The Minneapolis Eastern Railroad was incorporated on June 17, 1878 to put in a line between the mills and the Mississippi River. This was a joint venture between the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway and the Chicago, Saint Paul, Minneapolis, and Omaha Railway. The rail line connected near the present day Warehouse District and ran in a narrow band between the Minneapolis & Saint Louis and the Great Northern tracks coming off of the Stone Arch Bridge. From there, the tracks were on an elevated trestle that runs over top of the present day Mill Ruins Park. This bridge was the only way to get the rail cars to the mill, and it was an innovative solution. The result is that any railroad could service the mills by interchanging their rail cars onto either of the two controlling railroads.
The Minneapolis Eastern was not a very large railroad despite the critical role it played in the milling district. As of 1919, it had 1.399 miles of first main line, 0.215 miles of second main line, and 2.137 miles of yard track and sidings. It owned 2 steam switching locomotives. The trestle section in front of the mills was about 1,000 feet long. The trestle was rebuilt in 1890.
The milling industry went into decline in Minneapolis as water power become less critical. The water power system was converted to generate electricity. I haven't determined when the Minneapolis Eastern stopped operations, but I do know that the southern have of the trestle was torn down in 1941, and the northern half was removed in 1962 to make way for the lock and dam project. The area was backfilled to cover up the water power canal and mill tailraces. The trestle legs were simply cut off at ground level, where ever that happened to be after the backfill was hauled in. The ruins were rediscovered when Mill Ruins Park was developed.
The photo above is an overview shot of Mill Ruins Park. The Minneapolis Eastern Trestle spanned this area lengthwise, with the eastern bridge abutment in the foreground and the western bridge abutment being on the stonework next to the Stone Arch Bridge.