Clinton Sub in N scale 1970's

Discussion in 'Divisions' started by trainsignguy, Apr 16, 2009.

  1. trainsignguy

    trainsignguy Member Supporter

    My name is Dale Rush and I am the owner of Blair Line LLC a model railroad mfg. company located in Carthage, MO. We manufacture three depot kits that are based on Frisco depots in HO and N scale. We also make a laser cut Frisco billboard kit in HO and N.

    My railroading interest came from my grandfather who worked for the Frisco in Clinton, MO retiring in 1965, hence the name Blair Line for my company. My grandparent’s house in Blairstown overlooked the Frisco tracks and depot. Unfortunately I do not remember the depot as I was only 3 or 4 years old when it was demolished. But I did get to spend many summer days with my grandparents and my grandpa always took me down to the tracks to watch the daily train pass. On rare days when it stopped to set out or pick up a car or two he always knew and conversed with the switch crew.

    I am beginning work on a 14’ X 16’ N scale layout and I have attached a pdf copy of the plan. I was able to duplicate the yard at Clinton and the tracks at Blairstown faithfully. I also have a fairly accurate track layout for Bolivar, Osceola, Harrisonville and Richards Gebaur AFB. Scenic highlight will be the three span through truss Osage River bridge and power dam at Osceola. I will also be duplicating the large coal mine and strip pits at Harvey. 19th Street Yard in KC and Springfield Yard will basically be open, sceniced staging yards. I may at Rick McClellan's suggestion make 19th Street Yard more a part of the operations.

    I wouldn't be a model railroader if I didn't wish for more space. I really would like to have more distance between the towns and would like to model at least one of the large wooden trestles on the south end of the line near Wishart, MO. I feel the towns on this design are too close together, but that is a compromise I am willing to live with so I may model all the towns shown. I had to eliminate Belton and Weableau from my original design. I couldn't stand to eliminate any more towns from this plan. I really enjoy switching and operations more than just running trains in circles. I hope being in N scale does not hinder operations too much. As I get older and my eyesight gets worse I really wonder about the wisdom of choosing N scale.

    This layout should be fun to operate with many switching opportunities. I will use a little modeler’s license and run a couple of coal trains from the MKT connection in Clinton to KC and from Harvey to Springfield I will add an occasional KC to Springfield grain train and possilby add a through train each way from KC to Springfield along with the locals.

    I was blown away when I saw the articles and photos about the Clinton Sub in Model Railroad Planning 2008 and in Classic Trains. I never thought I would see anything about this obscure branch line in print. Paul Dolkos did a really great job with both of those articles. Those articles have really renewed my enthusiasm for the hobby and served to get me moving on this new layout.

    I also learned that an article about my wife’s hometown of Harrisonville, MO was published in the July 1979 issue of Model Railroader. I was able to obtain a copy of this magazine about a year ago and immediately redesigned the Harrisonville area of my new layout to fit the prototype. I was able to duplicate the siding from the article very closely. I had to make a few changes to fit the available space, mainly moving the passing siding and changing the direction of the switch from the mainline to the siding as described.

    I must also thank Karl Brand for posting on this website, industry schematics for all the towns on the Clinton Sub. Karl created a bunch of work for me! It took several months to redesign my layout plan after he posted all that great information. But now I have a much more prototypical track plan that will be more fun to operate.

    Any comments, criticisms, photos or information about the Clinton Sub would be much appreciated.

    Dale Rush
    Blair Line LLC
    Carthage, MO

    Attached Files:

  2. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    Can't wait to see progress.
  3. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member Staff Member Supporter

    Are you in luck- Atlas offered their N scale VO1000 in the Frisco black & yellow scheme. Since Baldwin diesels were often used on the Clinton Sub, if you could find one, you'd be halfway there!(well, that is, if you wanted to backdate to the 1960s.....).

