St. Louis - Commuter, Suburban, Local

Discussion in 'Passenger Operations' started by XMOP, Aug 28, 2012.

  1. XMOP

    XMOP Member

    I am looking for a little help with information on commuter rail service in the St. Louis area.

    I have recently started as a tour guide at the Museum of Transportation, and while in the MoPac Pacific Local commuter car have been asked questions about the history or commuter rail service in St. Louis.

    I know that the Pacific Local took about an hour and a half to make its run and it made 19 stops. I also know that in the 1920s about 120 local/commuter/suburban train operated out of Union Station and more than 20 more Wabash trains started at the foot of Washington Ave.

    To improve my responses, I am interested in knowing which railroads operated local service in St. Louis and a listing of the stops that they served. Any material in addition to that would be considered a bonus

    Ron Zimmer
  2. WindsorSpring

    WindsorSpring Member

    As we say to everyone, "You have come to the right place." My "board-name" is an adaptation of one of the suburban stations. I know searching Stations G-P (as in "K" for "Kirkwood") will yield a wealth of information. Searching the passenger sub-forum under "Operations" might prove helpful as well. There may be some schedules posted, too. Good hunting!
  3. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Supporter

    Ron - WindsorSpring and I, and others, talked a lot about the Frisco St Louis commuter service in 1931 many months ago. Do a search in for "Commuter 1931" and you will find the thread.

    I do have a 1931 Frisco commuter timetable, St Louis to Pacific.

  4. pensive

    pensive Member Supporter

  5. gstout

    gstout Member Supporter

    Prior to 1933 Wabash operated a single commuter schedule known informally as "The Comm" between St. Charles and the Eads Bridge station in St. Louis. Frisco was out of the commuter business by 1933, prior to which it ran three weekday trains and one weekend job between St. Louis and Valley Park. At one time the Iron Mountain ran service between St. Louis and DeSoto, but exited that business before 1930. Going back even further, MP had commuter service between Portal-Omaha and Pleasant Hill-Kansas City, as well as between Creve Coeur Lake and St. Louis. MoPac's was still running six weekday trains and two weekend trains until June 22, 1940, when a fire in the Union Station control tower forced the elimination of all but a single pair of trains (no doubt MP was not sorry to see the service cut). The last MP commuter run between Pacific and St. Louis took place on December 15, 1961. Reportedly, a slightly inebriated rider jumped off and blew "Taps" at each stop out to Kirkwood.

  6. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Supporter

    My June, 1931 Frisco Suburban service Timetable reflects commuter service running at that time as follows:

    Daily: St Louis - Valley Park, 10 trains daily, counting #'s 3,5,9,11. Pure commuter runs stopped at 15 or 16 stations.
    Daily: Valley Park - St Louis, 6 trains daily, counting #'s 6 & 12. Pure commuter runs stopped at 16 or 17 stations.
    Saturday only: St Louis - Pacific, 6 trains daily, counting #'s 3,5,9,11. Pure commuter runs stopped at 27 to 29 stations.
    Sunday only: St Louis - Pacific, 5 trains daily, counting #'s 3,5,9,11. Pure commuter run stopped at 27 stations.
    Saturday only, Pacific - St Louis: 2 trains daily, #'s 6 and 12. They stopped at 15 and 20 stations.
    Sunday only, Pacific - St Louis: 3 trains daily, counting #'s 6 and 12. the pure commuter run stopped at 28 stations.

    #'s 3 and 6 were mainline trains, but they stopped at many of the commuter stations.

    FYI WindsorSprings - all of the commuter runs stopped at Windsor Springs.

    Counting St Louis Union Station, there were 30 stops possible between StLUS and Pacific.

    This timetable also includes St Louis - Cuba, Cuba - Salem, and St Louis - Cape Girardeau tables.

  7. XMOP

    XMOP Member

    Thanks for all of the suggestions. I appriciate the help. I had found the referenced timetables and maps, they were very helpful, I had almost forgotten about the Creve Couer line as potential for commuter service. Does anyone have timetables or station listings for the Frisco on the southeast line through Barnhardt, or the MOP/Iron Mountain lines sout on the river and through the city south of Tower Grove to South Broadway?

    As for the Wabash, I had read in a 1922 city planning report that Wabash ran service from both Union Station and Washington Station as origins. It said that there were 20+ trains at Washington (Wabash only) and 120+ (all lines) from Union Station. The report was to be a basis for a commuter/suburban only rail station closer to downtown than Union Station. Considering the Washington Station, does anyone know for sure if this service worked off street level or the Hi-Line?

    Can anyone confirm the several other roads that ran commuter service? I am guessing the Rock Island, CB&Q, and maybe the KATY for the Missouri side of the river. I will leave the east side for later.

