Central Division General Comments

Discussion in 'General' started by frederick, May 19, 2001.

  1. frederick

    frederick Guest

    Hi All,

    Which subsidiary and division was this line? I have not found much info on it. Was is ever a main? Does not look like much industry on it, is that correct?


  2. jmannmanny

    jmannmanny Guest

    Hello Fred
    The Ft.Smith-Paris,Texas line was indeed a main line of the Frisco. It was built in the late 1880's for the Frisco to connect with Santa Fe's Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe RR at Paris. This gave Frisco thru service between St.Louis, Ft.Worth, Houston and Galveston.

    The Atlantic & Pacific RR, owned by Frisco, had been awarded land grants all the way from western Missouri to San Francisco. Rails were built westward into Oklahoma, but Indian tribes (and others) successfully blocked extension across Oklahoma. A line was built from the Missouri division to connect with Santa Fe at Wichita. Frisco and Santa Fe were to build the Westen division of A & P, starting near Albuquerque,N.M and proceeding on toward San Francisco. Santa Fe would carry thru from Wichita to Albuquerque, and the Indian blockage would be bypassed.

    As noted above, the Ft.Smith-Paris line opened up the great southwest to Frisco.

    A lot has been written about Frisco's early days. Joe Collias's "Frisco Power" has a good short presentation. A more thorough story is in Dr. H.Craig Miner's "The St.Louis-San Francisco Transcontinental Railroad..the Thirty-fifth Parallel Project, 1853-1890."

    Regards John Mann
  3. john

    john Guest

    Will someone direct me to any available information about the FRISCO "Mansfield (AR) Branch". On the 71 timetable it is the Central Branch, Arthur Sub, Southwestern Div. but from 1880's until ? it ran south to Mansfield, AR. where it shared a station with the Rock Island. It was built as a branch line to the Huntington coal fields, but because that town belonged to a coal company and was poorly situated to be a regional trade hub, the line was continued two additional miles where a new town, Mansfield, was created. For many years this branch was a connection for westbound Rock Island passengers from Mansfield to Fort Smith via a daily mixed roundtrip locally called the "Slicker". The "Slicker" was based at Mansfield and ran to the Union station in Fort Smith rather than the Frisco station.

    I believe the tracks were first pulled from Mansfield back to Huntington (1940/50's?)and perhaps again later on back to the Midland area. Can anyone provide dates or any other information including when this branch was finally abandoned and the track pulled to Jenson Jct.?

    Finally, some years ago the operator (BN?, it was after the Frisco days) was going to abandon this whole Poteau/Fort Smith section of track but the plans were dropped after some kids managed to lower the only remaining Arkansas River bridge into Fort Smith onto a passing tow damaging the bridge and making this track temporarly the only way into/from Fort Smith for any railroad. I believe the size of the tunnel, south of Fort Smith, forced large cars to be moved through individually. Again does anyone have access to dates or other information?

    Thanks, John
  4. rogerrt477

    rogerrt477 Guest

    Ft Smith, AR to Paris, TX

    Ft.Smith, AR. to Paris, TX.-

    M.P.- Station--------- Blt. Aban. Sold P.C-
    417.5 Ft.Smith, AR.--- 1886 ---- 1989 F&FS
    425.3 Cedars, OK.---- 1886 ---- 1989 F&FS
    428.1 Bonanza, AR.--- 1886 ---- 1989 F&FS
    431.1 Jenson, AR.---- 1886 ----- 1989 F&FS

