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Nostalgia & History > Leavenworth, KS abandoned railroads


Date: 12/11/09 19:22
Leavenworth, KS abandoned railroads
Author: jofegan

Hi folks.
I'm visiting my parents in Platte City and drove over to Leavenworth, KS for the afternoon. There seems to be only two railroads in the area, UP which runs on the west side of the Missouri River, and BNSF, several miles to the east on the other side of the river. There appeared to be several other lines that used to run through that area in the past - CRIP, CGW, and ATSF - at least by looking through my old Official Railway Guide. Did any of these roads share trackage with the currently used UP/BNSF lines, or did they have seperate ROW? If so, are there any clues today where these abandoned rails ran?

Thanks.

jofegan



Date: 12/11/09 20:08
Re: Leavenworth, KS abandoned railroads
Author: mmisin2

Wow, you could spend a LOT of time talking about Leavenworth abandoned rail lines. Where to start...

OK, UP entered Leavenworth via a branch line from Lawrence, KS via Tonganoxie that lasted into the 70's. Service from Lawrence to Tonganoxie ended in the 1980's. The Leavenworth, Kansas, and Western was a narrow gauge line that extended from Leavenworth to points West of Miltonvale. Most of it, including the portion in Leavenworth(standard gauged in in the 1890's) was abandoned in the 1930's. The MoPac mainline from KC to Omaha still exists and passes by the still standing Union Station.

The Leavenworth and Topeka operated between the namesake cities until the 1930's when it was taken up. I think, but can't confirm, that the ATSF controlled this line.

The Kansas City Northwestern Railroad, later controlled by the MoPac, entered Leavenworth via a branchline from the South. The line was abandoned in 1918.

The ATSF served the town via branch off of the KC-Topeka mainline via Bonner Springs. The branch extended North of Leavenworth to Hawthorne, KS where it connected with the old Atchison to Topeka portion of the original mainline. I think the Leavenworth to Hawthorne section came up in the 1960s and the rest of the line via Bonner Springs came up in the mid-80s.

The Kansas City and Leavenworth Electric line operated from Kansas City Missouri to Leavenworth into the mid-1930's.

The CB+Q/BN served Leavenworth via a branch from Beverly, MO off of the KC to St. Joseph/Lincoln, NE/Omaha, NE mainline.

The CGW/CNW served Leavenworth via its own line via Des Moines to Beverly and then used trackage rights over the CBQ to reach trackage rights over the MP/UP Omaha line to reach Kansas City.

CRIP served Leavenworth via a line from Platte City, MO. I think it also used the CBQ to reach Leavenworth from Beverly. I am not sure who owned the bridge over the Missouri River (no longer in existence) that was used by the CBQ/CRIP/CGW/CNW. The bridge was removed in the 1980's.

Leavenworth was also served by a street railway of which I have little to no information.

Whats left? You can see traces of the CGW and CRIP roadbeds East of Beverly, MO. The wye junction off of the CBQ to Leavenworth is also easy to trace. The ATSF Leavenworth depot exists as a dining establishment. The Union Depot by the MP mainline still exists as a city building. The MP depot at the Fort still exists. The Lansing, KS ATSF depot exists as does a bridge tender building at the old Missouri River bridge site. The ATSF and UP lines are very visible at the veterans home and in South Leavenworth. The ATSF depot at the veterans home serves as the police department. You can see site of the railroad entry into the federal penitentiary on the West wall where a famous escape took place. Fred Harvey's house still exists and is marked by a historical marker. Traces of the interurban route from KC exist South of the city. Other I am sure will have more details than I have but I am fascinated by the web of tracks that surrounded Leavenworth, Atchison, and St. Joseph, MO. So little remains....



Date: 12/11/09 20:34
Re: Leavenworth, KS abandoned railroads
Author: aehouse

Here's a shot showing two (small) pieces of now-abandoned Leavenworth trackage, taken in the summer of 1986 when I was a student at the Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth.

The two BN engines are headed for the Missouri River Bridge to return to the ex-CB&Q mainline on the east side of the river, after having delivered a car to downtown Leavenworth. The line crossing the foreground is the UP/MP main, with Omaha to the left and Kansas City to the right. The recently abandoned CGW/CNW trackage curves in front of the former CGW station, then still in use by the bridge tender (the bridge was a swing bridge).

I left Leavenworth in the summer of 1987, and I believe the BN trackage was abandoned and the Missouri River bridge removed a year or two later. A friend assigned to the school sent me a newspaper photo of the bridge's demolition.

I had great fun during my year at the college on weekends, railfanning and tracing what I could find of the many abandoned railroads in the area.

Art House




Date: 12/12/09 11:13
Re: Leavenworth, KS abandoned railroads
Author: jofegan

Thanks for the pic.

I find it absolutely amazing that a town could have gone from five railroads to just (barely) two. Are there any old maps (USGS...) showing the trackage in Leavenworth?


I tried tracing the route of old roads in northern Missouri and found a few towns that went from two to zero over the course of a few decades.

-jofegan



Date: 12/12/09 12:00
Re: Leavenworth, KS abandoned railroads
Author: rehunn

The SPV Prairies West Atlas does a nice job of covering abandoned lines:



Date: 12/12/09 16:52
Re: Leavenworth, KS abandoned railroads
Author: mopac1978

Here's a couple of views of an ongoing project I've been working on to create a draw file layer in DeLorme's Street Atlas showing abandonded rail lines. It shows what I have for Leavenworth so far. I create these by utilizing topo maps and aerial/satellite photos (Acme Mapper is great for this - mapper.acme.com). I use red for lines that I'm pretty certain of the location, and blue for those that are more speculative where traces no longer exist. Hope this helps some.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/12/09 17:09 by mopac1978.






