Kansas City Southern Color Pictorial BY Steve Allen Goen Hard Cover
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Kansas City Southern Color Pictorial BY Steve Allen Goen Hard Cover
Kansas City Southern Color Pictorial
BY Steve Allen Goen
- Table of Contents -
Diesel Locomotive Roster 14
Kansas City Southern Lines 1940 - 1999 16
KCS - L&A Passenger Equipment 114
KCS - L&A Depots 117
A Brief History
In order to fully understand the history and development of the Kansas City Southern Lines, we must first take an in depth look at the construction and operations of three of its predecessor companies, the Kansas City, Pittsburg & Gulf, the Louisiana Railway & Navigation Company, and the Louisiana & Arkansas. Although many other railroads have since found their way into the KCS, it was the unique combination of these three independent lines that formed the majority of the (pre-MidSouth) KCS-L&A system.
Kansas City, Pittsburg & Gulf...
"The Port Arthur Route"
Oddly enough, the original property which would eventually become the northernmost part of the KCS started out innocently enough as a small local switching company built along the north side of Kansas City. Chartered in 1887, the Kansas City Suburban Belt Railroad was constructed during 18881890 as an industrial switching and belt railway operation which eventually extended almost 40 miles from Independence and Sugar Creek, Missouri, westward along or near the north bank of the Missouri River, to a connection with the Santa Fe at Argentine, Kansas. Although the belt line's charter was actually held by former Kansas City mayor, E.L. Martin, the KCSB was perhaps better known for being the first railroad venture of Kansas City businessman, Arthur Stilwell, a prominent partner in the belt line's operations.
With Stilwell enjoying his new found interest in rail construction, he immediately set his sights on creating a second rail franchise, the construction of a new line running due south out of Kansas City which would tap the nearby coal fields that existed along the boundary of southwest Missouri and southeast Kansas as well as the zinc and lead mines at Joplin. Originally known as the Kansas City, Nevada & Fort Smith Railroad, the new road's charter called for the line to be constructed along the western boundary of Missouri to Nevada (pronounced nah-vay-duh) and Joplin before reaching its original goal of Fort Smith, Arkansas. Stilwell quickly negotiated trackage rights over the Frisco between Kansas City and Grandview, Missouri, a point where construction of the new line would actually begin. By October 1891, the new line had already achieved its first goal, reaching the northern edge of the coal belt at Hume, Missouri 80 miles south of Kansas City.
Although most cities and towns throughout the midwest would have jumped at the prospect of acquiring a third railroad, Stilwell was faced with the city of Nevada's apparent lack of interest in the project since the town was already served by the Katy and the MoPac. It should also be pointed out at this time that Arthur Stilwell was subject to frequent spiritual visions or premonitions during his life. One such dream occurred in early 1892 when "Brownies", as he put it, suggested that he should bypass Nevada altogether, advising him to build instead to the nearby coal mining town of
Pittsburg, Kansas. Another urged him to extend his line all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. Therefore, as a result of this divine advice, Stilwell promptly ordered that the right-of-way begin swinging southwest, passing through Eve, Missouri (just west of Nevada) before ducking across the Kansas state line into Pittsburg. With the line's corporate title no longer reflecting the true points along the route, Stilwell urged his Board of Directors to change the line's name to the Kansas City, Pittsburg & Gulf on December 3, 1892. Having conveniently bypassed Nevada, the line then re-entered Missouri just southeast of Pittsburg with its rails entering Joplin in August 1893.
Luckily for Stilwell, a pair of small lines had already been constructed along two sections of his proposed route to the gulf, both of which were for sale. In 1892, Stilwell acquired the Texarkana & Fort Smith Railway, a small logging operation constructed in 1885 which extended from Texarkana to a location near the present day community of Winthrop, Arkansas. This move was followed in 1893 when the KCP&G purchased the previously constructed Kansas City, Fort Smith & Southern, a somewhat primitive backwoods line (owned by a Wyandotte Indian!) which operated 51 miles of track between Joplin and Sulphur Springs, Arkansas. In order to connect these acquisitions into a continuous Kansas City to Texarkana route, the KCP&G would need to construct a total of 243 miles of track through the heart of the rugged Boston and Ouachita Mountains.
Although the KCP&G had already experienced great success up until the early part of 1893, the Great Panic which occurred that year left Stilwell with very little capital with which to continue building his line south. Soon experiencing yet another of his famous dreams, Stilwell headed off to Holland in order to secure financial backing from Dutch investors. One such investor was Jan DeGeoigen (pronounced DeQueen), a prominent Dutch coffee broker who shrewdly envisioned that Kansas wheat could be funneled down the proposed route to the gulf and then be exported directly to Dutch ports. Although a group of Dutch investors came back from an inspection trip to Shreveport, Louisiana with a favorable opinion of the project, Stilwell made one last concession when he promised to name a number of new towns along the route after locations in Holland and/or after prominent Dutch citizens and investors.
With enough capital now on hand to complete the project, Stilwell quickly pushed construction ahead. Heading south through northwest Arkansas, KCP&G surveyors soon calculated that the steeper grades of the Boston Mountains could be avoided if the line dipped into eastern Oklahoma (Indian Territory) and followed Sallisaw Creek. Although Fort Smith, Arkansas had originally played heavily in the early promotion of the line, the city soon found itself by-passed when the line crossed the Arkansas River at Redland, Oklahoma, twelve miles southwest of downtown Fort Smith.
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