Dixon Hill and Lindenwood Yards

Discussion in 'Rolla-Lebanon Subdivision' started by Larry F., Aug 23, 2009.

  1. Larry F.

    Larry F. Member

    Does anyone have a map of the origional grade up Dixon Hill from Jerome to Dixon. Does it show up on Google maps? Secondly, does anyone hace Sanford map of Lindenwood's diesel servicing area of the 60's or early 70's? Thanks in advance.
  2. Brad Slone

    Brad Slone Member Frisco.org Supporter


    It can kind of be traced off of Google maps if you have a little idea of where it ran. Heading west out of Jerome the old grade was turned into a county road, so it is fairly easy to trace. The old grade does show up pretty well on Topo maps as you can follow the grade base on contour lines. I don't know of any specific map showing the old route as opposed to the new one, but i will dig through my files and see what I can find.

  3. meteor910

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

    One of Doug's later FMIG Lines newsletters had a feature on the Dixon Hill relocation and had some good info on the old grade route.

  4. Larry F.

    Larry F. Member

    Ken and Brad,

    Thanks for the input on Dixon Hill. Following your information on the county road it's obvious where the grade was. Knowing the terrain and following the road, it's interesting to think they kept the origional grade under 3%.
  5. Brad Slone

    Brad Slone Member Frisco.org Supporter


    Another aspect that I have always found interesting is the where the old line leaves the river bottom west of Jerome and turns back to the south west towards D highway. I know we always talk about the broad radius's we prefer on our layouts but when you look at how sharp this particular curve is I can just imagine how much the flanges squealed.

  6. w3hodoug (Doug Hughes RIP 03/24/2021)

    w3hodoug (Doug Hughes RIP 03/24/2021) 2008 Engineer of the Year Frisco.org Supporter

    The old route is shown on the 1:24,000 USGS map. I can probably scan it and post if you wish. Doug
  7. FriscoGeorge

    FriscoGeorge Frisco Employee

    I just wanted to ad my two cents worth. The county road going down to the old trestle on the Ft. Wood Branch line is called "Tater Holler Road" by the locals and is marked County Rd. 7550 on the map of Phelps county. The road that went down to Bundy Junction was "Grotto Road" or County Rd. 7530 on the county maps. Unfortunately the access to Bundy Junction is now private property and access to Bundy Junction is forbidden. Also, just west of the curve you are referring to is Heavin Concrete and their gravel pit operation. It too is private property. So basically everything to the southwest of Bundy Junction is now under private ownership without public access to the old rail lines. The closest you can get to the curve now is the old Arlington Yard in Jerome, or the Army Branch Line Trestle on County Rd. 7550. Here are a few pictures to tickle your fancy.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2010
  8. meteor910

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

    FYI ...

    Here are a couple of pics I have of the east end of Bundy Junction, taken on a hike with son Kurt in 1982.

    Golly, was it that long ago ???


    Attached Files:

  9. Morailfan

    Morailfan Member

    Hi, everyone! When I was younger, my grandfather and I became curious about the old Dixon and Hancock alignments and sought to photograph and research them. My grandfather, a retired cartographer, was responsible for the original topographic recording of the area and knew a man from Rolla who was a locomotive engineer on helper engines up the old line to Dixon. The grade was an average of 2.3% and began on a 5 mph curve at a point about a mile and a half west of Jerome. Halfway to Dixon, the grade leveled atop a long ridge at a place called Frank's Switch (later just 'Franks'). A passing siding and wye were built here, though neither remain today. The grade continued upwards through several reverse curves, even crossing over the new line during its construction on a temporary wooden trestle, before topping out about a mile east of Dixon, 517 feet above Jerome. The new grade to Dixon was begun in 1944 and completed in 1946. Around this time, the grade up to Dixon from the west was also rebuilt, eliminating another stretch of 2% mainline and some curvature, as well as bypassing the towns of Hancock and a cannery at Helm (Pronounced Hell-um). An interesting bit of information, or perhaps hearsay, comes from my grandfather's engineer friend. He told a story, which he claimed to have heard from the "old-timers", that when the route was being built in the 1860's, the head surveyor had warned of the steep grades needed to reach the ridge at Dixon. Numerous possible alignments were discussed before preliminary construction began on grading a roadbed, and interestingly enough, the excavation of a tunnel, which was never to be completed. When the railroad went bankrupt soon after, the new management changed their minds about how much they should spend building their line up "the hill" and chose another survey which required less earthwork to get the job done. It's a colorful story, and would be fun to believe, but it's quite an example of obscure history, and I've not yet found any other leads or evidence for it. Food for the imagination, at least.