    Ron Zimmer
  8. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Supporter

    Ron - See my earlier posting under the thread "Frisco Kirkwood Mo Depot location".

  9. pensive

    pensive Member Supporter

    MRandBT TT 001.jpg IronMountain 001.jpg Merchants Bridge 001.jpg WabashSubTT2 001.jpg WabashSubTT1 001.jpg
    Although there is no Frisco content, here are additional pages from 1905 Visitor's Guide of St. Louis that show timetables of steam railroads that provided commuter operations in the area. Included are the 2 Wabash routes, Iron Mountain, Merchant's Bridge and the Mississippi River & Bonne Terre. The pamplet shows no evidence that the Rock Island, the Burlington, the Katy or the River division of the Frisco conducted dedicated suburban operations. It also listed tens of "electric" railway lines, so it must have been easy to get around by rail at this time.

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2012
  10. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Supporter

    Thanks Rich, very interesting. I had seen some Wabash commuter schedules, but not the others.

    When I was a kid (late 1940's-early 1950's) my dad worked downtown on Olive Street for an electrical company - he was an electrical engineer. We only had one car, and it stayed home usually with mom. I wish I recalled how my dad got to work and back each day, I don't recall any details. I'm sure it was a combination of bus, street car and rail. I'm guessing he used bus/street car to the Wabash Delmar Station, then train downtown, and bus/street car to his office. I know he was very familiar with Delmar Station as I do remember him taking me there for my very first ride on a train (but that's another story - during WW2 my mom took me east on the PRR to visit him at some US Army base, but I was just a little guy then). We rode the Wabash down to StLUS, then caught a street car back out to Delmar Station. I was thrilled with both "first" rides, and remember them well.

    St Louis had a lot of ways to get around back then.

  11. gstout

    gstout Member Supporter


    Doubt very much that your dad took the train downtown from Delmar Station in the 1940s or 1950s unless he was able to snag an inbound long-distance from Detroit or Omaha, as Wabash commuter service was long gone by that time (only MP's operation remained). I am not really familiar with the operations, but it is possible he took a streetcar operated by Public Service, as they ran a line called the "Delmar Loop." The excerpt below is from a book called "St. Louis Streets and Streetcars," by Andrew D. Young (2002):

    By 1946/1947, eight of the original streetcar lines had been removed, leaving “just over half the original streetcar system . . . operational.” By the 1950s, “a major chunk of St. Louis County once served by streetcar had no meaningful public transit of any kind.” Adding to the demise of the streetcars and the public transportation system in general, says Young, was the increasing interest in television and alternative forms of transportation: “transport-a-lift from a friend, a cab, or worst of all, their own automobile.”

    From late June 1951, says Young, “the only streetcar routes left were the Hodiamont and Wellston, the Olive lines to Big Bend, Clayton (Walinca) and Delmar loops, plus the cross-town Broadway, Jefferson and Grand lines” – far fewer routes than had existed in previous decades. Those who grew up in Wellston and took the Hodiamont and Wellston lines were therefore fortunate in getting to experience the streetcars far longer than did residents in other parts of the metro area.

  12. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Supporter

    Greg -

    Could very well be he commuted all the way via StL Public Service streetcar and/or bus, I'm not sure of the details. All I remember was that he left without the car, he knew Delmar Station very well, and we usually drove to the Page/North & South intersection to meet him at a bus stop there in the evening.

    I do remember the train we caught at Delmar Station to Union Station was a big one - it was Wabash blue & silver, streamlined, diesel powered. I remember it pulling into the station as we stood on the platform, and once on the train, I recall sitting in a coach and looking at some suited businessmen staring at me like they were wondering "what are you doing on here kid?". I think we caught the train at Delmar around mid-day as I seem to recall we ate lunch in or around StLUS. I recall we took the streetcar back out to Delmar Station, where we had parked our car.

    Another memory is from my 5th or 6th grade class - we took a similar trip on the Wabash, but this time from StLUS out to Delmar Station. This would have been 1952-1953-1954. I recall it was The Banner Blue we rode out to Delmar. I remember how exciting it was walking out to the train at Union Station, with another one (it was blue - WAB, B&O, MP?) along side of us. I remember I was surprised we had a steam engine - it was also blue, and had only two driving wheels as I recall. I'm not a Wabash expert - did The Banner Blue leave StLUS around mid-day plus or minus, and was it still sometimes steam powered in those years, and could it possibly have had a 4-4-2 for power? I do clearly remember a blue steam engine, with only two driving wheels. I wished we had a diesel.

    See, even back then I was a diesel guy! :^)

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 6, 2012

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