    431.1 Jenson, AR.----- 1887 ---- 1989 SLSF
    433.3 Maney Jct, OK.-- 1887 ---- 1989 SLSF
    433.4 Rock Island----- 1887 ---- 1989 SLSF
    438.4 Cameron-------- 1887 ---- 1989 SLSF
    446.4 Poteau--------- 1887 ----- 1989 SLSF
    454.9 Wister---------- 1887 1985 ---- SLSF
    460.8 O'Hara---------- 1887 1952 ---- SLSF
    462.9 Summerfield----- 1887 1952 ---- SLSF
    464.9 Folsom---------- 1887 1952 ---- SLSF
    470.6 Leflore---------- 1887 1980 ---- SLSF
    477.2 Bengal---------- 1887 1980 ---- SLSF
    485.5 Talihina--------- 1887 1980 ---- SLSF
    492.1 Albion----------- 1887 1980 ---- SLSF
    497.5 Kiamichi--------- 1887 1980 ---- SLSF
    503.2 Tuskahoma------ 1887 1980 ---- SLSF
    508.5 Clayton--------- 1887 1980 ---- SLSF
    516.2 Stanley--------- 1887 1980 ---- SLSF
    518.1 Crum Creek------ 1887 1980 ---- SLSF
    524.2 Dunbar---------- 1887 1980 ---- SLSF
    527.1 Eubanks--------- 1887 1980 ---- SLSF
    532.7 Kosoma---------- 1887 1980 ---- SLSF
    535.5 Moyers---------- 1887 1980 ---- SLSF
    543.7 Antlers---------- 1887 ---- 1987 SLSF
    550.7 Hamden--------- 1887 ---- 1987 SLSF
    553.1 Speer----------- 1887 ---- 1987 SLSF
    560.8 Hugo------------ 1887 ---- 1987 SLSF
    565.8 Grant, OK.------ 1887 ---- 1987 SLSF
    570.9 Authur City, TX. 1887 ---- 1987 SLSF

    570.9 Authur City, TX. 1887 ---- 1987 P&GN
    575.1 Powderly------- 1887 ---- 1987 P&GN
    580.5 Hinckley-------- 1887 ---- 1987 P&GN
    585.9 Paris----------- 1887 ---- 1987 P&GN

    Predecessor Companies-
    1) F&FS-Fort Smith & Southern RY
    2) SLSF-St.Louis; San Francisco RY
    3) P&GN-Paris & Great Northern RR

    1) Connects with Ft.Smith Sub at Ft.Smith.
    2) Trackage rights Midland Valley on Frisco from Ft.Smith to Maney Junction, OK.
    3) Interchanges with Midland Valley & Missouri Pacific RR at Ft.Smith.
    4) Interchanges with Kansas City Southern Lines at Poteau. Trackage rights KCS on Frisco Poteau to Ft.Smith 1943 until sale to KCS 1986.
    5) Interchanges with Rock Island RR at Wister.
    6) Connects with Arkinda-Admore Sub at Hugo
    7) Interchanges with Santa Fe & Southern Pacific RR at Paris.
    8) Paris end-of-line.
    9) 6.747-miles of the Wister to Leflore section relocated 1952 account Wister Dam & Reservior project. New line abandoned 1980.
    10) Freight service in the 1960s reduced to one tri-weekly local.
    11) Wister to Antlers abandoned 11/1980.
    12) Tracks removed Wister to Antlers, OK. 1982.
    13) Last BN train from Ft.Smith to Wister run on 3/15/1984 with BN 2305 (SLSF 450) still in red & white.
    14) Ft.Smith, AR. to Poteau, OK. leased to Kansas City Southern Lines 2/9/1985, sold to KCS 11/13/1989.
    15) Poteau to Wister, OK. donated to State of Oklahoma 1986 by KCS, converted into a hiking trail.
    16) Tracks removed from Poteau (KCS Crossing) to Wister 1986.
    17) Antlers to Paris sold to Kiamichi RR 7/22/1987.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 21, 2005
  5. rogerrt477

    rogerrt477 Guest

    Jenson to Mansfield, AR

    Jenson to Mansfield, AR.-

    M.P. Station---- Blt.- Aban. P.C.
    13.6 Jenson---- 1886 1985 LR&T
    15.3 Hackett--- 1886 1985 LR&T
    17.3 Doubleday- 1886 1985 LR&T
    23.0 Montreal-- 1886 1985 LR&T
    24.3 Midland--- 1886 1985 LR&T
    26.8 Arkoal---- 1886 1978 LRT
    28.1 Central--- 1886 1978 LR&T
    29.3 Huntington 1886 1970 LR&T
    32.2 Mansfield- 1886 1959 LR&T