    Anyhow, Attached to this message are maps with the old line drawn in in Red. The line follows the old grade exactly and is cut where the two lines overlap. I'll answer any questions I can, and I'll see if I can dig up some more maps and photos of the area.

    -Best Wishes,
    Brian Parkinson

    Map 1.jpg Map 2.jpg Map 3.jpg Map 4.jpg
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 2, 2012
  10. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    Brian -
    The maps and story are great. Thanks very much for sharing. This really helps those of us familiar with the realignment but less-familiar with the area itself see just how big of a difference the realignment made.

    Best Regards,
  11. WindsorSpring

    WindsorSpring Member

    Thanks for the maps, Morailfan!

    Most of the Terra Server USA MSR coverage of the area between Jerome and Dixon includes a dotted trace of the old alignment. There is a frustrating omission along the Gasconade north of Jerome. There is a tantalizing little clue of a grade that curves to the right (north) towards Jerome just off the bridge that hints the old alignment went north to swing around the hill and head back south. I suspected this was the case because of the way the old alignment meets the new one as shown in "map3.jpg," for that abandoned grade is included in the Terra Server maps. Your "map4.jpg" gives a final confirmation that the northern loop was the correct guess.

    Gee, do you suppose someone could make two virtual models of the area...?

  12. meteor910

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

    George - Yes, indeed, there was a very sharp turn to the right (north) to Jerome just as the old alignment came off the Gasconade River bridge. I don't recall the specifics of how sharp the curve was, but I do recall the late Jan Jester telling of a trip he took over the line and how slow they went around the curve and how the flanges were squeeling.

    Brian - Thank you for posting the maps, and for marking the old alignment on them. Very useful.

    There was a very good article on the Dixon Hill realignment in the April, 1945 issue of Trains, titled "Dixon Hill Improvement". There is a lot of good narrative in it, plus some construction pictures. In FMIG Bulletin #104, Doug Hughes incorporated this article, plus a Railway Age article from August 1946, and an article from the Dec46/Jan47 "Frisco First" (I'm guessing on the dates) in a feature on the Dixon Hill realignment project. There is a wealth of information in #104 on this major Frisco project thanks to Doug's efforts.

    As a result, Dixon Hill, though no easy climb today, is nothing like the problem it used to be for trains running west on the Eastern Division.

    During an early FMIG meeting years ago, they actually hiked part of the old alignment, fighting, I'm sure, the heat, weeds, chiggers and ticks all the way! I missed that one.

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 5, 2012
  13. Brad Slone

    Brad Slone Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Ken-I would say that the curve west of Jerome close to the BM 697 mark on the map is tighter than the one coming off the bridge. This portion of the old alignment is now county road and having driven it many times it's has made me wonder how the 4500 made it around it, the next one up a mile or so is not much better. This portion of the line us to be very difficult to view from D highway, however many years ago the owner cleared the area and now feeds hay along the old right of way.

    Brain-There is a Santa Clause, as your story is true. The original original alignment curved southwest from Arlington crossing the Little Piney flood plain and river then skirting it's way along the east bluff of Gasconade river continuing SW. The grade was clearly visible until MoDot built the new highway bridge over the river and filled this area with left over shot rock. There also use to be a bridge pillar in the middle of the Little Piney river were the bridge was to be built, it leaned heavily for years and has finally fell in the river. There were other work sites along the proposed including the cut into the planned tunnel. As an additional note, I am told by a old surveyor that the railroad had plans to realign the Rolla hill as well. The proposed realignment would have left the main to the east of Newburg following Beaver creek until it crossed route 63 then heading NE tying back in west of Dillon siding. This route would have bypassed Rolla all together which upset the city fathers terribly, ironic in that they would probably be for eliminating the tracks trough town today. The proposal was dropped after the war was won and government withdrew funding.

  14. Morailfan

    Morailfan Member

    Ha!! Thanks, Brad! Well, that's both a happy ending and an exciting new beginning!! Sure enough, google earth's oldest satellite image of Arlington (from 1995) was luckily recorded during winter, when naked trees reveal what lies beneath them. In this case, that's a linear mound of earth leaving the mainline at Arlington, arcing southwest on a graceful geometric curve (toward what looks just like a pier in the middle of the Little Piney creek) and aims straight along the bluff's edge in the Gasconade valley. Gold. Ah, but then the implication of this new can of worms hit me! "-So, where did this one go!?!" It's hardly philosophical to say that in 150 years, things change, so finding anything, one could say, was a long shot if not a lost cause entirely. -But I think I've found the old tunnel location. If the railroad were to have continued along the southern/eastern bank of the Gasconade River, it would have soon reached the mouth of the Big Piney River, just north of Hooker, MO. Sure enough there's that suspicious looking earthwork, but I've found a topographic map that actually shows a railroad here! Where this 'track' curves into the Big piney valley, it needs to cut down, or through, about 50 feet of hill. This is probably the site of the tunnel. An old map of Missouri I once saw, projected the railroad to be built through Waynesville, just to the west of this location. It seems they had begun to fulfill this course. Have a look at the attached maps of both the Arlington junction and the site north of Hooker. Is this mystery solved?