    As it is, a couple of GP7s or the Atlas GP38s and -2s (offered in Frisco) could plausibly be used.
  4. trainsignguy

    trainsignguy Member Supporter

    I plan on running a fleet of GP7s in black/yellow with a few in red/white. Still waiting on someone to make a GP7 in black and yellow in N scale. I have an old Arnold GP9 that I painted. It doesn't look to bad, but you can sure hear the gears grinding when it runs. The GP7's are the only engines I remember seeing on this line in the 70's at Blairstown. Mostly in black and yellow. I really had no desire to backdate my layout but the article in Classic Trains may have just changed my mind. Might be fun to operate a mixed local and those VO1000's in black and yellow look good.

    Dale Rush
  5. Rick McClellan

    Rick McClellan 2009 Engineer of the Year


    One of the things I really like about your design is that you included the 19th St Yard as your end point on the north end. My understanding is that the trains that ran on the Clinton Sub from the north originated at 19th St.

    I tried to read the West Bottoms industries but they pixeled out. Would you list the industries that you have in the WB?

    Frontier Bag. Wow, I did a physical inventory there about 1980 when I was in public accounting. I believe it is still there.

    Great design.

    Frisco Faster Freight.

  6. John Markl

    John Markl Member

    Grinding gears is good !! :p Just ask any Hobbytown fan.....

    I chuckle when I think of how the model manufacturers spent 20 years making our model locomotives "quiet".

    So, now we all rush out to install "sound" :rolleyes:
  7. trainsignguy

    trainsignguy Member Supporter


    It was my understanding too that the Clinton Sub trains originated at 19th St. And it really worked out nicely in my layout plan to have the yard in the West Bottoms. My original design concept was to freelance based on the High Line. So much information has become available lately that I have decided to go ahead and try to model the line as it was in the 1970's using a little modelers license and adding to the operations.

    The West Bottoms portion of my design is pure fantasy, both track layout and industries. I have always been fascinated with the West Bottoms and wanted the challenge of building some urban railroading with street running. I think the track layout in this area is just complicated enough to be interesting but no so complicated to be a switching puzzle for every movement.

    The names you see on my West Bottoms structures are kit names and stock numbers as a note to myself serving as a reminder of the buildings I designed the spaces for. I will use kits and kitbashed buildings at first. I may later try scratchbuilding a few of the real structures later. I am hoping to correct the fictional names with some real names as more information becomes available. This will be the last portion of the layout that I build. I have absolutely nothing on Frisco's Kansas City customers but that will be changing soon :)

    Frontier Bag was still in operation last time I was in KC. Pretty sure they are the only reason the KCS still serves the last remnants of the High Line in Grandview. Frontier always has several covered hoppers spotted there. Plastic pellets I assume?

    What is "The Hill" or the Fairgrounds Branch. I thought I knew KC really well and that is new one to me.

    Dale Rush
  8. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    How much are the HO frisco depots?
  9. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member Staff Member Supporter

    Wow, I just looked at your trackplan, and I'm not so sure a single VO would hack it. However, the idea of, say, getting a VO1000, several 40-foot boxcars & flats, and a wood caboose for a mixed train would be fun once in a while- I have the same idea for my layout, if nothing more than for grins & giggles (and the occasional photo op).

    Ditto on the B/Y GP7s- I have two of 'em awaiting a turn in the paint shop, but where am I gonna get the nose stripes?
  10. pbender

    pbender Member Supporter

    Hi Dale,

    I like this plan much better than an earlier plan you had sent me by e-mail.

    I'm currently working on a layout that covers a much smaller portion of the same line, only covering Dodson, Harrisonville, and Blairstown (Harrisonville and Blairstown are on Free-moN modules), but I'm building the Dodson area after the Frisco was abandoned between Dodson and BV junction (as noted in this thread ).

    I've posted the track plan for my layout here:

    If I had more room to work with....

  11. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Supporter


    Please allow a few of my thoughts with regard to your Clinton Sub layout.

    What are you planning with regard to the KCUS tableau? The KCUS will provide an imposing scene, but by the 70’s, the Highline locals conducted no business here. The chicken cars were no longer handled between Clinton and KCUS. This scene requires a lot of layout space, without providing much for the Frisco to work. If your are going to have a couple of KCT switch engines about, then that is a different matter.