    Predescessor Company-
    1) LR&T-Little Rock & Texas RR

    1) Connects with Authur Sub, Central Division at Jenson.
    2) Interchanges with Midland Valley RR at Hackett & Montreal.
    3) Interchanges with Rock Island RR at Mansfield.
    4) Mansfield end-of-line.
    5) Tracks removed Central to Huntington 1975.
    6) Tracks removed Midland to Central 1980.
    7) Tracks removed Jenson to Midland 1986.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 21, 2005
  6. chris

    chris Guest

    John and all:
    "Official List of Officers, Stations..." No. 18 from 5-1-1926 shows the following information:

    Mansfield is listed as Station No. B447 of the Central Division, Mansfield Branch, Arthur Subdivision, 447.2 miles from St. Louis. Telegraph call was "M F" and included a freight station, coupon ticket station and local ticket station. Name of the agent not listed.

    The SLSF did have a junction with the CRI&P at that time. There was also a coaling station (cars only).

    Unfortunately, I don't have any abandonment information for this part of the Frisco. I'll try to check some of my mid-1950s maps and see what I can find.

    Chris Abernathy
  7. chris

    chris Guest

    My 1955 rail chart (6.15.1955 to be exact) still shows the line from Jenson to Mansfield intact; 70# or less rail, with an "E50" bridge rating. Consequently, it would appear that abandonment occurred sometime after this date.

    One note that I found interesting: Roger's chart below shows 18.6 miles between Jenson and Mansfield; however, my 1926 list shows 17.9 miles (Jenson listed as 429.3 miles from St. Louis). Any thoughts?
  8. arkieron

    arkieron Guest

    I am looking for copies of an old cental division timetable like 1950s for Fort Smith and Arthur Subs. I would purchase a timetable in this vintage or would also enjoy a copy of these two subs. RLH
  9. george

    george Guest

    I thought that the Central line from Monnett to Paris, Tx was THE main line for Frisco's named Pass. Trains as well as it main fright line. But yet, I don't see any large steam engines operating on this line. 4-8-2 & 4-8-4's. Just the old 1300 seris 2-8-0 and the 1000 series Pacific. Where was the larger power used? And what was the mainline to the Dalls/Fort Worth area?
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 21, 2005
  10. paul

    paul Guest


    The line from Monnett to Paris,TX was the original mainline to Texas.

    The second mainline to Texas Diverged from the Tulsa-Oklahoma City line at Sapulpa,OK, and went from there south through Denison,TX to the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

    The Texas Special was actually routed over the Katy From Vinita,OK to San Antonio,TX.

    The Passeger Northern's were actually purchased for the Meteor Between St. Louis and OKC.

    I'll let someone more knowledgeable in Frisco steam answer the rest of your question.
  11. In the early 1920's (and possibly earlier) Central Coal & Coke Company of Kansas City operated a locomotive from Bonanza, AR which hauled coal over Frisco rail from various mines to their coal washer at Doubleday on the Mansfield branch. Central Coal also "made up and delivered coal trains to the KCS at Poteau, OK". Does anyone have any information about this operation? Does anyone have an information about the sidings and industrial tracks at Bonanza?

    Thanks, John
  12. chris

    chris Guest

    Bonanza (426.3 miles from St. Louis) on the Arthur Subdivision

    Here is some information from the May 1, 1926 "Official List of Officers, Stations, Agents, Etc. of the
    St. Louis-San Francisco Railway Co." et. al. No. 18. It lists Bonanza (426.3 miles from St. Louis) on the Arthur Subdivision.

