A Trip on the Current River Branch

Discussion in 'Willow Springs Subdivision' started by frisco4301, Sep 12, 2007.

  1. frisco4301

    frisco4301 Member

    The following shots were taken on a trip made either March 28, 1961 as the train bulletin board is marked or April 1, 1961 as the slides are marked, on the Current River Branch from Willow Springs, MO to Winona, MO. I did not have all the slides scanned as some are only fair at best. Some of the locations out on the road were not marked so your guess is as good as mine. Obviously, the first shot is of the Willow Springs depot with a shot of the train arrival/departure board on the morning of departure, freshly painted RS-1 109, unknown location on the road, and eastbound past the Birch Tree depot. I will post two additional groupings of 5 shots each. Jeff Cooney, Lindsay, TX

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  2. frisco4301

    frisco4301 Member

    Next set of 5. The first and second shots of SLSF caboose 32, the 3rd shot of the road ahead, and the 4th and 5th shots are of the crew setting out a car at Mountain View, MO. There actually were several shots taken of the car setout in the slide series. It appeared the crew used a cable tied off to the locomotive to pull the car in to position. Jeff Cooney, Lindsay, TX

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  3. frisco4301

    frisco4301 Member

    These are the last grouping of shots. The first shot is the depot at Winona, MO, end of the line for todays trip. It appears I mis-counted and included the caboose shot twice. Sorry about that. The 4th shot is re-entering the main line at Willow Springs and the last shot is of the crew about to tie up at the depot. Hope you enjoyed the trip. Jeff Cooney, Lindsay, TX

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  4. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Frisco.org Supporter

    Great stuff! Thanks for posting.

    That's only the second Frisco, caboose that I've seen with its number on the cupola.

    Do you know why the train was operated as an extra on the day that you rode?

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    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 12, 2007
  5. frisco4301

    frisco4301 Member

    I don't know and wondered the same thing. I need to clarify, I was not on the trip as I was yet to make a full year of age. The slides are credited to John Sillick (deceased) who with a few other folks from Springfield, made the trip.
  6. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Nice pics Jeff. Thanks for posting them. Good looking RS-1 and cab that day. I like the C&O box as well!

  7. frisco4301

    frisco4301 Member

    I do have a correction on the date of this trip. I had forgotten that I have the trainorders which show the date as April 1, 1961. A form 19 order was issued: To C. & E. Trains to Current River Branch, At Willow Springs...Eng 109 run Extra Willlow Springs to Winona and return to Willow Springs has right over all trains and will not require a Clearance at Winona JWC. Order shown "Complete at 7:45 AM. Jeff
  8. RogerRT

    RogerRT Staff Member Staff Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Boy, photos like that make it all worthwhile. The Winona Branch (along with the Pokey) was a favorite haunt of mine being about an hour's drive north of Thayer on HWY 19. I started making making trips up that way in 1981 after I got my 1st car, unfortunately back then even gas and film money only went so far and I wished I'd taken more photos.

    On photo #12 if I was to make a bet it would be this was taken at MP 331.0 just west of Winona looking west (I am assuming this was taken on the eastbound run to Winona) . The white sign on the telephone pole denotes a milepost number and there were only 2 locations between Willow Springs & Winona where a dirt road paralleled the tracks and made a left hand curve. One was my choice, the other was just west of Bartlett. The one at Bartlett had a other road branch to north just inside the curve and I don't see that in the photo. Maybe Karl can determine if there was a bridge at MP 331.0 for confirmation. My photo #1 shows the possible location on visit I made to the area on 5-28-2006, Farmer John cleared off the old ROW for some reason, looks almost like it did when the BN torn the tracks out in June 1984.

    On photo #24, this was taken at Winona. The 109 is running around the train on the south track, my photo # 2 taken on 4-28-1982 is about the best I can duplicate the scene.

    On photo #14 there is just not enough there to work with. The 1st thought I had was west of Trask but I can't be for sure.

