South of the Border
A Trip to Missouri


This is an account in pictures and text of a trip from Indianola, Iowa to Sedalia, Missouri and back on the weekend of April 22 and 23, 1995. The formal objective of the excursion was to visit relatives, but we managed to do some train-watching as well. The images were taken with an Apple QuickTake camera and processed into JPEG format with a program called PhotoFlash.

We left Friday evening, following the C&NW Spine line south into Missouri. We stopped in Allerton, IA to have supper and to check out the remains of the Rock Island's junction of its Short Line and a line that went east, through Eldon, IA to the Quad cities. This line was the route in Iowa of the Golden State. The C&NW facilities are limited to a boxcar station at the east end of the Allerton siding.

We stayed Friday night in Chillicothe, MO, and passed through it again on the way back Sunday evening. Chillicothe once had three rail lines, the CB&Q, the Wabash, and the Milwaukee. While walking to breakfast, we saw from a distance a Kansas City bound CP freight. After breakfast we set out to see some trains. We traveled west out of Chillicothe on Hwy. 36, and then went south on Hwy. 13 to Polo. Polo is the junction of the CNW line from Des Moines to Kansas City, and the CP/Soo line through Ottumwa, IA to Kansas City. The CP and CNW share track from Polo to KC. The CNW facilities at Polo rival those at Allerton, with a two boxcar station! On the CNW line, we found a northbound (UP/CNW power too far away to get the numbers) in the siding waiting for a southbound. Soon, CNW 8038 and 6812 arrived and got permission to proceed south to the drawbridge at Kansas City.

We went on south from Polo until we intersected the Santa Fe mainline at Henrietta and began following it back to the east on Hwy. 10. The Santa Fe and the Norfolk Southern share rails and right of way across this route. In Hardin we found RCC 1221 parked beside a building labeled Ray Carroll. The name on the building was followed by brackets and space for another name that had been removed.

We continued along Hwy. 10 to Norborne, where we watched NS 8602 and 2543 lead their train off of the Santa Fe tracks. Between Norborne and Carrollton, Hwy. 10 parallels the NS and SF mains for about 10 miles. We stopped at the Santa Fe depot in Carrollton, and saw 683, ??? and 880 bring an eastbound stacker by. I hope we don't lose that gorgeous paint scheme!

From Carrollton, we went south on Hwy. 65 across the Missouri river bridge at the Port of Waverly. The UP River subdivision passes along the south bank of the river, under the bridge. This is an ex-MoPac line. Following Hwy. 65, we reached Marshall, MO. This town was formerly a junction of the Mopac and ICG lines. We found an abandoned depot in Marshall.

In Sedalia, both Saturday evening and Sunday morning, we went to the depot to see Amtrak. The westbound is scheduled for 8:01 p.m., and was about 35 minutes late. The next morning, in a light rain, the eastbound "Ann Rutledge" was a couple of minutes ahead of its 10:05 schedule. The same equipment appeared on both trains. Except for the number on the side, Amtrak 241 looked like it had been sand-blasted and put in service. The Amtrak depot is a Mopac structure, and is still in use both as a waiting room and for office space by the Union Pacific.

Sedalia was once a major railroad center. A few blocks northeast of the MoPac depot stands the old Katy depot. This building has been taken over by Missouri's state park agency, and may someday be restored. It is an elegant structure, standing at an angle to the street, next to a curve in the old Katy right of way. At the east end of Sedalia, just north of Hwy. 50, the old Mopac shops can be found. Some of the structures are still in use by the UP, but the old transfer table area has been filled in, and some of the buildings have been sold to local industry.

We left Sedalia about 10:30 in the morning and went back up Hwy. 65. At Marshall, we went north on Hwy. 41, crossing the Missouri river at Miami this time, to pick up the Santa Fe and follow it to Marceline, MO. At Brunswick, on Hwy 24, we found another Ray Carroll engine, RCC 1211. I think the red trim is a nice touch on these switchers, don't you? Between Brunswick and Marceline, we stopped briefly in Mendon to check out some Sante Fe outfit cars.

We arrived in Marceline just as a westbound Santa Fe stack train went by the old yard area. The double-track main splits, passing wide on each side of a non-existant yard. In the center of the yard area stands a concrete coaling tower. The Marceline depot has seen better days and is pretty well trashed inside. Amtrak passengers are instructed to use the pay phone across the street at the fire station.

The street nearest the depot is Santa Fe Avenue. To the east is Chicago Avenue, and to the west, California Avenue. Those were the days! In a park near the depot, a Santa Fe caboose and steam engine are on display. It seems that Marceline was the boyhood home of Walt Disney, so the ATSF 2-8-0 in the park is now the Santa Fe & Disneyland 2546.

From Marceline, we looped back to the northwest on Hwy. 36, and went to BN tracks at Brookfield. There, we found Herzog ballast cars, a good collection of work equipment and several BN locos. Idling near the Brookfield depot were BN 2767, 2761, and 2976. Nearby was a work caboose, BN 968762, complete with AC and a TV antenna.

Continuing back west on Hwy. 36, we reached Chillicothe for the second time on the trip. This time we stopped to check out some of the railroad facilities. Chillicothe is a terminal of the Chillicothe-Brunswick Rail Authority, and we found engine 4485 near the depot and freight station. Remants of former tenants CB&Q, like this gantry, and Wabash can be found nearby. Train order semaphores on both sides of the depot indicate that this might have been a jointly operated station.

The most active right of way in Chillicothe is that of the Soo/CP. They have a communications center and trailer house depot north east of the CBRA railroad area. This is former Milwaulkee road territory, and a few MILW reporting marks appear on rusting cars near the depot.

Our next stop was at Trenton, MO, on the CNW, formerly a division point on the Rock Island. The Trenton yard area has a small shop, and modern metal office building. On the northwest side of the yard stand the remains of a brick construction Rock Island freight house. Even though the building is deteriorating, the Rock Island emblem is still visible on the south end of the structure.

Back in Iowa, we responded to blips of EOT noise on our scanner and stopped in Chariton to catch a coal train, headed by BN 7854, 5079, and 7160.