Ft. Leonard Wood line

Discussion in 'Rolla-Lebanon Subdivision' started by Rick Morgan, Dec 23, 2007.

  1. Rick Morgan

    Rick Morgan Member

    The line from Bundy Jct to Ft. Leonard Wood was opened in May 1941. We've touched on the comments in Collias' "Frisco Power" about the pair of 2-10-2s used on the line. I have a couple of questions about the line for anyone who might know the answers-

    Eastern Div employee timetable 36A (19 Sep '48) doesn't list the line and I can't find any specific mention of it in the notes- was it ever in a Frisco ETT or has anyone seen a seperate, perhaps Army, timetable for the operation?

    When did the Army actually take over the operation of the line with their own power? (I've noted EMD SW8s, GE 80 tonners and, much later, GPs assigned by the service- does anyone know if they operated steam on the line?)

    Did Frisco run military trains through onto the Fort (which would make sense) or turn them over to the Army at, say, Newburg? (I'm presuming "Main" trains ended sometime after Korea- or were there later runs?- airline service started on the Fort in 1961)

    Thanks for any help-
    mountaincreekar likes this.
  2. w3hodoug (Doug Hughes RIP 03/24/2021)

    w3hodoug (Doug Hughes RIP 03/24/2021) 2008 Engineer of the Year Frisco.org Supporter

    Rick, it appeared in the 1971 ETT as operated for the US Government. Old timers also reported it as a regular job out of Newburg in the days after it was built. Follow it on sattelite photos on Google Earth for an appreciation for just how many curves on on the line. Doug, Ann Arbor
    mountaincreekar likes this.
  3. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    This is way out of my area of knowledge, but I recently received contact from a gentleman who wrote me the following; I think it might help to clarify matters?

    I was Trainmaster-Roadmaster on the Ft. Wood Branch from 1964 to 1966. The Frisco had two different contracts with the U.S. Army. One was the operations contract to provide rail service to the post and the second contract was to provide maintenance for the physical plant,i.e.,track, bridges, buildings, and signal system.

    I've requested any additional details that he can provide as it sounds very interesting, operationally.

    Best Regards and Merry Christmas!
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 25, 2007
    mountaincreekar likes this.
  4. John Mann

    John Mann Member

    I'll do an aside here...Bundy Junction was being built while I was in High School at Rolla. We were required to take turns reading Silas Marner aloud in our english class. Bundy's daughter was in the class, and her turn came. Well, the Bundys had come to Rolla from Alabama. She had the deepest southern accent I've ever heard. She started...a snicker here, then there, then so much laughter that she had to stop.
    mountaincreekar likes this.
  5. Brad Slone

    Brad Slone Member Frisco.org Supporter


    I might be able to shed a little light on the subject. For starters the January 1991 issue of the Frisco museums all aboard had a short article regarding the branch. In it they had a copy of a January 1956 Timetable that would appear to be specifically for the branch. It listed special instructions, speed limits/restrictions and tonnage ratings.

    As far as operations, in the companies August 1973 issue of All Aboard it had a article on the last Frisco run to the Fort. The last run was on June 29, 1973 and was operated by "Ferd" Webb and was his retirement run. Apparently it was a fairly sought after run as it was regularly called Monday through Saturday at 7:30am. The article goes on to say that it was deceided by the goverment to take over the operations of the line as traffic had dwindled to nothing since 1971.

    A second article in the May 1978 issue of All Aboard talks about a group of Frisco employees in the 226th Army Reserves Transportation Unit that once a month operated the line as part of their reserve duties.

    Recently several years ago the Government contracted out a rehab project on the line rebuilding several of the bridges, new balllast & signage as well as the removal of the signal masts. Rumor has it that they found a treasure trove of Frisco tools and semphore blades. Today the line is operated by two rebuilt GP-7 of possible Ill Central heritage and one rebuilt GP-40. Traffic consists mainly of heavy equipment coming and going on flatcars but once and a while you will see containers as well. There was a good deal of traffic during the start of the gulf war I was able to get several shots of the 7's returning to the fort.