Date: 12/12/09 20:16
Re: Leavenworth, KS abandoned railroads
Author: jofegan

Found this map in the University of Alabama archives - scroll down to the second Leavenworth (or maybe third) map - has trackage listing for this area back in 1908. Good luck correlating to current geography.

http://alabamamaps.ua.edu/historicalmaps/us_states/kansas/index2.html

--jofegan



Date: 01/01/13 19:37
Re: Leavenworth, KS abandoned railroads
Author: StJoeLines

mmisin2 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Wow, you could spend a LOT of time talking about
> Leavenworth abandoned rail lines. Where to
> start...
>
> The CB+Q/BN served Leavenworth via a branch from
> Beverly, MO off of the KC to St. Joseph/Lincoln,
> NE/Omaha, NE mainline.

The CBQ/BN spur-line to Leavenworth was not from Beverly, it was from East Leavenworth Jct. East Leavenworth is 3.5 miles south of Beverly.

The ROWs can still be seen in Google SAT image, from the siding location marked East Leavenworth on State Hwy 45 straight west to Stillings Rd, and the wyes at East Leavenworth CBQ and Stillings ROCK/CGW can still be seen also.



> The CGW/CNW served Leavenworth via its own line
> via Des Moines to Beverly and then used trackage
> rights over the CBQ to reach trackage rights over
> the MP/UP Omaha line to reach Kansas City.

The CGW line from Bee Creek to Beverly was completed in December of 1890. The first official CGW train didn't reach Leavenworth until February 1, 1891. It secured trackage rights from the Rock Island from Beverly to the east bank of the Missouri River. It rented the crossing and leased the Rock Island and Union Pacific tracks from the west end of the bridge to a connection with the Kansas City, Wyandotte & Northwestern to finally reach Kansas City.

From November of 1909 to August of 1910, the CGW temporarily rerouted it's trains over the CBQ from Beverly south to Harlem and across the Q's bridge at Kansas City. This was done to give the CGW time to negotiate more favorable rental rates and a change of route at Leavenworth. The Missouri Pacific replaced the Kansas City, Wyandotte & Northwestern as it had an 8 mile shorter route and the grades were much better.


The CGW station of Kirmeyer was established on the east bank at Stillings, Missouri. Kirmeyer had a 2 stall engine house and wye.
From 1912 to 1929 the CGW had double-headed the "Diagonal Line" with 2-8-2 Mikes, because of the steep grades from Oelwein to Kirmeyer. In December of 1929, the CGW ordered the first of of what would become 36, 2-10-4 Texas type locomotives to run this line. They began operating over the line early in 1930, but because of their large size, they were restricted from crossing the bridge into Leavenworth, and were turned on the wye at Kirmeyer for the return train back to Oelwien.


> CRIP served Leavenworth via a line from Platte
> City, MO. I think it also used the CBQ to reach
> Leavenworth from Beverly. I am not sure who owned
> the bridge over the Missouri River (no longer in
> existence) that was used by the CBQ/CRIP/CGW/CNW.
> The bridge was removed in the 1980's.

The Rock Island line to Leavenworth started at the major junction town of Cameron, Missouri. At Cameron Jct, the line split three ways; west to St Joseph, southwest to Edgerton, and south to Kansas City via the CBQ (trackage rights secured from the Hannibal & St Joseph 1879). At Edgerton Jct the line split again, northwest to Rushville crossing the CBQ (Kansas City, St Joseph & Council Bluffs) and onto Atchison KS, and southwest continuing towards Leavenworth. It passed through Tracy/Platte City, Missouri and on to Beverly where the CGW joined it and crossed at grade the CBQ (Kansas City, St Joseph & Council Bluffs).

The first bridge across the Missouri at Leavenworth was the Leavenworth & Platte County Bridge Co of 1888.

The Leavenworth Terminal Railway and Bridge Company was formed in 1892 to build a second bridge across the Missouri River at Leavenworth. The company erected what would be known as the Terminal Bridge, which carried railroad traffic, vehicles, and pedestrians from the town of Stillings Missouri on the east bank to Leavenworth, landing at Choctaw Street.

The CGW had an interest in both of these bridge companies. As to what and how much I haven't been able to find out yet.

On February 19, 1941 the CGW emerged from reorganization as the Chicago Great Western Railway Company. Assets including the Leavenworth Terminal Railway & Bridge Company were conveyed to the new corporation.



Date: 01/02/13 10:01
Re: Leavenworth, KS abandoned railroads
Author: mmisin2

Thank you for the update. Very interesting.



Date: 10/04/13 18:55
Re: Leavenworth, KS abandoned railroads
Author: brc600

This is my July 6, 1985 shot of the Leavenworth, KS Union Station Tim Vana brc600

jofegan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Hi folks.
> I'm visiting my parents in Platte City and drove
> over to Leavenworth, KS for the afternoon. There
> seems to be only two railroads in the area, UP
> which runs on the west side of the Missouri River,
> and BNSF, several miles to the east on the other
> side of the river. There appeared to be several
> other lines that used to run through that area in
> the past - CRIP, CGW, and ATSF - at least by
> looking through my old Official Railway Guide.
> Did any of these roads share trackage with the
> currently used UP/BNSF lines, or did they have
> seperate ROW? If so, are there any clues today
> where these abandoned rails ran?
>
> Thanks.
>
> jofegan




Date: 10/06/13 21:39
Re: Leavenworth, KS abandoned railroads
Author: jridge

jofegan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> ...Are there any old maps (USGS...) showing the
> trackage in Leavenworth?
>
> -jofegan

Try historicaerials.com. They have topo maps going back as far as 1910 for Leavenworth



Date: 10/07/13 15:26
Re: Leavenworth, KS abandoned railroads
Author: ddg




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