouri River, to build eastwards to complete the line quicker and Hastings was the site of the last spike to be driven to complete the line on November 26. 1869.
Regular train service from East Plattsmouth to Burlington Iowa commenced on January 1, 1870, and two days latter was extended to Council Bluffs via a connection with the St Joseph & Council Bluffs Railroad Company at Pacific Junction Iowa.
The Burlington & Missouri River Rail Road in Nebraska, referred to as the BM&R was chartered on May 12, 1869. This, two days after the Golden Spike ceremony between the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific railroads.
The B&MR was to build from Plattsmouth to a connection with the Union Pacific at Kearney Nebraska.
Actual construction of the line began on July 4, 1869 at Plattsmouth. Ashland was reached on May 9, 1870; Greenwood June 25, 1870; Newton (Havelock) July 6, 1870. Lincoln was finally reached on July 26, 1870 and the line declared completed to this point. Official celebrations weren’t held until the 9th and 10th of August. The construction of the depot was started on the 22nd of July and was completed by late November.
In April of 1871, construction resumed three miles west of Lincoln. Ft Kearney was finally reached on September 3, 1872.