8 Chapters
Medium 9780253008329

8 Around the Horn

Don L. Hofsommer Indiana University Press ePub

WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND. WELL, PRETTY close, but not quite in this case. The odyssey had begun in Iowa but would end in Minnesota – again, and by way of South Dakota. A change of jobs predictably explains new locations.

The allure of railroads and railroading had not escaped or evaporated, but the railroad landscape certainly had changed over the years. The number of Class One carriers had diminished to a handful. Gone were electric-trolley roads, steam, gas–electric cars, cabooses, most passenger trains, local station agencies, a host of branches and even secondary routes, and, of course, the wonderful employees who had been a part of them. “Off the main lines” became increasingly problematic. And favored cameras began to fail. Exposures became less frequent. But what a show it had been!

Sioux Falls, South Dakota, once had been a major hub of railroad activity offered by Milwaukee Road, Great Northern, Omaha, Illinois Central, and Rock Island. By 1987, much had changed. Rock Island left the city before its corporate demise, and IC followed. Milwaukee had been acquired by Soo Line, but its former assets at Sioux Falls were now the property of still others. Great Northern had become an integral part of Burlington Northern, but the line to Yankton was gone. Omaha had been fully absorbed into Chicago & North Western, but C&NW had become intent on disposing of branches and would soon exit. Extra 4284 East is about to cross Burlington Northern’s Willmar–Sioux City line at Manley, Minnesota. August 30, 1988.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253008329

2 Along the Way: 1950–65

Don L. Hofsommer Indiana University Press ePub

THE NORTH AMERICAN RAILROAD INDUSTRY WENT through monumental change during the 1950s – conversion from steam to diesel motive power, discontinuance of branch-line passenger service, closing of rural stations, decline of electric-traction roads, and even shrinkage of plant. Iowa and neighboring states were a microcosm of the entire package.

Great Northern’s (GN) motive-power assignments in August 1951 at Sioux Falls, South Dakota, were representative of change occurring throughout the industry. Newly arrived diesel road switchers such as 636, from Electro-Motive Division of General Motors, handled freight duties (a daily-except-Sunday turn to Garretson, a yard job, and calls as needed to Yankton). The venerable 2–8–0 at left stands ready as relief, but calls were few. GN predecessor Willmar & Sioux Falls had completed a line linking those two communities in 1881. GN itself put down the fifty-eight-mile route to Yankton in 1893.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253008329

5 In the Land of the Sooners

Don L. Hofsommer Indiana University Press ePub

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY AT OKLAHOMA STATE University presented itself during the first portion of the 1970s. Stillwater was Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe (AT&SF or Santa Fe) country, located on a spur from what once had been a concave but through route from Newkirk, Oklahoma, to Pauls Valley, Oklahoma, parallel to the east of Santa Fe’s main gut from Newton, Kansas, to the Gulf of Mexico. Passenger service had ended November 10, 1956, but local customers still provided attractive freight revenue.

Santa Fe was a well-managed company with premier routes from Chicago to Los Angeles and Chicago to South Texas. In a relative sense, it was prosperous compared to many other railroads at the time. Yet the mood across the industry was grim, and it got worse as the decade of the 1970s wore on. Causes of financial anemia were many and varied among particular companies, but a popular prescription among virtually all carriers was abandonment of line segments, especially branches and redundant secondary routes. Santa Fe was not immune in this regard.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253008329

1 In the Land of the Hawkeyes

Don L. Hofsommer Indiana University Press ePub

CALLENDER, IOWA: M&STL, THE HOME ROAD

The steam-car civilization came to Callender, Iowa, in the fall of 1870 when Des Moines Valley (DMV) pushed its existing line from Keokuk to Des Moines northwestward from Iowa’s capital city through Perry to Fort Dodge. Kesho, the original townsite, simply picked up and moved across the tracks to the west and rechristened itself Callender. Early train service included a through-passenger run from Keokuk plus scheduled freights.

Des Moines Valley unfortunately was unhealthy. Out of it in 1874 came two roads: Keokuk & Des Moines (K&D), which inherited DMV’s avenue between those points, and Des Moines & Fort Dodge (DM&FtD), which acquired the northern section through Callender. DM&FtD advertised itself as “The Fort Dodge Route – The Great Throughfare between Des Moines and the North and Northwest.” Heady stuff that, but, in fact, the company was no more robust than DMV, its predecessor. Giant Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific (Rock Island) took lease of it in 1887, the lease in 1905 passing to Minneapolis & St. Louis (M&StL), which some years later bought the property.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253008329

6 In the Land of the Longhorns

Don L. Hofsommer Indiana University Press ePub

WORK OPPORTUNITY AT PLAINVIEW, TEXAS, PREsented itself in 1973 and would result in a fourteen-year stay in the Lone Star State. Plainview, like Stillwater in Oklahoma, was Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe (AT&SF or Santa Fe) country, served, as it was, by a primary north–south line linking Amarillo and Lubbock, completed in 1907–10, and a stub southeastward to Floydada, twenty-seven miles, in 1910. Fort Worth & Denver (FTW&D or Denver) also occupied the territory in 1929 with an extension from its Amarillo–Fort Worth main at Estelline to Lubbock, with a spur to Plainview and on northwest to Dimmitt.

Still another aspirant in the region was Quanah, Acme & Pacific (QA&P or Quanah Route), which, in fits and starts (1903–1909), pushed a line of road west from Quanah to Paducah and finally to Floydada (1929). St. Louis–San Francisco’s (SLSF’s or Frisco’s) western reach from St. Louis and Kansas City through Tulsa and Oklahoma City stubbed at Quanah. Predictably, Frisco took an interest in and then took control of QA&P as a logical extension of its strategic aspirations. In time, and for several years, Frisco and Santa Fe teamed on long-distance, expedited traffic moving over the Floydada Gateway. Indeed, QLA and QSF were a couple of Frisco’s hottest freights; they were authorized forty-nine miles per hour across QA&P’s 110-mile route between Quanah and Floydada. But in 1973, Frisco and Santa Fe agreed to move their joint business up to the Avard Gateway in Oklahoma, and QA&P faced an uncertain future. Local business ebbed and flowed, but mostly ebbed. Abandonment was sought and permission gained, at least west of Paducah to Floydada, sixty-seven miles. The final run was made on May 5, 1981.

See All Chapters

See All Chapters