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The St. Louis Iron Mountain & Southern Railroad Trip 4/4/2014

by Chris Guenzler

This trip was to go back to La Plata for the 2014 Spring Railfan Event. As I was working again, I did not have time to take the train, so it would be airline flights from Orange County to Denver and St. Louis. Winston and Christy Walker decided to take Amtrak to St. Louis and then I would pick them up on Saturday morning, if all went according to plan. I contacted the St. Louis Iron Mountain & Southern Railroad and they decided to start their 2014 season with my trip at 1:00 PM that Saturday. I would fly into St. Louis on Friday to be in position for picking them up and then finally being able to ride this railroad.

4/4/2014 My brother Jon picked me up and drove me to the Orange County Airport where I went through normal security and was pre-boarded because of my very sore knees.

United Airlines Flight 794 4/4/2014

This flight was mostly through clouds until we flew over the Rockies with great views. I deplaned at Gate B13 and had to make my way through Terminal B at the Denver Airport to Gate B90 where I waited for my next flight to St. Louis.

United Airlines Flight 2918 4/4/2014

This flight was aboard a CRJ 700 plane and I had to check my bag. It was clear to partly cloudy going most of the way across Kansas before it turned overcast for the rest of the flight.

St. Louis 4/4/2014

Once I was off the plane and reclaimed my bag, I went to the Enterprise Car Rental counter to pay for the rental car and found the shuttle to the off-airport site where I received a Ford Focus. I called Ted Picraux and told him I was on my way to meet him under the big American flag in Kirkwood, where he would lead me to our first two photo locations of the afternoon.

In Kikrwood are two former Missouri Pacific station. This is Meramac Highland station built in 1895 which became part of a house.

From the North Clay bridge, the second Missouri Pacific Kirkwood station.

The Missouri Pacific Kirkwood station built in 1893. From here we drove over to Webster Groves.

The Missouri Pacific Webster Groves station built in 1908. We then went to Tuxedo Park.

The Missouri Pacific Tuxedo Park station built in 1890 and were able to go inside this building which is home to the Webster Groves Historical Society. We then drove to the other station in town.

The Frisco Webster Groves station built in 1910. We met Kenneth Rimmel who would show me the fantastic train layout they have here.

This station is the home of the Big Bend Railroad Club Inc.

View of the model railroad layout.

Ted and Kenneth talking below my photo location. From here Ted took me out to Valley Park.

The old Frisco Hotel is now the Frisco Train Store Wood n' Trains. Built in the early 1880's, the Frisco Inn was built by the St. Louis & San Francisco Railroad for the crews who were pushing the railroad from Pacific, Missouri to St. Louis. After the railroad was completed, the Frisco Railroad used the hotel as a layover for train crews. By the 1890's, the Frisco Hotel was owned by Mrs. Wm. Swantner. By 1917, the Frisco Hotel and Restaurant, under the direction of Ralph Jorgensen, added a theatre and its own orchestra. The hotel rate at this time for weekly guests was "$7.00 and up".

Across the tracks from the old hotel was this display.

St. Louis-South Western wooden caboose 398 built by the railroad in 1935. From here Ted drove me back to my rental car in Kirkwood and I said goodbye to him but still had a few pictures to take.

Terminal Railroad of St. Louis transfer caboose 589 is part of the Custard Station in Kirkwood. I returned north on Interstate 270 to Exit 20C which took me to Motel 6 for the night and went to Bob Evans for an excellent dinner then worked on the story before calling it a night.

4/5/2014 I arose at 5:45 AM and after packing and checking out of Motel 6, drove first to McDonald's for hot cakes and sausage then stopped at a Quick Stop Mart for some Coca-Cola for the trip today. I then drove into downtown St. Louis but stopped on the way to the Amtrak station.

St. Louis Union Station built in 1894. From here I drove to the Amtrak station and paid for two hours of parking. The Texas Eagle carrying Winston and Christy was only 18 minutes late when I had checked back at Motel 6 so I waited and it finally arrived twenty-two minutes late. Then the stupidity began.

The Texas Eagle arrived in St. Louis, so we all thought. First they changed engine crews, then they reversed to unload the trash and next picked up a coach to add to the rear of the train.

Finally they pulled up twenty minutes later and detrained the passengers. I watched the whole event of Winston and Christy being picked up by the cart and being driven into the building. We met and I took the large suitcase to the car before I moved it in front of the station to board them. We managed to get out of downtown St. Louis and drove south down Interstate 55 to US 67, which we took to Bonne Terre to our first stop of the day.

The Bonne Terre Missouri Pacific station built in 1909 by the Mississippi River and Bonne Terre Railroad, which the Missouri Pacific acquired in 1929. It has been converted to a bed & breakfast inn and a National Historic Site. The Depot has four guest rooms located on the second floor of restored historical site and three additional suites located in adjacent train cars. The first floor is a nostalgic English-style pub called the "Whistle Stop Saloon" and is open only for scheduled events. The 1909 Depot originally operated under the name of “Mississippi River and Bonne Terre Railway” and owned by the St. Joseph's Lead Company.

At the Depot, St. Joseph Lead arranged many traveling excursions for its employees, and at the height of operations, 12 trains a day arrived at the depot. It was modelled after a fire destroyed the original 1898 depot. St. Joseph Lead Company employees constructed the Depot in 1909 and left to the elements in the late 1950s after the lead company moved their operations west. The nationally historic depot was saved from demolition when present owners, Doug and Catherine Goergens purchased and restored the depot in 1989. West End Diving now operates the 1909 Depot and the Bonne Terre Mines.

The caboose and box car are part of the B&B here, previous histories currently unknown.

