Vista Cut-Off

Discussion in 'Clinton Subdivision' started by Karl, Jan 20, 2020.

  1. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Supporter

    With the “merger” between the Frisco and the Memphis Road, the Frisco found itself with duplicate routes and agencies. June 7, 1901 Railway Age

    Although not mentioned in the Railway Age article, the KCOS, which traversed the Vista, Missouri segment was one of the first pieces of the Highline – Leaky Roof corridor to be abandoned. I have tried during the past several years to determine why the newer Frisco segment was abandoned vis a’ vis the KCCS, and when the abandonment occurred. My initial research led me to believe that this occurred circa 1902-1904. I sent a query to the St Clair County Genealogical Society, and one year later I received response that indicated that a derailment on the high trestle over Brush Creek led to a ruling by the Missouri Railroad Commission to condemn the structure. The derailed cars remained on the trestle. Folks at the Genealogical Society gave a date of 1912, which I thought to be too late, because of ETT evidence. I continued to fix the date circa 1902-1904.

    During the holidays, I found a clue in the Albany, Missouri newspaper. Mr. T. S. Tracy of Vista, Missouri wrote a letter to the Albany Capital to update friends in his former “home town” of his current situation. In his letter of January 27, 1908, Mr Tracy notes, “We are next week to have a union station of the two railroads. When I first came here (Vista) I saw the disadvantage of two roads, but only one station, and commenced working for a junction depot. Next week, both our roads will begin stopping at this depot (Vista), of which I have charge, and the one of the junctions has been named “Tracy Junction”.

    The Henry County Democrat, April 2, 1908 notes that a very unusual sight may be witnessed at Vista… “ The Frisco Railroad recently completed a cut off at that place in order to use the same depot as the Memphis (Road) and thus was able to avoid the high and dangerous trestle a short distance north of town. The track thus abandoned is something over 3 miles in length and is almost totally filled with idle box and flat cars. It is said that there are over three hundred of them.” That would total about 12,000 feet of idle cars. The recession triggered by the panic of 1907 which worsened through June 1908 caused storage of the cars.

    The Jan 17, 1960 Springfield Leader and Press ran an article about “Ghost Trains in the Hills” and that article cites a 1908 date for the abandonment of the Highline between Osceola [sic] and Tracy Junction. The north end of abandonment was at Harlan Junction.

    As a general rule I am skeptical of newspaper reports, but the three articles add confidence to the 1908 date.

    Last edited: Jan 24, 2020
  2. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Excellent reporting, Karl!
    Sirfoldalot and Karl like this.
  3. tferk

    tferk Member Supporter

    Great research Karl! Thanks for posting.
  4. palallin

    palallin Member


    Be neat to see a pic of that lonesome bridge if anyone has one.
    Sirfoldalot likes this.
  5. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Supporter

    During the mid 70’s, my brother and I walked the site and took a few slides. We could not find any remnants of the structure.
    Sirfoldalot likes this.
  6. rcmck

    rcmck Member Supporter

    Interesting read Karl!

    Bob McKeighan
    Sirfoldalot likes this.
  7. Sirfoldalot

    Sirfoldalot Supporter Supporter

    WOW, KARL! Your diligence and perseverance in researching these articles never ceases to amaze me. You are truly a marvelous individual who contributes so much to this body!
    Joe Lovett likes this.
  8. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Supporter

    Now, we’re getting somewhere. After heads up from a FB post, which has pics of the event.... .... I looked and found a more detailed, more accurate, and longer account of the accident which happened during the morning of November 16, 1899. It would appear from the posted images that work had started to rebuild the structure not long after the collapse.


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