    For thrills & chills here are a couple of photos taken at Winona. #3 was taken on 9-6-81 on the bluff along old HWY 60 looking NW and #4 & 5 taken on 3-12-81 are at the end of the line west of the HWY 19 crossing looking east.

    To bad you caught the train on a day it didn't go all the way to Chicopee but that is wishful thinking. Thanks for posting.


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  9. timothy_cannon

    timothy_cannon Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Great stuff !!!!!! Thanks for posting!
  10. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    Priceless, Jeff. Chalk me up as another very grateful for a visual documentary of a day in the life of the Current River Branch. And, Roger's insight and knowledge of the region is a superb supplement to the photos.

    Yet another very good modeling subject for those who are looking for a Frisco prototype that requires neither excessive real estate, daunting locomotive fleets nor breaking the bank.
  11. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Frisco.org Supporter

    And with the recent release of the very nicely done HO Atlas Frisco RS-1, the perfect locomotive is available for a layout based on this branch line.

    Ken |-|
  12. billyboy_1

    billyboy_1 Member

    Jeff, Thanks so much for this posting. After all these years of wondering what that strech of line looked like in action, now i know. Would have loved to ride all the way to Puxico!
  13. PAC MAN

    PAC MAN Member

    Wow! Haven't been on the site for a while but what a reward for coming back. Priceless to say the least. Growing up in the area in the 70's and 80's, I took every opportunity to go see the trains on this branch. I even had the luck one day to catch a train in Mountain View switching out boxcars behind the MFA. The MFA guys working must have gotten sick of me running into the unloading area and between the feed bins and into whatever boxcar was sitting there (on every trip I assure you). This day I felt the building shake and without hesitation, I ran between the buildings where I almost t-boned a gondola car. The conductor (or brakeman) talked with me a while and asked if I wanted a ride. Must have said yes because I climbed up the steps of the GP and into the cab. We took off down the track and toward the crossing that was being flagged and stopped shortly near the old depot location so the crew could go over to a cafe and get a bite to eat before going on to Willow. I remember being so excited from what just happened that I could barely get my legs to carry me down the side of the engine much less back to MFA where it then came to me that my Grandpa may be wondering where I went to. It was quite an experience for an 8 year old to take in! Thanks forever to that crew whoever they were and I hope you are reading this or will sometime. Thanks for sharing the pictures. They brought back the memories for sure.
  14. ashnme

    ashnme locoengr

    This is my frist post on the site. I started with the Frisco in 1962 out of Thayer and transfered to Springfield the same year. The car being spoted with the use of a cable is a result of a failed running drop. In the slide with the brakeman on top of the car he is running to get the hand brake to slow and then stop the car. Dropping cars was done when there was no switch on both ends of a track. If the car was not going fast enough after the car was cut off it stoped or fouled the switch. The crew could not get back into the track and we used a cable or chain that was on the engs to pull the car past the switch. Nice pictures, and they bring back memories of working on the Current River Branch.
  15. PAC MAN