    If I may offer the suggestion of modeling the area between Sheffield/Leeds and BV Jct/Dodson in lieu of KCUS. The Frisco served among others, Milgram Foods (a KC area grocery chain. I also went to high school with Les Milgram’s daughter), Kitty Clover Potato Chips, Rival Mfg, Western Auto, et al. The CRIP had trackage rights on the Frisco, and that might offer some interest. The Rock left the Frisco at Leeds Junction, and although the Rock was the tenant road, the normal position of the turnout at Leeds Junction was lined for the CRIP. I have the industry schematic to BV Jct, and will email it to you.

    If you are still in need of the west bottoms and fair ground lead schematics let me know, and I’ll email them too. The area is rich with scenes to be modeled, and as been chronicled elsewhere, the old is disappearing quickly.

    The Dolkos articles seemed to have focused on the VO-1000 as motive power. True enough, but for the early 70’s, the GP-7 (BW or OW) predominated. Otherwise through the 60’s one could see the Baldwin switch engines, RS-1‘s, and GP-7‘s. When traffic demands required it, I have seen two RS-1’s MU’d, and the oddest thing that I saw on the Clinton Sub was a lone F-7. The crews must have been cursing all the way to Clinton and back. Going back to the early 50’s, trains 20 and 21 got a Redbird or an FP-7. I have yet to see a photo of a SG-equipped GP-7 on 20 or 21. Never say never.

    Much Success,
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 19, 2009
  12. trainsignguy

    trainsignguy Member Supporter


    Thanks for the track diagrams. Thanks too for your Clinton Sub thoughts and operating information. I really need to take a serious look at the KC portion of my layout plan now. A major revision may be in order. The Sheffield/Leeds area would provide a lot of fun switching. And Rick McClellan sent track diagrams for the West Bottoms, thank you Rick. I had no idea so much of the West Bottoms industrial trackage was Frisco. I assumed it was KC Terminal. I am now seriously considering making 19th St Yard a working yard instead of a staging yard.

    One of the things that does not show on my track plan and plays a big part in my KC operations are the hidden tracks. Two of the tracks to the left of KCUS would disappear under the Broadway St. bridge and circle under the West Bottoms to a 6-8 track hidden staging yard under the KCT trackage. Two hidden tracks would pass through the staging to circle under the salvage yard in Dodson to reappear as the two tracks that begin to the right of the salvage yard in Dodson. These tracks would allow me to run trains of many different roads but really don't add a thing to the Frisco operations.

    I had originally planned on KCUS for a number of reasons:
    1. I wanted the challenge of building KCUS. What a foolish dream!
    2. I wanted to model the Western Auto building and some of the other warehouses.
    3. Modeling KCT tracks gave me an excuse to run trains of many different roads.
    4. I wanted to model the multi-track KCT concrete trench across KC
    5. I had no information on the Clinton Sub north of Alexander or the West Bottoms.

    Now that I am loaded with prototype information I am reconsidering. Fortunately I have time to think about this. The KC area is going to be the last stage in building my layout.

    I love switching, more than I like running trains. Sheffield/Leeds industries satisfies that desire with interesting track layouts. I remember Milgrams, Kitty Clover and Western Auto. All desirable industries to me and I assume Milgrams and Western Auto would have really received diversified loads. And I am very interested in Leeds Jct. and the Rock Island. I grew up with the Rock Island's St. Louis line in my backyard.

    As for motive power all I remember in the 1970's was GP-7's mostly black/yellow. I don't remember seeing anything else. Of course I did not see nearly all the trains run on the Clinton Sub either.

    All this brings me to a couple of questions. Did trains 20/21 switch all the KC industries too? Or were they switched by a local yard job? And where is the Fairground Lead?

    Dale Rush
  13. pbender

    pbender Member Supporter

    From Karl's earlier post, trains 20/21 were passenger trains (to Springfield via Clinton).

  14. mark

    mark Member


    Quick note in response to your question concerning the locals in the 1970's on the Clinton Subdivision.

    In the late 1960s with improved computer technology, the Frisco started using a train management system called Train Performance Reporting (TPR). This was an alpha numeric train reporting system.

    System wide all locals were assigned 4 digit numeric identifications, with the first two digits identifying the specific subdivision. The Clinton subdivision locals were 1312 (northward) and 1311 (southward) Kansas City to Clinton and 1310 (northward) and 1313 (southward) Springfield to Clinton.

