Salem Branch - Wesco, MO, MP A107.5 To Lost Mountain, MP A108.2 - Walk In The Weeds

Discussion in 'Salem Branch' started by wpmoreland719, Mar 1, 2023.

  1. wpmoreland719

    wpmoreland719 Member Supporter

    Salem Branch Wesco 1.jpg Salem Branch Wesco 2.jpg
    The recent enthusiasm for the Salem Branch inspired me to get off of my keister last Friday and take a walk west (geographically south) from Wesco, MP A107.5, to Lost Mountain, about MP A108.2. There was a derailment in April 1976 just east of MP A108 that has always piqued my interest, so I thought I would revisit the spot. When I was growing up and riding my motorcycle on the ROW, there was large chat contrasting with the mostly cinder ballast that marked the spot in the roadbed where the mishap occurred.

    My companion for this little trip is Katy, my four-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback. Our first place of interest is the bridge located at the west end of the siding. When the track and bridge were removed in 1985, Dad "salvaged" a couple of sticks of rail, laid them upside down on the abutments, and placed ties on the bottom of the rail bases so we would have a bridge for agriculture and recreational use. A gully washer in July 1998 washed the large stone abutments away, so he rebuilt it with the frame of a log trailer.

    The farm was purchased about 12 or 13 years ago and is now owned by Bill and Jeanie Bahr and operated as Wesco Weddings and Events. Bill added the covered portion and the little nearby water-wheel several years back. It's a popular site for wedding photos. A big thanks to Bill and Jeanie for being so generous and allowing locals like myself use of their property.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2023
  2. wpmoreland719

    wpmoreland719 Member Supporter

    Salem Branch Wesco 4.jpg Salem Branch Wesco 3.jpg

    In the left photo, we're looking west (south), while the right photo shows one of the abutments that was washed 0ut in 1998.

    Attached Files:

  3. wpmoreland719

    wpmoreland719 Member Supporter

    Salem Branch Wesco 5.jpg Salem Branch 6.jpg

    We've reached MP A107.9, site of the derailment. Cattle have trampled down the large chat that was here, but they've also exposed a small pile of joint bars partially buried in the ground. We can see from the small size of these bars that very light rail was still in place during the branch's twilight.
  4. wpmoreland719

    wpmoreland719 Member Supporter

    Salem Branch 18.jpg Salem Branch 7.jpg

    At the left is a rough-hewn tie, and at the right is a tie plate and the base of a broken rail on top of a fence post. Note the extremely small size of the rail base. Could this be one of the original 56 lb rails laid in 1873?
  5. wpmoreland719

    wpmoreland719 Member Supporter

    Salem Branch Wesco 9.jpg Salem Branch 12.jpg

    The photo to the left is of the cut-off milepost 108 sign post, while Katy explores a culvert in the photo to the right.
  6. wpmoreland719

    wpmoreland719 Member Supporter

    Salem Branch 13.jpg Salem Branch 14.jpg

    Steel milepost sign. If you look closely, you can read "108." It may have been damaged in the derailment. In any case, it was replaced with a lighter aluminum sign.
  7. It would be funny if your had gotten to mp 108 and found Jacob there!

    ha ha ha
    Coonskin likes this.
  8. wpmoreland719

    wpmoreland719 Member Supporter

    Salem Branch 15.jpg Salem Branch 16.jpg

    To the left, Katy and I are nearing the end of our journey. Bahr's property ends in the distance. If we could look through the brush and the cut a couple of hundred yards past here, we could see Roney's Gulch, the site of the bridge collapse at Lost Mountain where the brave, but allegedly inebriated Engineer Roney lost his life.

    To the right, we are heading back east and are coming to the small cut at MP A108. Frisco reported the derailment to the FRA as having occurred at MP A108.7, obviously an error. The report, No. T1A16, states that the train was a work job consisting of two locomotives and 15 cars, with six of those going on the ground. Not surprisingly, bad track (geometry) was the cause.

    This concludes our short expedition to MP A108. I wish there was more to see along the way, but at this point, nearly 40 years after the last train from Salem trundled through here, finding small things like a sign, joint bar, or piece of rail is something.

    Pat Moreland,
    Wesco, MO
  9. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Thanks Pat for sharing the anecdotes, stories, and the pics!
  10. Last edited: Mar 17, 2023

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