Clinton Subdivision - Rerouting Of Train No 105

Discussion in 'Clinton Subdivision' started by TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020), Jun 30, 2008.

  1. TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020)

    TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020) Passed Away July 15, 2020 Supporter

    When I was a young clerk starting my career at the Springfield Post Office (Summer 1959) I began to realize how important the railroad was in transporting the U. S. Mail. In those days "junior" postal clerks had to work on the loading dock receiving the mail dispatches from the depot and highway trucks. The depot dispatch truck was called the "Screen Wagon", recalling an earlier day, when an open, horse drawn vehicle was used.

    Probably our most important dispatch of the day was from train No 105. It carried first class, registered, special delivery, priority mail and newspapers from the Kansas City commercial area and Northern and Western states including California.

    A similar and earlier dispatch came from St. Louis and Eastern points via train No 9. Train No 9's mails arrived earlier and there was more time to work and distribute that mail.

    "Hundred And Five" as it was always referred to, arrived at 3 AM and there was a push to get the Springfield area and city mail sorted for delivery and dispatch. A letter from California to Republic, for example, would come to Kansas City via Santa Fe, UP, or Rock Island; then be transferred to Frisco train No. 105 to Springfield, then on to a highway truck to Republic.

    Sometimes the timing was very close, so the earlier we could receive the "105" mail, the better.
    With all this in mind, anytime No 105 was late it was cause for concern. The depot messengers would advise us if any trains were late. Mail off train No 10 from Oklahoma and No 106 from Memphis and the South arrived at Springfield about the same time.

    Sometimes the supervisors would be on the phone to depot personnel trying to get the latest information about the trains. A late arrival from No 105 put mail delivery all over Southern Missouri and Northern Arkansas in question.

    The railroad signaling and dispatching on the Ft. Scott-Springfield line was by train order and block signal and there wasn't the same kind of information available regarding late trains as on the ST. Louis - Oklahoma line which had CTC. Also many stations on the Ft. Scott line were closed at those hours. Sometimes we just had to wait.

    On one of those times when we were waiting for "105" the conversation got around to: "Remember when they sent '105' down the Hi-Line?" A year or two before I came to the Post Office, I was told after a derailment or a flood, they had routed the train down the "Hi-Line" via Clinton! And they knew nothing about the train's progress as ALL the stations were closed.

    The slow track and lack of signaling caused the train to be VERY late, arriving about daybreak. So the story goes, the experiment was never tried again.

    I was wondering if anyone else had ever heard anything about the Frisco routing Kansas City - Springfield trains from the main line to the Clinton line??

    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 16, 2023
  2. It must have been a strange and surprising sight, a long string of mail and passenger cars rolling along the "High Line" in the dead of night!

    Technically, yes, I do know about other times when mainline Frisco trains were routed via Clinton, but not as a detour from the main line. From 1898 to 1901, the "High Line" WAS the Frisco main line to Kansas City. The Frisco's original access to KC was pieced together from the former Springfield & Northern (Springfield - Bolivar), the former KC Osceola & Southern (KC - Osceola), and new construction linking the two.

    Official Guides of the period document the handling of through Pullmans from KC to Fort Smith and other southwestern points via Clinton. This changed shortly after 1901, when the Frisco took over the KC Fort Scott & Memphis with its easier route through eastern Kansas.

    Bradley A. Scott
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 16, 2023
  3. TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020)

    TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020) Passed Away July 15, 2020 Supporter

    The Hi-Line incident was about 1957 or 58. A little later, about 1960, train No 106 was re-routed in a couple of unusual ways after derailments or washouts on the Springfield - Memphis line. Once, they sent the train from Memphis to St. Louis on the River Division, then to Springfield.

    On another occasion, No 106 was routed across Arkansas on the Missouri Pacific's White River line to Aurora, MO, then eastward to Springfield. When it arrived at the Springfield depot, it was headed the wrong way and had to be turned on the wye by the depot switch engine.

    Both those arrivals were well after daylight (No 106's scheduled arrival was about 2:30 AM). Not too good for passengers or mail, but nice for a kid train-watcher!

    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 16, 2023
  4. gbmott

    gbmott Member

    A detour over the White River Division would have been a very logical reroute and I would be surprised if there had not been cases of the MoPac detouring in just the reverse manner.

