This image is a recent acquisition. The original is in rough shape and it is only 3” x 3” in size. A 600 dpi scan and just a little bit of digital tweaking, allow us to step back more than a century in time.
Given the date and the time of day, this image depicts KCC&S train #5 as it drifts into Raymore for its daily stop, while on its way to Clinton, and thence to Springfield. The time is about 2:30 PM to 3:00 PM.
The depot is typical of the KCC&S stations; the three windows in the waiting room end are a dead giveaway. The Raymore structure was 15’ x 25’ which was more than ample for the Missouri village. The depot was located near Olive and Washington Streets. The banner-type train order board lacks a lamp, and its boom carries a station sign, which is a feature that I haven’t noticed on other Leaky Roof depots. Above the baggage/freight room door is another sign that announces that this place is indeed Raymore.
The three-car train looms over the diminutive 4-4-0, which is one of Manchester-built 4-4-0’s which were built for the Leaky Roof during 1882. The locomotive has yet to receive a coonskin number plate, and it retains its “spot” number plate. When I adjusted the image, I think that I can see the number, 82. The 61” drivered locomotive produced 13,000 lbs TE from 17” x 24” cylinders, which were driven by 135 psi steam.
The three-car train taxed both locomotive and fireman, as it worked the steep grade from Mastin to Belton. The pulling capacity of the little 4-4-0 was reduced by 64% by the grade out of the Blue River valley. The stop at Belton gave the fireman the chance to clean and rebuild his fire, and the stop at Raymore, would give the fireman another opportunity to get things in order after the hard climb. The ashes and cinders that we see between the rails are the accumulation from numerous station stops.
I have read some accounts that the KCC&S followed “English” practice and laid its track with opposed joints. The image supports that contention. The rail is 56 lb, there are 19-20 ties per panel, and the rail is spiked directly to the ties. The surface line is poor, and it is easy to understand why the locals held the railroad in low regard.
A large crowd is on hand to meet the train, and attention seems to be split between the cameraman and the train. There doesn’t seem to be a particular reason for the photographer to capture this scene, so we might assume that this a typical day as the activities of the railroad intersect with the people of Raymore.
Three gentlemen in the image are wearing a “pillbox” type of cap which implies some sort of official capacity. The fellow in charge of the mail sacks may be the Raymore Postmaster (or other postal employee), the individual tending to the luggage and milk cans may be the local express man, and the man posed next to the door of the depot is most likely the KCCS station agent/operator. Could that second sack of mail be for/from # 6, which is in the vicinity?
Two members of the track gang have cleared their handcar for the number 5. They may have to wait for number 6 to pass, before they can resume their work.
There is one individual who stands apart, literally and figuratively, from the rest of the throng. He is the closest man to the “postmaster”. He has a long, flowing white mustache, he seems to be in his Sunday best, and he is topped with a natty bowler. He appears to be an individual of standing… a railroad official? A Raymore businessman/community leader? A drummer?
At the north end of the platform, are the only women in the picture. They are 2 or 3 in number, and appear to be waiting to board the train since there seems to be luggage in their vicinity.
Of the some 25 people who on the platform, it seems that only a handful are waiting to board the train. The rest are likely locals who have taken time from their daily routine to catch up on local gossip, to see who is leaving town, and to see who is arriving. It is a far cry from the big city of KC.
The leaves are gone from the trees, so the October date seems reasonable. The Frisco boxcar with a grain door has been spotted at the grain elevator for loading. It is a too late for wheat, so perhaps soybeans or perhaps corn are being loaded for shipment to market.
There is a lot in this image for the modeler, historian, Frisco (KCCS) fan, etc. to glean. The Belton-Raymore area is one of the fastest growing areas in Missouri, and traces of the KCC&S have been obliterated and are being obliterted by urban devlopment.
Thanks to Brad, Jeff, and Pat, who offered their commentary.