"Map of the Month" for TRAINS Magazine

Discussion in 'Maps' started by friscomike, Aug 17, 2012.

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  1. friscomike

    friscomike Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    Howdy folks,

    On behalf of David Lester, here is a request for assistance from FRISCo_Org. Can you help him?




    I am working on a "Map of the Month" for TRAINS Magazine, and it will show the highest point and steepest grade of each of the "historic" (i.e. 1930-1950) U.S. Railroads. We're not distinguishing between main lines and branch lines, just looking for the highest point and steepest grade on the railroad. Might you have this information for the Frisco?

    If you do, and could send it to me, I would greatly appreciate it. If there's someone else who I should contact, please let me know.


    David Lester

  2. FriscoFriend

    FriscoFriend Member Frisco.org Supporter


    After listening to interview taping that we (Tony LaLumia and myself) did at Beaumont for an upcoming DVD the highest point on the Frisco may have been Beaumont Hill and the steepest grade may also have been the grade to reach the summit. Maybe Tony can add more specifics because we listened to the interview which was done by a professional but didn't write anything down. The engineer recalled ha0ving to double the hill on occasion in the diesel days when he worked. In the steam era helpers were used fom Piedmont to Beaumont.

    There may have been higher points and steeper grades in places like the Ozarks for instance, maybe Dixon Hill.
  3. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Frisco.org Supporter

  4. FriscoFriend

    FriscoFriend Member Frisco.org Supporter


    After reading your post I remember our tour of KC that Mark Davidson conducted and maybe there was a steeper grade, albeit industrial trackage, in the Fairgrounds District in KC. I know they incorporated a switchback. I realize that technically this may or may not qualify.
  5. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    The Fairgrounds District that Bob is referring to had, at most, a 3% grade based on topo maps.
  6. mvtelegrapher

    mvtelegrapher Member

    For highest point what was the elevation of the line over Winding Stairs mountain between Poteau and Antlers on the line to Paris? I always heard that this was a steep and high line. It's that or maybe a point somewhere in the Missouri Ozarks. Since they went through a tunnel I'm not sure what the grade and elevation is over the Boston Mountains in Arkansas. This is going to take some research.

    John Chambers
  7. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Frisco.org Supporter

    The top of the hill over the Winding Stair Mountains was 944.8 ...

    See http://www.frisco.org/vb/showthread...-Profile-June-30-1909&highlight=winding+stair

    I suspect that the high point of the Frisco will be some non-discript location in western Oklahoma or Cedar Gap, MO, or Winslow.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 17, 2012
  8. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    Even though it's only a spur, but what about the steep grade in and out of the underground storage place in Springfield, mo we saw during the Frisco convention? What grade was it?

  9. mvtelegrapher

    mvtelegrapher Member

    Karl got me to thinking and I just looked up Quanah, TX and the elevation is 1,572 ft, Avard, OK is 1,476 ft and Ellsworth, KS is 1,539 ft. These are the 3 most western points I can think of on the Frisco proper. You may get even higher if you include the Q.A.&P.

    John Chambers
  10. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Frisco.org Supporter

    My nomination for the ceiling of the Frisco is a nondescript point in Kansas. At MP F-597, which about 3 miles west of Lorraine, KS, the tracks reach an elevation of 1863 feet. Westbound the grade is 0.3%; eastbound the grade is 0.8%. There isn't much drama in that.
  11. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 17, 2012
  12. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Frisco.org Supporter

    Winslow is 1735.4 at MP 375.05.
    Cedar Gap is 1689.70 at MP-C243.1-C243.4

    Network is down; will get all this summarized, when things are back up.
  13. FriscoFriend

    FriscoFriend Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Been there! The nondescript word is a great way to describe it! Go Kansas and the Burrton Sub and the Wichita Sub! If this proves to be the high point one can just say "It is what it is".
  14. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Bear in mind that the grade over the Boston Mountains at Winslow is technically a "pass" in that the line has to surmount a watershed divide. Also bear in mind that during the Frisco years, this wasn't a branch. It was a mainline that saw 100+ car trains. (It still sees such trains today.) It was very common for trains to double "The Mountain" (as it was called) during the Frisco diesel years. One GP7 was rated for only 770 tons on Boston Mountain grade. (Roughly 6 loaded sand cars.) Even today, doubling is common occurance.

    I have "been told" several things about the grade from Schaberg to Winslow by old Frisco railroaders:

    * Supposed to be the highest railroad "pass" between the Mississippi River and the Rockies.

    * Short portions of the grade are up to 2.6+%.

    * If you can pull the train through the Rock Cut just north of Schaberg, you can make the grade to the top, barring engine issues. (I have found this to be true by experience.)

    For those of you that have not seen or experienced the Boston Mountain grade, it is hard to believe just how major the grade is.

    For example: Just a couple weeks ago, I was pressed into helper service with a pair of Alco's. There were five units up front, and I was shoving on the rear with my pair of Alco's. We only had about 34 or so cars of sand. (A tonnage train for our power.) Working the grade, at times we were doing 8 MPH wide open. We were on the Boston Mountain grade almost an hour to get to the top. Bringing a heavy train down that sucker with only air is also not for the faint hearted: It is bad to the bone and you can really get yourself into a pickle if you don't know what you're doing.

  15. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Frisco.org Supporter

    Northbound, the maximum grade of 2.69% begins at about the south end of Viaduct 3, and it continues for about 0.5 miles, or about MP 377.75. The steepest parts of the rest of the hill vary between 2.0% - 2.3%.
  16. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Guess they knew what they were talking about.

    Sure wish I had access to such data as you posted when I was laying my virtual rails up the Boston Mountain grade!

  17. tomd6

    tomd6 Member

    From the November 1926 Frisco PTT the top five elevations (in feet) are as follows::
    Lorraine, KS 1,782
    Frederick, KS 1,762
    Winslow, AR 1,729
    Thomas, OK 1727
    Hundley, TX 1,713
    The 1933 Frisco application for a Reconstruction Finance Corporation loan ((Condensed Profile of Principal Lines of St Louis –San Francisco Railway shows the following :
    Central Division
    Winslow , AR 2.5 % northbound
    1.2% southbound
    Talahina, OK 2.2% northbound
    2.4% southbound
    Red River Division- This line had a lot of grades but none exceeded 2.0%.
    The loan document did not say if the grades were compensated. I believe the Winslow compensated grade northbound works equates to 2.69%
  18. tomd6

    tomd6 Member

    I forgot to include an interesting, to me, bit of trivia. The highest railroad in Arkansas was the Combs, Cass & Eastern that connected to the Frisco's St Paul branch at Combs, Arkansas in Madison county. The lumber hauling line reached an elevation of 1,900 feet at Summit in Franklin County, AR.
  19. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Frisco.org Supporter

    Here is the the location with the highest elevation on the Frisco.
  20. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Frisco.org Supporter


    Western OK just missed being the top of the Frisco by 4 feet. Near MP K-644.75, the track reaches an elevation of 1859.00; the location is on the Enid-Hobart Sub, and it is about 4 miles south of Eagle City.
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