    For those interested in Time Table & Train Order (TT&TO) operations, even numbered trains run north or east and odd numbered trains run south or west. Typically trains operating north or east are "superior" to trains of the same class operating south or west. There are some exceptions to this rule on some subdivisions or for specific trains. If there is an exception, a footnote will appear in the timetable. One example is in timetable No. 1, on the Ash Grove Sub - Eastern Division, page 30.

    Some of you may be curious and be asking why are north and east the "superior" direction? Historically, our nation's commerce and population centers were in the northeast. When TT&TO and the related rule books came into use north and east were assigned the priority direction to feed and supply the northeast (loads in). South and west were considered the inferior direction as this was generally the empties returning (empties out).

    Hope this helps.


  15. mark

    mark Member


    Quick note in response to your question concerning the Fairgrounds Branch.

    The Fairgrounds Branch (also known as (aka) "the Hill") was an interesting industrial switching area near West 31st Street and Southwest Boulevard, close to the state line border of Kansas and Missouri. In the Frisco's Kansas City Terminal Industry Schematics it is known as part of the 29th Street Industrial Area, Zone 3.

    The branch is located between the Frisco's Rosedale and 19th Street Yards. It starts at 29th Street Interlocking, under the I-35 overpass behind Ponak's Mexican Restaurant, curves southwest across Southwest Boulevard, passes and serves Schutte Lumber, starts uphill climbing across 31st Street, turns generally southeast and parallels Roanoke Road.

    Climbing out of the Turkey Creek valley (prone to flooding) the line climbs in vertical elevation 80 feet in just under 1 mile. Close to the end of the line, after crossing West 34th Street, it stub ends near Karnes Boulevard. From here there is a switchback uphill to serve additional industries to the northwest that again climbs and runs on either side of Terrace Street.

    In addition to the really neat area area around Schutte Lumber (with several switch backs and tracks inside lumber sheds) industries along the line included the Garfield Team Track, Paper Supply Company, Carthage Marble, W. C. Triangle, Pacific Mutual Door Company, Battenfield Grease & Oil Company, Safeway Bakeries, Motor Parts Distributors, Sherwood Chemical Company, Union Carbide, American Mineral Sprits, Southwestern Bell Telephone, U. S. Engineering, Swenson Construction Company, Ftyro Fabricators and Fred Wolferman Groceries.

    Branching off the Fairgrounds Branch in the 29th Street Industrial Area is Zone 4 (aka "the Alley"). This spur takes off to the northeast on the south side of Southwest Boulevard. This line ran in an alley (hence the name) behind the buildings that fronted Southwest Boulevard, across from the Kansas City Terminal (KCT) Railway roundhouse.

    Industries served on this line included the American Dish Service Company, Rite-Made Paper Converters, Hubbard's Imperial, Combs & Company, Bartlett Container Corporation, C. S. Tull Transfer, City Wide Brick & Supply Company, Koch Supplies, Roll Easy Door Company, K & K Sheet Metal, Gate City Petroleum (tank farm), Dairy & Creamery Equipment Company, Gresham Company, Anchor Roofing and Siding company, Foreign Car Auto Salvage, Webb Belting & Supply Company, Aero Plastics, American Steel Company (with overhead transverse crane), Texaco, Inc., Corbin Equipment Company, Hill Building Materials Company, A.P. Green Fire Brick Company, Skelly Oil Company, Roberts Furniture Company, Jianas Brothers Candy Company, R. L. Faubion Steel and Tank Company, Flint Ink Company and Funkhouser Machinery Company (including an end loading ramp).

    Today only a short spur remains from the 29th Street Interlocking to serve Schutte Lumber. Many of the buildings, signs of track in streets and some of the original businesses listed above remain. This would be a great area to model in a relatively small space as it featured a great number of industries in a relatively small space, most types of freight cars served the different customers and would need only a switcher or two for power.

    Also, it could be incorporated as a switching area into a larger railroad. Rick McClellan on his Northern Division railroad has included "the Hill" as a switching area on a portion of his railroad. This is a fun job to take if you ever have the opportunity to operate at Rick's.

