Trains 875/876 (Hoxie Sub)

Discussion in 'Passenger Operations' started by yardmaster, Dec 5, 2007.

  1. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    As far back as my paper history indicates, Trains 875 and 876 are found on the Hoxie Subdivision of the River Division. Well...almost. I have a 1905 "Frisco System" public timetable that shows Cape to Hoxie service rendered by Trains 815/816, which appears to have run between Saint Louis and Hoxie. So, based on the paper history I do possess, 875 and 876 look to have debuted between 1905 and 1913.

    See the attached timetable history for these two trains. From the early part of the 20th Century until at least the mid to late 1930s, Cape Girardeau was the northern terminal for what began as a passenger-only train, but wound out its life as a mixed Daily x-Sunday train. 1954 is the last ETT in my collection that shows the mixed train.

    The Frisco Museum All Aboard magazine had a multi-part series on the River Division; it notes that, by 1961, 875/876 were the Monday/Thursday local runs on the Hoxie Sub, while 873/874 were the Wednesday/Saturday counterparts (

    While it doesn't show the train itself, Karl Brand has a great thread with a swell photo taken in the early 1960s by his father, who was Hoxie Sub Roadmaster (see Hoxie Sub Trackmen). Knowing that the Hoxie Sub between Nash, MO and Pocahontas, AR was abandoned in 1965 I'd assume that dandy 875/876 disappeared before the Great Passenger Train Purge of 9-18-1965. Karl, any tidbits gleaned from your dad on a "last run" date?

    Some prototype photographic references...

    From FMIG Newsletter #41. there is a grainy Mel Nierdieck photos in the early 1950s of #875 heading north (southbound train) out of Chaffee yards past Coaling tower with 1200-series Consolidation, auxiliary water tender, OB boxcar and a truss-rod, wood-underframe coach of vintage origin.

    FMIG Newsletters

    Here's the same train a bit earlier, waiting in front of depot.
    Chaffee, MO

    First, one clarification: I have this labeled as #876 on the website but it would appear to be #875 (Chaffee TO Hoxie), as it's heading north through the Chaffee Yards on the St. Louis Subdivision, on its way to Nash and the wye connecting to the Hoxie Sub.

    THe auxiliary water tender intrigues me. The 1940 Employee Timetable shows what appears to be sufficient water supply all along the line. Perhaps there was a good deal of switching to be done that day? I'm not sure that this would explain things.

    Here's another puzzler. Note the man next to the motor car. East is to your right; west is to the left. Using the worker's shadow as a guide, the sun would appear to be setting in the west. Talk about being way off the timetable schedule!

    One of my original posts noted that in the first photo, the locomotive appears to be carrying white flags. Based on the length of the worker's shadow, I'd wager a guess that (a) #875 was 12 hours or more beyond its timetable authority, and (b) hence it was running late as an extra train. Validation or rebuttals, anyone?

    "Frisco Power" by Joe Collias also has a couple of photos of interest: one shows 875 and 876 meeting at the Poplar Bluff depot, powered by the ex-AT&N RS-1 locomotives. A photo right below that shows Caboose-Coach Combine #844, which saw service on these two trains.

    Also on the site are drawings of Caboose-Combine Coach #844 that accompany Richard Napper's article on modeling said car (

    For the modeler short on space but long for good Frisco charm, I think this line's a good possibility. It wouldn't take an overwhelming amount of motive power and rolling stock to realistically depict a day in the life of these two trains. For the intrepid scratchbuilder/kitbasher, I've separately posted Richard's article on modeling Caboose-Coach Combine #844.

    For anyone with additional notes, clarifications, etc. I invite you to add more on an interesting train!

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Aug 9, 2018
  2. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Supporter

    As far as I can determine, 875/876 became freight-only between 1957 and 1959.

    If you examine your River Division ETT, the times listed for 875/876 at Chaffee are in smaller, italicized type face (in more modern parlance that would be font). This means that the times listed are “informational”. The St Louis Sub does not list a “schedule” for 875/876 between Chaffee and Nash, and therefore no authority exists for those trains to operate between those points. Therefore, I believe that all Hoxie Subdivision movements between Nash and Chaffee were operated as extras, or possibly as a section of another train. So the flags on the depicted train may not be anything extraodinary.

    Once at Nash, and on Hoxie Subdivision rails the train would run on timetable authority.

    The late afternoon sun is a puzzler. I have one other possibility beside a very late 875. I wonder if this might be a train off the Leachville Subdivision that has just arrived from Brooks Junction. There is a problem with this thesis; as I recall 1200 were too heavy for the Leachville Subdivision.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 7, 2007
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  3. timothy_cannon

    timothy_cannon Member Supporter

    50 years ago: March 21, 1957

    Testimony is completed in the morning in the Public Service Commission's hearing in Common Pleas Court on the abandonment of regular mixed train service between Chaffee and Poplar Bluff, Mo., by the Frisco Railroad; Frisco contends business doesn't justify regular service on the segment of the Hoxie branch line.

    I have not found anything more yet but will keep looking.
  4. timothy_cannon

    timothy_cannon Member Supporter

    75 years ago: Feb. 5, 1932

    It is announced that separate passenger and freight service on the Hoxie branch of the Frisco Railroad, from Cape Girardeau to Hoxie, Ark., will be discontinued Sunday; freight and passenger service will be consolidated into a mixed train, one leaving here at 5 a.m. and arriving at Hoxie at 4 p.m., and the other leaving Hoxie at 7 a.m. and arriving here at 5 p.m.
  5. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Ah! Good catch Karl. I think I'd never really looked too carefully at the St. Louis Sub times for the trains but that explains it. Wonder if that would qualify it for shortest extra train run anywhere on the SL-SF? There's another potential thread!

    I'm intrigued by your hypothesis on a Leachville Sub train. I'll have to do more digging - my own paper trail only has bridge class info that either predates the photo or post-dates it.

    Tim, great detective work - I'm amazed by how often that "Out of the Past" item has railroad references. Seems that even when I think I'm checking it daily I missed good bits here and there. That info helps considerably in piecing together the history of 875/876.

    Great job, gentlemen! Hope everyone in Missouri along and north of I-44 still has power on a very icy morning.
  6. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    An addendum to the message that Tim already posted, also from the Southeast Missourian on 9-23-1958:

    Passenger service over the last link of the Frisco's Hoxie line, once a flourishing business between Cape Girardeau and Hoxie, Ark., will end shortly on the final remaining section, between Poplar Bluff, Mo., and Hoxie; passenger service between Cape Girardeau and Poplar Bluff over the Hoxie line was discontinued several years ago.

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