    While I have no ETT, this book lists some of the following info:

    Station No. 85 (for Freight Accounting Purposes).
    Telegraph Call: B Z
    Kind of Agency: Freight station and local ticket station.
    Name of agent: "(Not Listed)"
    NO coaling station, NO stock pens

    There are also some
    interesting entries for the Mansfield Branch (via Jenson at MP 429.3. None of these show any info on telegraph calls, agents or station numbers for freight account purposes. All are marked as "prepay freight stations" and
    might ring bells with those familiar with the area:

    Distance from STL/Station No./Station Name
    430.5 / B430 / Branner
    433.1 / B431 / Doubleday
    438.6 / B438 / Montreal Smokeless
    438.7 / B439 / Montreal
    440.0 / B440 / Smokeless No. 2
    440.6 / B441 / Dallas No. 8
    442.3 / B442 / Smokeless No. 3
    442.5 / B443 / Arkoal
    443.0 / B443 / Central Mine No. 6
    443.3 / B443 / Central Mine No. 3
    444.2 / B444 / Central Mine No. 45
    444.4 / B444 / Central Mine No. 24
    444.8 / B445 / Central Mine No. 2
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 21, 2005
  13. john

    john FRISCO.org Supporter

    Re: Central Division

    I have a follow up question. An Arkansas Geological Survey publication dated 1936 uses Bonanza as a survey point. "BONANZA, Y connection Mo & La Ry (SLSF 244) ele 496.84" Apparently this "Missouri & Louisania Railway" is the Bonanza Industrial Track above? Anyone have ANY info on a Mo & La Ry track in Sebastian County, Arkansas? THANKS, John
  14. tomd6 (Tom Duggan RIP 2/11/2018)

    tomd6 (Tom Duggan RIP 2/11/2018) Passed Away February 11, 2018

    Re: Central Division

    The Missouri & Louisiana operated from 1903 to September 1914 when it went into the Bevier Southern. The Bevier Southern was was a coal hauling line in Missouri as of 1960. The Bevier Southern connected to the CB & Q.
  15. john

    john FRISCO.org Supporter

    Re: Central Division

    Thanks for the information,

    The little branch at Bonanza in Sebastian County, AR (just south of Fort Smith) was all on Central Coal & Coke Company land. They were a primary coal supplier for the Frisco in the coal burning days. I'm starting to wonder if Central Coal owned the Missouri and ?Louisiana

    This could explain why they (Central) kept a locomotive at Bonanza, and it probably explains why I never find any reference to that track on Frisco sources. Frisco probably didn't operate much, if any, on that little branch. Central was very cozy with Frisco after it purchased Frisco's K & T Coal Company but Central also had strong ties with KCS.


    Note: edited to add "at Bonanza" in Sebastian "County"
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 18, 2005
  16. tomd6 (Tom Duggan RIP 2/11/2018)

    tomd6 (Tom Duggan RIP 2/11/2018) Passed Away February 11, 2018

    Re: Central Division

    1. There is no place named Sebastian, AR. Sebastian COUNTY includes Fort Smith and Mansfield.
    2. The Frisco never owned the K & T Coal Co (see the ICC Valuation Report). The Frisco owned the Arkansas & Coal Mining Company on the Mansfield Branch. The railroad leased it out to third parties so as not to compete with shippers. The Arkansas Coal & Mining Company was dissolved in 1955.
    3. The Mansfield Branch was an important branch for the Frisco at various times.
    a. The branch generated lots of coal traffic up until 1914 when production peaked. There was a rebound in coal production from 1940 to just after World War Two as St. Louis passed a smokeless coal ordinance in 1940. The advent of natural gas for domestic heating killed the market.The Frisco itself was not a user of Mansfield Branch coal as most Central Division steam engines converted to oil in the mid-1920s.Since coal is a heavy low value commodity I believe the Frisco purchased coal in other divisions from track side operators in Kansas,Missouri etc.and
    b. The Mansfield Branch had four passenger trains daily as late as 1919.
    c. The Frisco and Rock Island interchanged traffic at the Mansfield yard for Fort Smith (the second largest city in Arkansas ) and other Central Division points.
    d. The Midland Valley operated passenger service to/from Fort Smith using the Mansfield Branch at Hackett.
    Bottom Line -The Mansfield Branch was not always an underutilized strek of rust.
    4. Given the immense power of railroad operating unions it does not seem logical that the Frisco operating employees would permit a third party operator to take jobs away from unionized employees. The unions exerted a choke hold on most railroad managements until the 1960s. I cannot imagine that the Frisco Legal Department would have been happy with the type of arrangement you describe.
  17. john

    john FRISCO.org Supporter

    Re: Central Division

    Sorry about the typo, I somehow left out the word Sebastian "County".