    Anyone interested in seeing what is left of the area may contact Rick or me for tour. We might even have to stop by Rosedale Bar-B-Que (a railroaders favorite) for lunch! Ponak's is also a good area restaurant and you can see the high water marks on the wall that are above your head from prior flooding events in the 1990s.

    Hope this helps.

    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 13, 2009
  16. mark

    mark Member


    If you would like to incorporate the flavor of Kansas City's other railroads consider interchanges.

    Instead of including the Kansas City Union Station (KCUS) recommend you consider an expanded yard operation. Active interchange is a great way to feature engines and cabooses of other railroads, add color and different type locomotives.

    Active interchange from "off stage" staging yards can serve the duel function of an "industry" with each railroad with car types that you may not need "on line" and provide for a flow of traffic to the rest of the country. In this time frame there were a dozen railroads in KC.

    Hope this helps. Remember to, Get It Going FRISCO!


  17. trainsignguy

    trainsignguy Member Supporter

    Thanks Mark. Now I know where the fairgrounds lead is/was. Thanks too for the comprehensive description and listing of industries. Sounds like it would be great fun to draw this job on Rick's layout. I really thought I knew KC area railroading well. I learn something every time I get on this website.

    I have a lot to consider for the KC portion of my layout now that I have prototype track diagrams for the entire Clinton Sub and KC West Bottoms. The Centropolis/Leeds area sure looks like a great switching area as does the West Bottoms. And now the Fairgrounds Lead sounds interesting too. No matter what I change I think I will end up with a better layout design than I have now. I have penciled in a few alternative designs but none that I am satisfied with yet.

    My first inclination is to get rid of the KCT Trackage and KCUS areas of my original layout plan. I may drop Dodson too. The enhanced yard operations and interchange seems like a great way to add trains from other KC area railroads. I have seen, but not operated, Chuck Hitchcock's KC area interchange layout and it looked like a lot of fun to operate. Rick and a few people that have operated Rick's layout have suggested making 19th St Yard an operating yard too. I am very seriously consider their advice. I could go through the wall on the right side of my layout plan to include a hidden staging yard. Anyone have any advice or comments on hidden/blind staging yards?

    This brings me to one more unanswered question. Did the KC-Clinton locals 1311/1312 switch everything between KC and Clinton? I notice in System Timetable No. 1 (1971) that those trains appear on the timetable only between Grandview and Clinton. That would lead me to believe that a switch crew out of one of the KC yards took care of everything north of Grandview on the Clinton Sub??? If that is correct would the switch crew have worked daily out and back from 19th St. or Rosedale or somewhere else?

    Thanks to everyone for all the great information and layout design input provided so far. This forum has a fantastic amount of knowledgable people. And most importantly everyone is willing to share the knowledge and resources.

    Best Wishes,
    Dale Rush
    modeling the 1970's Clinton Sub in N scale
  18. tferk

    tferk Member Supporter

    If I interpret the above messages correctly, someone has industry information for the Sheffield-BV Jct segment of the Clinton Sub......could you share? I have been searching for the Frisco industries for some time.


    Ted Ferkenhoff
    (formerly KC and Harrisonville)
    Modeling the Frisco & MP in the Blue River valley
  19. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Supporter

    Ted, I have emailed copies to you. keb
  20. tferk

    tferk Member Supporter

    Dale, I realize this does not help you for your era, but in the interest of (barely) furthering the discussion, I note in copy of Frisco Assigned Locals/Switchers dated 11-01-1976 that 1310 and 1311 had been cut back to Clinton-Springfield, with a second local 1313 also listed from Clinton to Springfield. To handle the KC end, Local 1331 was assigned as a daily turn from 19th St to as far as East Lynne.

    The complete data:

    Train#, TPR Stations, Origin, Final, Type of service, Days of Operation, Start Time
    1310 SY-CN 239 D087 Local Mo-We-Fr 0600
    1311 CN-SY D087 239 Local Tu-Th-Sa 0600
    1313 CN-SY D087 239 Local Tu-Th-Sa 1300
    1331 KC-KC C004 C004 Local via D052 Daily 0001

    Note: D052=East Lynne

    Ted Ferkenhoff
    Houston, TX

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