Pittsburg, KS

Discussion in 'Parsons Subdivision' started by Tyler Costantini, Dec 6, 2018.

  1. I recently purchased property in Pittsburg, KS that has a former Frisco right of way along the edge. From what i read the track is part of the Parsons Subdivision the track ran from Pittsburg, KS to Litchfield, KS then to Mindenmines, MO. I would like to know what mile post my property is along and when track was decommissioned. If possible any information about the decommissioning process, mainly where the rails removed or are they just burred under the overgrowth? where their any signals signal houses etc?

    The address is 1326 E 14th Pittsburg, KS you can easily see the property in a satellite view it's on the east side of the right of way and forms sort of a triangle shape narrow by the road and opens up to the south. I can provide more details of needed.

    rjthomas909 likes this.
  2. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    I grew up over the border in Lamar, MO, and went to school at Pittstate so I know the area pretty well.
    There's other guys on here that have more info than I do, but here is what I can tell you:
    The Parsons Sub Split off of the Ash Grove Sub at Arcadia, KS and went south to Mindenmines, then curved southwest into Pittsburg. This stretch was pulled up in the 50's I think. I have a 1952 time table that still lists it in service, but any activity on this stretch was scheduled as needed as extra traffic.
    Going out of Pittsburg to the southwest to Cherokee KS where the line intersected the Afton sub. This stretch of track is still in service with the SKOL.
    Going west out of Cherokee, the line went on west to Parsons. I think this part of the line was in use up into the 70's until the ordinance plant was shut down. This stretch would have been pulled up shortly after that. Let me know if I got that part wrong.
    Going west out of Parsons, the line went on down to Cherryvale and met the Witchita sub. I think this stretch of track was pulled up pretty early (1930's maybe?)
    I'll attach a couple screen shots for you, but I highly recommend you set up google earth on your computer. It is the best tool for looking at things like this. Check out the link below.

    Attached Files:

  3. Thanks for the overlay i will add it to Google Earth. I purchased some satellite imagery from 1973 of the Pittsburg area and it was very hard to tell if the line was still their at that time. I have found some aerial imagery from 1958 that shows the line still in place but it's hard to tell if it was in use. Just trying to find some information before spring when we get the metal detectors out and see wat we can find along the line.

    Ozarktraveler likes this.
  4. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    I forgot to include this link last night. https://www.historicaerials.com/viewer
    If you go to pittsburg you can access that 1958 aerial photo, as well as topography maps that are helpful. You can move around and zoom in and out.
    Ozarktraveler likes this.
  5. Thank's for everything if we find anything cool along the old roadbed i will take pics and post them here.
    Ozarktraveler likes this.
  6. bob_wintle

    bob_wintle Member Frisco.org Supporter

    The abandonment of the line from Cherokee had nothing to do with the closing of the Kansas Army Ammunition Plant. The plant did not officially close until 2008. As a matter of fact Munitions production still exists there to this day.
    Bob Wintle
    Parsons, Ks.
    Ozarktraveler likes this.
  7. Here is what the line looks like today looking NE. Ballast is still their and i have found some ties but no sign of any rails at this point. The biggest trees that have grown up in what was once clear are only about 8 - 10" in diameter. If anyone has any more information about this stretch or knows what milepost my location would have been along it would be nice to know. I think we are going to include Frisco signage when we remodel our barn and maybe name the rows in our orchards after things railroad related just to include some of the history in or farm. Thanks for all the info.

    Tyler Costantini

    Attached Files:

    Joe Lovett likes this.
  8. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    I've been doing some research lately on the Parsons sub, and my first post was completely wrong, so does that make me fake news?
    Looking through time tables, I have found the following:
    The first section of the sub to be pulled up was between Cherryvale and Dennis. The last time table I could find that included the line running all the way to Cherryvale is dated September 27, 1959 and the first I found that didn't include it was April, 1 1961.
    The next section to go was Dennis back to Parsons. It last showed up in Jan 1, 1975, and doesn't show in April 22, 1979.
    The remainder of the line from Parsons all the way to Arcadia was still listed in time tables up to and past the merger with BN. Looking through BN time tables, they continued to list the line as a branch line within the Springfield Division in the Jan 1, 1984. By the time of the next time table issuance, April 28, 1985, the next cuts had been made. The line is no longer listed as a separate branch line. The 3rd sub division (Kansas City - Springfield) lists Mertz as an alternate destination from Arcadia. Mertz was the location of Clements No. 22 Mine, so that leads me to think they were still serving the mine at that point. From the 5th sub division (Ft. Scott - Afton) Pittsburg and Parsons are listed as alternate destinations from Cherokee. This means that the line cut going NE out of Pittsburg up to the mine lead at Mertz. I'm guessing traffic would have been handled by locals on their respective sub divisions.
    The segment from Arcadia to to Mertz was still listed in the 1986 time table, but not in the next time table issued in 1988.
    The final cut to be made was from Cherokee out to Parsons. It was listed in the 1988 time table, but not in the 1989 time table.
    The only section left is from Cherokee to Pittsburg. At some point it was sold to the SKOL railroad and is still in use. Looking through BNSF time tables, it was sold sometime between 2002 and 2004.
  9. rjthomas909