    Yes, you are correct that Frisco technically never "owned" Kansas & Texas Coal. The story I have, as it was published at the time (ca. 1905), can be condensed to something like this.

    (1) Frisco got into the coal business in Crawford County, southeastern Kansas when it purchased the Moffatt & Sergeant. In this deal they acquired the Oswego Coal Company.
    (2) Frisco formed the Rogers Coal Company to take over these coal operations (ca. 1882). This company was named for the general superintendent of the railroad.
    (3) In ca. 1885 the Rogers Coal Company changed names again. The Kansas state legislature had passed a law to discourage railroads operating in the state from also owning coal lands or doing coal business in the state. Rogers Coal Company was disolved and Kansas & Texas formed to take over its operations. Frisco and K & T were separate companies with basically the same officers. In other words K & T was a "front" for the Frisco.

    I do know that K & T continued the sequence of numbering its mines which had been started by Oswego and continued by Rogers.

    (Same source gave this history of the "Moffat & Sargeant". "Among the first to appreciate the importance of the coal which underlaid this section were Messrs. Moffatt and Sergeant of Joplin, and when Colonel Edwin E. Brown of Girard laid before them his scheme to build a railroad southeast from a junction with the Gulf road at Girard to the zinc mines, passing through the coal fields, they put up the capital and built the road and bought hundreds of acres of land, comprising the townsite of Pittsburg...Work started at once on the railroad, construction being commenced at Girard..")

    When coal lands in Sebastian County, AR were purchased and/or leased prior to the construction of the Little Rock & Texas Railway (we know it as the Mansfield branch of the Frisco), some of them went to Arkansas Coal & Mining but most of the best lands, including those at what would become Huntington, Arkansas, went to Kansas and Texas Coal Company which from 1888 provided large amounts of locomotive fuel for the Frisco from its mines there. (Much, much more than the companies which leased from Arkansas Coal and it's successor companies did or could.) Frisco did not put all it's "eggs" into one basket, but maintained two separate coal supplies from the area. This was the Arkansas "smokeless" coal which was in great demand for passenger service at that time.

    Kansas & Texas Coal was technically part of the Missouri Kansas and Texas Trust Company, and so on... but check the officers of all these "independent" companies. Kansas & Texas was always in trouble in Kansas, in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) and in Arkansas. Much of this was union trouble. I'll skip the details but a company called The Keith & Pery Coal Company had reorganized into the Central Coal & Company in 1893 and in 1902 additional stock was sold and the funds used to purchase Kansas & Texas Coal. (Reportedly at Arthur Stilwell's suggestion.) From this time Central Coal was a very major coal supplier to Frisco.

    The "industrial tracks" at Bonanza were laid at about this time. I don't have many additional details on them, that is what I was seeking. I understand there are some interesting entries in at least one Moody's Railroad Manual for the early 1920's which apparently refer to the operation over Frisco rail by Central Coal that I mentioned in an earlier post, and which has been attested to by older residents of Sebastian County, Arkansas. Locomotive coal was by now in very low demand and Central Coal discontinued operation of its Arkansas mines about 1923/24. (Other, much smaller companies continued to mine coal there much longer and ship by rail over the various local railroads.)

    These Bonanza tracks are not part of, and don't connect with the Mansfield Branch. They Y off to the east at Bonanza, several miles north of Jenson.

    I am not aware of any case of the Midland Valley ever operating on the Mansfield Branch of the Frisco. Midland Valley operated from Hartford and Greenwood to Excelsior and from that point west on its own rail. The Little Rock & Texas tracks ran north of Hackett, near the Oklahoma line, while the Midland Valley ran south of the town. Midland Valley did operate into Fort Smith over shared Frisco rail, from a junction near Rock Island, Oklahoma, but to my knowledge never over the Mansfield Branch (Jenson to Mansfield)
  18. john

    john FRISCO.org Supporter

    Re: Central Division

    Here is a followup on Midland Valley to Fort Smith, AR over Frisco rail which was mentioned in earlier posts. Midland Valley's options for economically reaching Fort Smith, AR were very limited (by geography and the presence of a number of other railroads) at the time that line was constructed. The option finally chosen was to lease trackage rights from Frisco. Some details of the arrangement have survived.