Union Pacific caboose 3944, built by the railroad in 1952 and currently numbered 25244. From here we headed south to Fredericktown.

The Missouri Pacific Fredericktown station built in 1867 and used for freight after 1917. We stayed on US 61 then went east on Missouri 34 to Jackson then went into Cape Girardeau to Arena Park to our next stop.

Marquette Cement Manufacturing Company 0-4-0T built by H.K. Porter in 1923. The Marquette Cement Manufacturing Company was headquartered in Chicago, with plants in many states throughout the Midwest during the 1900s. The Cape Girardeau Plant was built in 1909 as the Cape Girardeau Portland Cement Company and was acquired by Marquette in 1923. Clay was quarried by steam shovel at pits about two miles south of the plant and hauled to the plant by this steam engine.

From here we drove back to Jackson, filled the car with petrol then arrived at the train trip's parking lot. I found my contact here and picked up our tickets.

The St. Louis Iron Mountain & Southern Railroad Trip 4/5/2014

The Iron Mountain was initially established to deliver iron ore from Iron Mountain to St. Louis. In 1883 the railway was acquired by Jay Gould, becoming part of a 9,547-mile system. On May 12, 1917, the company was officially merged into the Missouri Pacific Railroad, which in turn was merged into the Union Pacific Railroad in 1982. It was robbed twice, once by the James-Younger Gang, on January 31, 1874, at Gad's Hill and once by the "One-Time Train Robbery Gang" on November 3, 1893 at Olyphant, Arkansas.

A heritage railroad by the same name, based in Jackson, Missouri operates about 6 miles of shortline in Cape Girardeau County.

First let us look at the train.

The train at rest at Jackson.

Pennsylvania Railroad E8A 5898, built by Electro-Motive Division in 1951, which is finally being repainted.

Illinois Central trailer coach 1345 "Scott MacDonald" built by Pullman in 1924.

Illinois Central trailer coach 1365 "John E. Hall" built by Pullman in 1926.

New York Central coach 3135 built by Pullman-Standard in 1946 which later became Penn Central 3135 and most recently, Amtrak 6415.

Baltimore and Ohio caboose C3706 built by International Car in 1971 and currently numbered 903706.

Illinois Central caboose 9690 built by the railroad in 1966, later Paducah and Louisville 9602, which is privately owned and lettered CRRM 9602.

The Trip

The trip started with us reversing out of the station loading track onto the mainline.

Some interesting railroad-related materials along the tracks as we started reversing.

We are entering the mainline.

Winston and Christy Walker enjoying the trip.

The train crossed five highways as we left Jackson heading south.

Passing the brickyard which gave the originator of the Roadrunner cartoons the idea for ACME bricks on which were written jokes about the roadrunner ordering them for his use against the Wily E. Coyote.

The train crossed a small creek.

Spring is only a few weeks away.

The bare trees allow viewing between them.

The train crossed Hubble Creek.

More trees awaiting Spring.

Passing by a metal company.

View through the trees.

Our route took us over another creek.

Our train had the power to stop the soccer games being played by the children.

Interesting views abound from this train trip.

Another water view through the trees.

Every so often you had a tree free view.

The train crossed another creek.

A large house through the trees.

Interior view of coach 1345 "Scott MacDonald".

The onboard performers.

Interior view of coach 1365 "John E. Hall".

Interior views of New York Central coach 3135.

Forward and back views along the train.

They have a fake town where the train stops each way during the trip.

Characters in costumes played parts during the train's trip. Birthdays are made known and Happy Birthday is sung by all of the passengers.

Views looking to the west.

The cows were out in their field.

Down along the road.

Another view of all of those cows.

The rolling southeastern Missouri countryside.

The winding road.

Another home on the hill.

The train crossed another creek.

The trees cannot wait for Spring.

Two more views of the last stream we crossed. This was as far as we went and the train would reverse to Jackson and I would relax the whole trip back.

You can take a trip down these rails by coming to this unique train trip in America on the St. Louis Iron Mountain & Southern Railroad.

The Drive to La Plata 4/5/2014

We headed back on Interstate 55 north, stopping at an Arby's in Pevely. Ted called and gave us a shortcut that cut off thirty minutes of the drive over to Interstate 44. We got on Missouri Highway 100 and called Ted who wanted us to met him in Marthasville so drove into Washington then took Missouri Highway 47 across the Missouri River into Marthasville, where we met up with Ted and Pam Picraux.

The Marthasville Missouri-Kansas-Texas station built in 1893.

The MKT Trail here. We then followed Ted back to Washington.

Union Pacific 5875 West at Washington.

The Washington Missouri Pacific station built in 1923.

Texas & Pacific caboose 2306 built by the railroad and painted as Missouri Pacific 11122.

Missouri Pacific freight house built in 1865.

Views in Washington. From here we followed Ted to New Haven.

Union Pacific caboose 3965 built by the railroad in 1952 and later became Union Pacific 25265. We then went to Hermann.

The Amshack in Hermann.

The future Amtrak station in Hermann which opened in September 2014.

Missouri Pacific caboose 13538 built by International Car in 1971.

A view in Hermann. We said our goodbyes to Pam and Ted and then took Missouri 19 north across the Missouri River to our next stop in Wellsville.

The Chicago, Burlington and Quincy station in Wellsville buit in 1907, with Missouri Pacific caboose 13566 built by International Car in 1972. We stopped in Mexico for petrol then found that the Wabash station had been torn down and replaced with a trailer. We then drove straight to La Plata on US Highway 63 and the Depot Inn & Suites where I received my Pullman Suite but the wireless Internet did not work. I converted the pictures and hoped the Internet at the Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point might work in the morning. I called it a night after I used the sauna tub.