    rjthomas909 Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Hey Ethan,

    Great research, and of specific interest to my layout. Would you have found Parsons sub timetables in the 1920-1930 timeframe? I have found one that shows the Weir Branch prior to the Afton Sub being absorbed by the Frisco, but not one that still shows Weir City from Cherokee.


    -Bob T.
    Ozarktraveler likes this.
  10. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    I'm really liking what you're doing with your layout since it represents the area so well. I haven't found any time tables from that time. Keith Robinson did a nice job of scanning and uploading a large collection of time tables, found here: http://frisco.org/shipit/index.php?forums/northern-division-employee-timetables-etts.324/
    That will cover everything except for 1979. For some reason the Afton and Parsons Subs got moved to the western division. There is a table from 1906 and 1940, so those will be the closest. If you look through the time tables, you can find a listing of significant industries that are outside of city limits. They did a great job of recording all of the mines.
  11. If you look at the google earth imagery from 1991 the track appears to be gone at that time. My guess is that it closed around 1986. Currently SKOL uses the old Frisco line from Cherryville to Pittsburg where their is a junction with KCS for about 1.5 or 2 miles where SKOL splits off on the former MOPAC line that ran from Pittsburg to Nevada MO but the track is abandoned at the Missouri state line. They only use the former MOPAC track to serve the north industrial park and their car repair shop near the Missouri state line.

    The reason for my estimate of the mid 1980's is the fact remaining ties are in very good shape, Not an exact science!

    Tyler C.
  12. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    I still don't understand there thinking with buying the line from BNSF. They had the whole ex MP line from Nevada down to Chetopa. They already had access to Pittsburg, but they tore out the ex MP track after they got the ex Frisco track. They tore out the section from Liberal to Nevada sometime in the 90s. The line past Cornell (where the repair shop is) is still there up to the south side of Liberal but mostly over grown. They had been storing cars quite a ways up the line until a few years ago.
  13. Funny thing is some of the land along the old Frisco right of way doesn't show an owner in the county GIS system so I called the city about buying it as most of the land that doesn't have an owner in the system is owned by the city. The city did some research and they think BNSF still owns the land just like the sections along the old ATSF track that ran along side the Frisco from KCS junction west. I would like to know the details, i have asked a friend that works for WATCO to look into the land and he does't think they own it. I know railroad property is very complex i have been tempted to call BNSF's property management department but I'm waiting to hear back form the county to see if anyone is paying taxes on the land.
  14. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    I'm really interested to hear what you find on that. the way I understood it, when the railroad pulled up their tracks, the land it was on was to go back to the land owners on either side.
    There's some people in that area that bought up old strip pit land and put realy nice houses in the middle of it. Can't see them from the road, but you can from google earth
  15. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    I stumbled upon some interesting information today while doing some research. In the 1979 time table, I missed a long list of special instructions that are now included in the Parsons Sub. They are instructions for trains operating between Pittsburg and Arcadia to use the KCS main from Pittsburg up to Mulberry, then continue from Mulberry up to Arcadia on Frisco trackage. Essentially this cut out the use of the line from Pittsburg out to Mindenmines and up to Mulberry. This would mean that sometime in the late 70's the Litchfield mine finally closed and rendered that stretch of track useless. The time table no longer lists Mindenmines or the MP crossing north of it. It skips from the KCS crossing to Pittsburg. I went and looked at the BN time table and sure enough it doesn't show Mindenmines or the MP crossing. Completely missed this aspect last time around, but it is a very interesting detail for operating purposes.
    Sirfoldalot and rjthomas909 like this.
  16. Peddling Joe

    Peddling Joe Frisco Employee

    Not sure if this is helpful but the KANSAS RAIL PLAN UPDATE 1999-2000 p82 shows abandoment year 1987 for 6.8 miles of Burlington Northern tracks beween Arcardia & Mertz
  17. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    That fits in perfectly with what I found in the BN time tables, with it still being listed in 86 but not 88.
  18. Do you have a link to that document? I would like to look at it!
  19. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

Share This Page