    The interchange was at Maney Junction, IT. (My g.grandfather was killed there in April 1908 when he was run over by MV)

    The total cost to MVRR for the year 1908 was $13,049 for track rent, $750 use of Frisco's passenger station, $3,000 track maintanance and $2,100 station operating expense for a total of $18,899. (It is possible that MV may have later gotten this rate reduced a little as an internal document from 1911 gives the rate as $600 per mile.)

    In 1908 MVRR was operating 6 trains/day over this leased Frisco track, except on Sunday when only one was operated. Average operating distance was rounded to 16 miles from Maney to the Frisco depot.

    In Aug. 1910 Frisco submitted a bill to MV for the completed replacement of the original 1886 60# rail. Frisco documents showed the original rail was removed from Maney to Jenson but the 60# rail from Jenson to Fort Smith had originally been on the Bentonville Branch ("for 3 or 4 years"). The replacement rail was 75#.

    This stretch of track includes what is reputed to be the only railroad tunnel in Oklahoma. The "story" is that Frisco used convict labor for much of the construction of the Winslow tunnel (north of Fort Smith) and "lost" quite a few of the convicts in the process. A few years later when Frisco needed convicts again for the "Backbone" tunnel south of Fort Smith they were turned down by Arkansas. They solved this problem by making a jog to the west where the tunnel was built by available Indian Territory convicts.

    Both former Frisco tunnels are still in use. Winslow by the Arkansas Missouri Railroad and the Poteau, OK to Fort Smith, AR track is now the Fort Smith Branch of the Kansas City Southern (if that's what it's still called).
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 17, 2005
  19. tomd6 (Tom Duggan RIP 2/11/2018)

    tomd6 (Tom Duggan RIP 2/11/2018) Passed Away February 11, 2018

    Re: Central Division

    Thanks for the explanation regarding regarding MV trackage rights on the Frisco's Mansfield Branch. Fort Smith was a joint ticket agency for the Frisco and the MV.
    I did a detailed writeup on the Winslow Tunnel posted on this site. I do not believe the Winslow Tunnel used convict labor but relied on African Americans and "navvies".

    One Frisco Central Division line that definitely used Arkansas convict labor for construction was the Ozark & Cherokee Central that became the Muskogee sub. Numerous newspapers refer to shipments of convicts coming up from Little Rock. The convicts were leased to contractors by the state. The Indian Territory, did not permit the farming out of convicts for labor so the O & CC could not use them after Westville , IT was reached.The O & CC also employed a lot of Greek immigrants for construction.
  20. john

    john FRISCO.org Supporter

    Re: Central Division

    I've always had some doubt about the convict story. Fort Smith newspaper accounts from the time do say that for some unstated reason the decision to move construction of the tunnel to IT was made at the absolute last possible minute.

    Although I have no idea what the average figures for coal consumption per ton/mile of a steam train (or however a railroad figured it at that time) were I do have some figures for coal production in Sebastian County, Arkansas.

    In 1906 Central Coal & Coke Company produced 282,081 tons total from it's three largest mines on the Mansfield Branch, "largely for locomotive fuel" and 91,363 tons from the two largest mines at Bonanza "55% going to Frisco for locomotive fuel".

    These figures seem to be representative of the supply from that area for many years prior to and after this date. Central Coal also supplied Frisco with coal from its Kansas mines and probably (?) I.T. and Missouri as well at this time. I have never seen their total coal production data and don't know how much coal Frisco got from them total/year. The % to locomotives figures came from the Bureau of Mines which had obtained them from Central. They were probably already, and certainly within a few more years, the largest coal company west of the Mississippi.

    For comparison Smokeless Fuel Company, who operated on the Arkansas Coal & Mining leases, produced 30,270 tons the same year. The Superintendent of Smokelsss was the former Superintendent of Central Coal at Bonanza. When Central and K & T were merged Smokeless began operations and the former K & T superintendent took over all the Central Coal operations in Sebastian County, AR.

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