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Topeka, Kansas to Champaign-Urbana, Illinois 8/12/2022

by Chris Guenzler

Elizabeth and I arose at the Ramada Inn and after our Internet duties, we had the hotel breakfast which was not very plentiful.

The view of BNSF's Topeka shops as seen from our hotel room window in the morning sun. Elizabeth then checked us out and drove us to the Santa Fe station.

Santa Fe Topeka station built in 1948 as a replacement for the former Topeka Harvey House. It currently serves Amtrak's Southwest Chief.

BNSF motive power at the rear of the station. Elizabeth drove us to the second and third stations in this city.

Santa Fe Welda station built in 1927 and moved from Welda, 82 miles south of Topeka and moved next to the Great Overland Station in 2011.

Cab of switcher 1000.

Santa Fe business car 406 built by Pullman in 1926, one of 18 built for the Division Superintendents.

Santa Fe 40 foot refrigerator car 10200 built in 1948.

Santa Fe baggage car 3906 built by Santa Fe/Pullman Standard in 1963.

Union Pacific caboose 1911, built by the railroad in 1952 as Detroit and Mackinac Railway 25011.

Museum scene.

Union Pacific Great Overland Station built in 1927 which is on the National Register of Historic Places. The station was built over three years starting in 1925 and designed by Gilbert Stanley Underwood, whose firm designed over 20 Union Pacific Railroad stations from 1924 to 1931. The station's Free Classical Revival design uses terra cotta extensively and features a center pavilion with two increasingly smaller pavilions on either side. Passenger service to the station began in January 1927; almost 20,000 people attended the station's grand opening, and the new station was considered "one of the largest and finest stations west of the Missouri River". In the later years of its train station life, it also hosted the passenger trains of the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad. The Santa Fe had its trains stop at its own Topeka station. Along the way, it survived floods, was remodeled for railroad offices, was abandoned in 1988 and was damaged by fire in 1992. Railroad Heritage, Inc. leased the building from the Union Pacific Railroad to prevent the building's demolition. Union Pacific Corporation donated the station to Topeka Railroad Days, Inc. six years later, and the Great Overland Station Project Team was established to direct efforts to preserve the station and transform it into a railroad heritage museum. In June 2004, The Great Overland Station opened its doors.

Since the museum did not open until 10:00 and we had quite a drive ahead of us, we departed and made our way to Atchison.

Santa Fe freight house built in 1880.

The Atchison Santa Fe station built in 1954. I then drove us St. Joesph to the Patee House Museum where I gave the lady my card and she let us in for free. Patee House is a museum of communications and transportation. Visitors can stroll down the Streets of Old St. Joseph, view the dentist office of Dr. Walter Cronkite, father of the television news commentator, or operate the toy carousel and Ferris wheel in the antique toy shop. They can climb on board the 1860 Hannibal and St. Joseph locomotive and railway mail car invented to speed the mail on the Pony Express. Or walk past the 1870 Union Star depot to the Buffalo Saloon where they can sip sarsaparilla and munch popcorn while listening to stirring marches on the saloons' Nickelodeon. On the second floor, ladies are fascinated by more than 2,000 antique perfume bottles. For the men, there's a 1920s style service station complete with a Model T Ford, plus antique cars, trucks, fire trucks and a 1921 race car.

The St. Joseph & Des Moines (Chicago, Burlington and Quincy) station built in 1887 which is the depot from Union Star, Missouri, 22 miles southwest of St. Joseph. Union Star was one of the original seven towns on the St. Joseph and Des Moines Railroad, a 50-mile narrow gauge line which opened in 1787. At one time, the railroad had its office in Patee House. Because of height restrictions in the museum, the depot was re-constructed without its roof.

Interior views of the St. Joseph station.

Hannibal & St. Joseph 4-4-0 35 built by Baldwin in 1892, named Missouri and backdated in 1933 at Chicago Burlington and Quincy's Aurora Shops. The H&StJ was the first railroad to cross the Missouri River, running from Hannibal, Missouri, to St. Joseph, Missouri. The CB&Q used the line for through traffic to Chicago almost from the start and, in 1883, acquired the road. The 66 was renumbered 666 in 1898 and became CB&Q 359 in 1901 when the H&StJ formally merged with the CB&Q. It was renumbered 35 for the Century of Progress World's Fair in Chicago in 1933-34 and was also leased as Union Pacific 119 during the 1939-40 New York World's Fair as well as the 1948-49 Chicago Railroad Fair. It was moved here in 1970 and took a total of five days and had only inches of clearance.

A nose of a Kansas City, Clay County & St. Joseph streetcar.

Hannibal & St. Joseph 1 replica, the first railroad car in which US Mail was sorted in transit. The original was a refurbished passenger car.The first experiment in so-called "post offices on wheels" was made in 1862 by William A. Davis between Hannibal and St. Joseph, Missouri. It was intended to speed connections at St. Joseph with the overland stage, which had replaced the Pony Express routes west a year earlier.

The interior of Hannibal & St. Joseph 1.

A grade crossing signal.

A lit switch stand.

Hannibal & St. Joseph station semaphore signal.

A 4-6-2 steam engine built and donated by James E. Miller.

Elizabeth and I went upstairs.

A steamboat display.

A room in the Patee House hotel when it served that purpose.

Two views of the large model railroad without the lights.

Some of the model trains display. I found the light switch to show you this model railroad.

The model railroad in the Patee House Museum.

More of the model trains.

A wonderful organ was on diaplay. We thanked our wonderful lady and told her how much we enjoyed the museum then walked to our next steam engine but made a few stops along the way.

The Patee House Museum building.

The mural in St Joesph.

Chicago, Burlington and Quincy 4-8-4 5614 built by the railroad in 1937. It was donated to the city in May 1962 and is the oldest surviving CB&Q Northern type.

A steam engine mural in St. Joesph.

Kansas City, Clay County & St. Joseph freighthouse.

Kansas City, Clay County & St. Joseph station. This was an electrified interurban railway that ran between Kansas City, Missouri, and St. Joseph, Missouri, from the early 1900s until 1933. It was the longest of the various interurbans serving Kansas City running nearly 60 miles and extended another 10 miles to Savannah, Missouri. The interurban was a light rail system in which single cars traveled powered by an overhead electric wire. The interurban ran hourly, the fare was $1.55 and it took nearly two hours from downtown to downtown. One line went from Kansas City to St. Joseph, another line went from Kansas City to Excelsior Springs. I then drove us east to Cameron.

Burlington Northern caboose 10276 built by Pacific Car and Foundry in 1975.

Kansas City Southern caboose 382 built by the railroad in 1952.

Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Cameron station built in 1898.

These plaques were most interesting and told of John Wilkes Booth and Abraham Lincoln's chance meeting here in Cameron.

Cameron Railroads plaque. From here I drove us to Chillicothe.

Wabash Chillicothe freighthouse built in circa 1900.

Wabash Chillicothe station built in 1909. From here I drove us to a covered bridge in Laclede.

The information boards for the Locust Creek covered bridge.

Locust Creek covered bridge built in 1868 which, at 151 feet, it is the longest surviving covered bridge in Missouri. We had a really good time at this bridge. From here we caught up to a BNSF freight train.

BNSF 7766 East at Shelbina was Elizabeth's first train on this line. We continued on our journey, stopping at Hannibal.

Chicago Burlington and Quincy Hannibal station built 1953. We spotted a pair of murals.

The Missisippi Showboat mural.

The Mark Twain Zephyr mural. Elizabeth then drove to Springfield where we stopped at Jersey Mike's for dinner then drove the final miles to Urbana and the Ramada Inn for that night.