    It is normal practice for any railroad to maintain pre-designated detour routes, both on its own lines and also foreign lines. There always used to be a "detour map" maintained in the dispatchers' office showing the available routes as well as how the connections laid - whether a straight-on move, a back-up or a reversal.

    Charges by foreign lines for detour moves were always at a significantly lower rate than would have been the case under a "commercial" trackage rights arrangements, and in my experience foreign lines usually went out of their way to try to get detour trains over the line. Partly out of gratitude that it wasn't their train having to detour and partly because they knew the next time it probably would be!
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 16, 2023
  5. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Supporter

    During the 50' and 60's, when things went bad on the KC Sub, Afton Sub, or Ash Grove Sub, the Frisco detoured it's passenger trains and hot shots over the Haywire's First and Second District (to Neosho), the MKT's Sedalia Sub between Ft Scott and Nevada, or the MOP's Carthage Sub. If the derailment or washout was minor, less time-sensitive freights were annulled.

    Reciprocity was the rule, on at least two occasions of which I'm aware, the Southern Belle traversed the Frisco's KC Sub.

    My father tells of one nightmarish story in which the Santa Fe used the old Leaky Roof connection in Olathe. The detour tied-up vehicular traffic in Olathe because trains were waiting on both the Santa Fe side and the Frisco side for trains to negotiate the old KCCS connection, and the trains on the connection crept along at 10 MPH. City official threatened both roads, but there was nothing that they could do since the trains were moving, albeit slowly.

    Movement of 105 on the Highline poses several questions.

    Did it run with the cars in reverse order? It would have left KC in the opposite direction than normal. Once in Springfield did the units run around the train or did they have to perform some other sort of special move in order to get everything proper sequence?

    I wonder if there was a rested, qualified passenger crew on the Clinton Sub. If the regular crew was used with a pilot, I wonder what work rules were in place with regard to a Northern Division Crew operating on the Eastern Division?

    In 1959, No 105 departed KCUS at 10:55 PM and arrived at Springfield at 2:40 AM. It stopped at Ft Scott and Lamar.

    When number No 21 made the KC to Springfield run it required 6 hours and 25 minutes to do so. However, there were 20 mandatory stops and 14 conditional stops. The Clinton and Deepwater stops required reverse moves. Number 21 also had to go into the hole for number 20.

    If we try to use number 21's schedule for a detouring number 105 we can make several assumptions.

    1. At that time of day, a Clinton Sub No 105 would not have to deal with any opposing traffic.

    2. Since the Clinton Sub No 105 would run non-stop to Springfield, we can probably knock an hour off the schedule so if everything went well, it would have arrived in Springfield about 4:20 AM or about 2 hours in the bag.

    What do you think, Tom?
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 16, 2023
  6. TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020)

    TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020) Passed Away July 15, 2020 Supporter

    According to the "depot talk," train No 105 was way after daylight arriving--I don't know which way it was headed when it got to Springfield down the Hi-Line or how (or if?) it was turned. I did hear later that the whole business caused a lot of trouble and they never wanted to do it again.

    The train No.106 detour over the MP that I mentioned in my post below came into Springfield from the West. I think they had put the engines on the rear end somewhere down on the MoPac and pulled it "backwards" to Aurora, then put the engines on the front to bring it to Springfield.

    When I got to the depot about 9:00 AM the train was in the proper order, but headed EAST in front of the station. I'm not familiar with the interchanges with the MP or what wyes either road might have had down there. When train No 106 was ready to leave, the depot switcher pulled it backwards (Northwards) up the West Belt past the wye, then the train took the other leg of the wye and left toward Nichols.

    One other detour I recall was of train No 10. It arrived very late (9 or 10 AM), but arrived headed in the proper direction (East) in front of the station and left in the usual manner, just very late but it had arrived from the NORTH on the Ft. Scott line. I think it had been detoured North (maybe from Afton or over KCS or MP??--Maybe MKT??).

    I didn't know much of what the RR was doing, I just heard about the delays while I was at work on the PO night shift and when I got off, I'd go by the station. I usually drove down by the station on my way home anyway! :)

    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 16, 2023
  7. TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020)

    TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020) Passed Away July 15, 2020 Supporter

    About 1962, there was a freight wreck that damaged the bridge at Arlington (I think that's the place--over the Gasconade??) on the Eastern Division. There were a lot of detours and delayed mail during that time. I had different working hours then and couldn't get away from the PO. But I sure heard some odd whistles at VERY odd hours!

    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 7, 2008

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