Kansas City Limited, Derailment on Weaubleau Curve.

Discussion in 'Clinton Subdivision' started by Karl, Sep 7, 2023.

  1. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Frisco.org Supporter

    Sometimes the best discoveries are the serendipitous ones. I was looking through the stack stuff in order to find a date and location of a derailment on the Frisco’s Bolivar Branch. While doing so, I discovered two fatal derailments on the Frisco’s Kansas City Division. One of the derailments was of particular interest because it occurred on Weaubleau Hill, while negotiating its horseshoe curve. Before we explore the details of the accident, a bit of background is in order.

    After the Frisco escaped from the Santa Fe, it didn’t waste much time before it revisited the Blair Line’s plan to extend the line from Osceola to Bolivar. During November 1896, officials from both roads met to tour the territory and to examine the new bridge, which the Blair Line was constructing at Osceola.

    In spite of the Frisco’s official denials, during 1897, it was busy with surveys, and land acquisition. It’s unclear if the Frisco used the original KCOS surveys, or if new alignments were surveyed. Work commenced at Bolivar on Monday, January 3, 1898. Frisco officials put forth a May 1st completion date for the 38 mile extension.

    When the final spike was driven on July 20, 1898, Frisco officials promised that service would be in place by August 10. Problems with acquiring local limestone ballast along with inclement weather were attributed to the delay.

    Ultimately, the Frisco opened service over its new Kansas City Division on September 1, 1898. The opening of the line was celebrated in Bolivar on September 9, 1898. The Frisco offered special excursion rate for travel to Bolivar.

    Figure 1: The Frisco’s Kansas City Division Time Card, Sept 1898.

    The Frisco’s new KC line operated four passenger trains, the Kansas City Mail, No 62, the, Kansas City Limited, No 66, the Texas Limited, No 65, and the Arkansas and Texas Fast Mail, No 61, which operated daily. A daily passenger-local operated between Clinton and Kansas City.

    Two daily, local freights operated between KC and Clinton and two daily local freights operated between Clinton and Springfield. The Frisco used KC’s Grand Central Station, which was located at 2nd and Wyandott. The Frisco advertised that the station was more convenient to downtown KC than was the city’s West Bottom station.

    The Frisco purchased new passenger equipment for KC-Springfield trains. The new trains made good connections at Springfield to and from the southwest. Connections for trains to and from St. Louis weren’t as good.

    During the early morning of November 25, 1900, the Kansas City Limited, No 66, departed Springfield one hour and eight minutes late. As it descended the 1.4% grade of Weaubleau Hill at 25 mph, the locomotive’s pilot truck derailed while negotiating the horseshoe curve. This caused the locomotive and tender to leave the rails.

    The locomotive landed on its side across the tracks. The front end of the baggage car was damaged, but neither it nor any of the consist derailed. The derailment severed the train line, which set the brakes, and therefore limited damage to the train.

    Figure 2: The climb from Weaubleau Creek required a 1.4% grade, a sharp 10.3 degree curve, and a 25 foot deep cut. The curve may have been the sharpest on the Frisco. The curve was located at D129+13 poles - D130+4 poles.
    Screen Shot 2023-09-07 at 11.16.19 AM.png

    The overturned locomotive killed both enginemen, Daniel Lyons and Henry Fox, but otherwise no one was hurt. The Frisco Superintendent attributed the cause to a broken flange on one of the pilot wheels. Daniel Lyons, the engineer, was one of three brothers, who ran passenger trains for the Frisco. Robert Lyons appeared in a Frisco Employee Magazine article about the Chadwick branch. Relatives of the three brothers still live in the Springfield area.

    Figure 3: Daniel’s brother, Robert, survived two of his own wrecks, then eschewed the mainline, and worked the Chadwick Branch. I know his granddaughter, who gave me this card.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 13, 2023
  2. frisco1522

    frisco1522 Staff Member Staff Member


    I've always been beyond impressed with your knowledge of the Frisco, your files and records and ability to research obscure things from the past.

    You are "Da Man".
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 13, 2023
    Karl, klrwhizkid and gjslsffan like this.
  3. tferk

    tferk Member Frisco.org Supporter

    I'll echo what Don Wirth said. Another historical gem, thank you for sharing.
    Karl likes this.
  4. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Frisco.org Supporter

    Don and Ted,

    Thanks for the kind words. It’s amazing what exists from the past in unlikely sources.

    I found a nice bit of info about one of the Frisco’s antecedent roads, which is probably the shortest of the Frisco’s antecedents. We are in the middle of our busy travel season so I won’t get to it until October.

    Here is a bit of follow-up to the Weaubleau Curve accident. The great niece of Dan Lyons is working to conduct a private, family memorial service on the 123rd anniversary of the accident at the site.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 13, 2023
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