    One more comment and I will end my rattling. Inside the welcome center at the fort where visitors sign in. There is a picture of the rail yards with a string of boxcars being unloaded at the warehouse. The interesting thing about it in the corner of the photo you can see a 47200 series stockcar. What in the world was a stockcar doing on the fort branch? The only thing that I can think of was possible a load of water mellons as they where used for such things from time to time.

    mountaincreekar likes this.
  6. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Frisco.org Supporter

    :) Possibly delivering a load of fresh, new draftees to the Fort? ;) :D

    mountaincreekar likes this.
  7. billyboy_1

    billyboy_1 Member

    I rode a motorcar from the fort out to Bundy jct and back a few years ago. It was in the fall and was beautiful. I took alot of photos of the line including the tresle. I will try to find them to post.
    mountaincreekar likes this.
  8. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Billyboy - Please do! We would all love to see more pics of the Ft Wood line.

    mountaincreekar likes this.
  9. Rick Morgan

    Rick Morgan Member

    Brad: Thanks for the post- you shed a lot of light on this one. I follow military railroads and was puzzled in that I couldn't find any Army units assigned to the Fort until the early '70s. They picked up a series of EMD SW8s which seemed to do fine until the Geeps arrived. As for the Frisco, I assume troop ("MAIN") trains ran all the way to the Fort in the '40s and in Korea; it now appears that SLSF ran freight ops as well. I would guess (?) that there was a bus that took troops from Newburg to the Fort to/from tr 5/6, the General Wood.
    If anyone can post the special employee's timetable for the line that would be greatly appreciated!

    Rick Morgan
    mountaincreekar likes this.
  10. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Frisco.org Supporter

  11. w3hodoug (Doug Hughes RIP 03/24/2021)

    w3hodoug (Doug Hughes RIP 03/24/2021) 2008 Engineer of the Year Frisco.org Supporter

    I presented about seven possible layout themes for my basement to Don Wirth and Ken Wulfert in Pacific, MO last month when viewing Don's HO Newburg. They both liked the Ft. Wood Branch. I spent a few hours with the three applicable 1:24,000 USGS maps to get an approximation of the elevations along the 19.55 mile line. The two here are in jpg and gif. It's not as good as a real track chart, which I don't have. It climbs and descends a serious "mountain" getting from the Little Piney at Bundy Junction to the Big Piney at Devils Elbow. It then climbs another to get up to Ft. Wood. This layout won't have much flat track, nor much straight track. I hope to spend November with 3rdPlanit and my room dimensions.


    Attached Files:

  12. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Doug - Nice chart. It really shows what a severe line the Ft Wood branch is. And, like we joked at Don's Newburg the other day, all you need for the long straight runs is a few sections of nine-inch Atlas track!

  13. Sirfoldalot

    Sirfoldalot Frisco.org Supporter Frisco.org Supporter

    Nice chart ....
    The decent from Hunt Siding to Devils Elbow works out to be about 1 foot in 60 feet, if I am correct? That is pretty steep?
    I have forgot how to calculate grades?
    Someone help me please?
  14. w3hodoug (Doug Hughes RIP 03/24/2021)

    w3hodoug (Doug Hughes RIP 03/24/2021) 2008 Engineer of the Year Frisco.org Supporter

    The curve is a "smoothed" version from Excel. The actual data shows almost 3% in some grades. Most are less.
  15. bob_wintle

    bob_wintle Member Frisco.org Supporter

    One divided by 60. .0166666 or 1.66666 percent.
    Bob Wintle
  16. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    Doug, it's exciting to hear that you're back in the layout planning stages. I eagerly anticipate seeing and hearing more!

    Do you have an era in mind? It would be fun to see one of the spot series that were pulled from the scrap line lumbering along your branch.

    Best Regards,
  17. Brad Slone

    Brad Slone Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Here are a few photos taken over the years of the Fort branch, the first shot was of our lady backing onto the west leg of the wye at Bundy Jct, with some cranky looking codger sitting on the right side! The second is on the same bridge different day different angle. Third photo was taken looking south at the Little Piney bridge MP 11.9. Fourth was taken with power heading back to the Fort (south) at bridge 14.3. Be advised that there is a strong chance there is going to be a good deal of trestle work coming up on the branch.


    Attached Files:

  18. w3hodoug (Doug Hughes RIP 03/24/2021)

    w3hodoug (Doug Hughes RIP 03/24/2021) 2008 Engineer of the Year Frisco.org Supporter

    Brad, is that third photo @ Devils Elbow? If so, that would be the Big Piney.

    I still have all those slides you took for me years ago. I'm on the road in PA, but will try to scan and post many of them within the next few weeks.

    I was in Dixon Friday night to Sunday morning for that big reunion. 200+ attended.
  19. w3hodoug (Doug Hughes RIP 03/24/2021)

    w3hodoug (Doug Hughes RIP 03/24/2021) 2008 Engineer of the Year Frisco.org Supporter

    If it gets built, the era will be variable - easy since there are no on-line industries.

    However, the symaphore signals will just have to remain.
  20. Brad Slone

    Brad Slone Member Frisco.org Supporter


    My mistake, memory is already starting to slip, Big Piney it is.


Share This Page