    arlington 1995 old rr grade.jpg Hooker Tunnel map.jpg
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 7, 2012
  15. Peddling Joe

    Peddling Joe Frisco Employee

    <LI id=post_39950 class="postbit postbitim postcontainer">Below from an earlier submission. I have additional documentation of the source of the "The ""20 miles of grading, two partially cut tunnels west of Rolla"

    <LI class="postbit postbitim postcontainer">Peddlingl Joe

    <LI id=post_36699 class="postbit postbitim postcontainer">Apr 2010LocationSpringfieldPosts30

    [​IMG] Re: Ft. Leonard Wood line

    Further research suggests, to me, the original South Pacific RR survey may have intended the line to run through Waynesville, (county seat of Pulaski County). Due to the Civil War, Army Control and tunnel cave-in, the second survey took the alignment from Arlington Northwards.

    The ""20 miles of grading, two partially cut tunnels west of Rolla" sort of coincices with the present day I-44 mile markers, Rolla exit # 182, Ft. Leonard Wood exit #163.

    The "two partially cut tunnels" may have been in the general area of TWP 36N, 11W. Sections 3,4,5, and continue wesward into 12 W? These tunnels would get the RR to Roubidous Creek, into Waynewville and on to Springfield.

    Any comments and/or additional information will be sincerely appreciate.
    Should this be posted in the "Map" section, please do so.
    Joe Felin ​

  16. meteor910

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


    How rugged is the topography of the route to the left, across th eLittle Piney, then along the Gasconade, through the "tunnel" close to Hooker, and then on to Waynesville? I know there would be the cost of a tunnel, but I can't imagine this route would be more rugged, steep and curved than the original alignment up to Dixon that was ultimately built. When it came time to start building the route again, I'm wondering why they chose to abandon the "Hooker" route, that had already been graded to some degree, and to instead go through Jerome and climb up the hill to continue the progress to Springfield. Anybody have any ideas?

    Brad - Yes, you have a point, the curves after Jerome do look sharper that the one just coming off the bridge on the old alignment. Maybe the Jerome curve(s) were what Jan commented on, but I seem to recall him saying the squealing started just after the Gasconade bridge. Maybe the rails were rusty that day!

    Neat topic! This stretch of the Eastern Division, Rolla to Dixon to Hancock, is one of the most interesting on all of the Frisco. (At least to me!)

  17. Brad Slone

    Brad Slone Member Frisco.org Supporter


    I'm not sure about the two routes having similar costs. The old grade running up to Dixon basically run along the river until it turned up a holler running up to Franks. From there they mostly skirted along the sides of the hills curving and gaining elevation as they went. There was not a tremendous amount of earth moving required other than just cutting out the road bed. On the other hand the "Hooker" route would have inquired the cost of the tunnel along with the blasting of the bluff along the river bank. Also judging what a struggle it was for Bundy to build the fort branch I would suspect there would have been a fair amount of cut & fill to smooth things out. Seems like I read somewhere that the company was in a race to make it to indian territory so they could obtain land grants they could generate revenue from. So even though they knew they would be creating an operational bottleneck, they needed the money, come to think of it, that part sounds all too familiar! Anyway that's what I've heard over the years for what it's worth, besides how interesting would it have been for the line to have run through Waynesville?

  18. meteor910

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

    Good comments Brad. Thanks.

  19. WindsorSpring

    WindsorSpring Member

    I-44 now passes close to Waynesville. It is quite confined there between Roubidoux Creek and the Gasconade. There may have been enough room for the town and the railroad given some "street-running." While, I know little of the topography west of Waynesville, a quick look at the terrain on Google Maps shows this route gives little opportunity for low grades other than to follow the Gasconade with all its twists and turns.

    By accepting the challenge of Dixon Hill, it looks like the builders got a more direct route. In addition, by getting onto the plateau at Dixon, they possibly got slightly more favorable grades overall.

    George Nelson
  20. meteor910

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

    Just spent a very enjoyable afternoon with George Nelson (WindsorSpring) at his home researching the "Hooker-Waynesville" route on his computer. We didn't get it totally figured out, but we made progress.

    Thanks George!


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