    PAC MAN Member

    Got a chance to check out the old line this weekend. Did I ever find the nooks and crannies. On the way back from Poplar Bluff we made a stop at downtown Van Buren. The Chinese Wall was still visible along with the old right of way underneath where the old steel highway bridge was (now removed and replaced with a new span to the south). Afterwards we took a drive down to Big Spring south of Van Buren. I had been here before once and left confused as to where the right of way was located. There was no mystery this time. We spotted the old cement pillars in the river that once carried the line across the Current and into Short Station just south and across from the spring. From there I realized where the old line used to run north toward Chicopee. I took several photo's of the area (to be posted soon). There are still 2 pillars standing side by side at the edge of the west bank and in the water. There are remnants of a wooden trestle bent between the pillars and the bank. There is quite an open area from there west to the original west berm where you will find whats left of two trestle bents (cut off of course). Out in the middle of the river there are two more cement pillars side by side. The north pillar is quite eroded on the north side due to water and debris impacts. On farther east on the east bank we could see one more cement pillar laying on it's side (what was part of the 3rd set of cement pillars going eastbound). After that we walked the right of way along and west of the campground where an old landing strip used to be located. Looking at the map later we walked nearly halfway to Chicopee on the old line. What a scenic line this must have been with the river to the east and a huge bank rising skyward on the west side. After seeing all that could be seen there (including some old ties dumped to the side from a wreck or a fire since one had been charred) we drove to Fremont. The old right of way is hard to locate in town here. Taking a shot in the dark I went north out of town to the end of blacktop and found several remnants of stacked tiles and other items. Checking the map later I learned that we were in the area of Midco. There is apparently an old smelter smoke stack just north of where we were but I didn't see it from our vantage point. The right of way was hard to see but I know there used to be a lot of railroad activity here. Heading back to Fremont we left the main road and went west on a county road where you can still see the steep grade up and west out of Fremont (where the runaway rail train incident happened per Trains and Travel Magazine). Next was Low Wassie (where do they get these names)? The grades east of town led to an area where a larger trestle had to bridge a pretty good water gap. Same to the west of town where remnants of old trestle bents and some bridge hardware could be seen. Then it was on to Birch Tree before the daylight candle burned out. Several photos were taken of the old depot and Frisco caboose. Quite an interesting trip. I just wish I had been around in the day when my wife's grandpa made the trip east from Willow Springs on the old Tri Daily. And wouldn't it be great if we could find someone who had a picture of the old bridge at Big Spring. Surely if there are pictures of Short Station floating around there might be pictures of an old passenger or freight train rolling over the bridge. Time will tell....
  16. PAC MAN

    PAC MAN Member

    IMAG0483-1.jpg IMAG0486-1.jpg IMAG0487-1.jpg
    Pic 7 Siding used for storing cars inbound or outbound on the Current River Line. Willow Springs.
    Pic 8 Some old soldiers on a now removed (or buried) siding in Willow.
    Pic 9 Willow Springs north siding when it used to cross Pine Grove Rd before rejoining the main line.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 2, 2013
  17. PAC MAN

    PAC MAN Member

    IMAG0490-1.jpg IMAG0485-1.jpg IMAG0484-1.jpg
    Pic 4 Same location as P1 only the year before.
    Pic 5 The new tenant has arrived.
    Pic 6 Loaded bulkhead flat on the Mountain View depot siding. Last car that I saw on the line...ever!
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 2, 2013
  18. PAC MAN

    PAC MAN Member

    IMAG0491-1.jpg IMAG0482-2.jpg IMAG0492-1.jpg
    Pic 1 Rails recently removed between Trask and Mountain View looking west toward bridge in P3.
    Pic 2 Willow Springs Yard back in the early BN days. Siding used for storing cars.
    Pic 3 Bridge east of Trask with rails recently removed. Looking east toward P1 location.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 3, 2013
  19. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    Great pictures. My grandparents lived in Winona for 7 years during the 70s and I spent countless weekends in that area. Beautiful scenery and fond memories. Thanks for posting.
  20. PAC MAN

    PAC MAN Member

    Wish I had more of the old line. Just the visions in my head of the old Tri-Daily rambling down the tracks in various locations. I remember on more than one occasion catching a Frisco gp7 walking cars along various parts of the line wondering where it was going. The end of the world for me was Mountain View at the time. I only heard from the grandparents of exotic train locations such as Birch Tree and Winona "Where they had a wye for turnin around." Sure do miss running the 300 yard dash from my uncle's house to the crossing trying to catch a glimpse and a wave before it got by. I still catch myself watching the old roadbed every day on the way home as if I am going to suddenly catch a Soo Line car or a mandarin gp7 drifting down towards Willow. Ahh the good ole days!

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