Originally founded in 1888 as the River Branch of the Missouri Pacific Railroad, the main line of the Missouri Pacific Railroad ran from Booneville, Missouri (Cooper County) to Lexington, Missouri (Lafayette County) where it joined with an existing railroad (the Wyandotte, Kansas City, and Northern Railroad) and on to Kansas City. However, the main line bypassed the city of Marshall (county seat of Saline County) to the east and the north, while the Chicago and Alton Railroad (now Kansas City Southern Railways) was building through Marshall in 1878. However, not wishing to miss out on a connection to Marshall and the agricultural goods shipped from there, the Marshall Industrial Lead branch was built westward into Marshall.
After 120 years of service, in June of 2008, the Union Pacific filed notice to abandon the Marshall Industrial Lead. Abandonment was granted, and the rails removed by November of 2009.