This abandoned railway started out as the East Saint Louis, Columbia and Waterloo Railroad, called the Waterloo Railroad by locals, and was built starting in 1906 as an interurban line that connected its namesake towns. Despite its charter date, service along the line did not begin for another 6 years. Some of the line ran on tracks of the Mississippi and Ohio Railroad, which provided freight service to lineside customers. Freight service was stimulated by the founding of oil along the line in 1920.
As people started looking to cars and buses for their transportation needs, along with the building of state route 3, passenger service along the line discontinued in 1932, replaced with bus service along the same route. However, the M&O continued operating freight service along the line until 1937.