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Western Railroad Discussion > The Luck of 'The Rock'

Date: 04/07/21 21:11
The Luck of 'The Rock'
Author: tq-07fan

I rode two of the routes in Hutch yesterday and finished up riding the other three this morning. Hutchinson is one of those places that it is difficult to escape it's orbit as there is so much interesting stuff going on, yes lots of trains! I had almost succeeded in leaving when I heard a horn and caught a Union Pacific local on the former Rock Island under the K 14 overpass. I then proceeded to Emporia and totally lucked out in finding an Lyon County Area Transportation LCAT Demand Service bus as I had trouble understanding their schedule. I was able to ride on lap with Gene before he finished for the day. I lucked out as the afternoon runs are not currently being operated on ht schedule and instead Demand Service (Dial-A-Ride) buses are being used. I quickly found that Emporia is another place difficult to escape orbit from and finally had to force myself Northwest. I decided to clinch another Marion and drove on into Marion Kansas. I found where the diamond for former the Rock Island, now Union Pacific and an unidentified railway. The Kansas State Historic Highway Maps collection only started showing railways in 1977 so anything gone before that I have had trouble figuring out.  Anyways I left Marion on a paved road which turned to gravel and went under US 56 and kept on going. Of course being in a rental car I took it slow to not ding the body and was getting frustrated. I turned onto Sunrise road and as looked both ways at the crossing I saw a headlight in the distance! You can bet that my main intent for going to Marion was to see a train and I totally lucked out. I just wish The Rock could have have been as lucky as I was today...


Date: 04/07/21 23:51
Re: The Luck of 'The Rock'
Author: dwatry

Wow admire your dedication to transit riding.  I'm a transit district employee but haven't been on a bus or a train in a year!  Now that I'm fully vaxxed hoping to get on soon!

Date: 04/08/21 05:13
Re: The Luck of 'The Rock'
Author: ATSF3768

That was a Santa Fe branchline crossing the Rock in Marion. The depot is still there and is now a library. 

Date: 04/08/21 06:13
Re: The Luck of 'The Rock'
Author: monaddave

Your unidentified branch line is the former Santa Fe branch that took off from their main line at Florence, KS, to Marion and then pretty much paralleled US 56 all the way to Ellinwood, KS. There it tied back into the original Santa Fe main via Great Bend. I'm not sure who operates it these days, but it is severed in many places.
Dave in MT

Date: 04/08/21 06:33
Re: The Luck of 'The Rock'
Author: jlcKS

Couple of links for you:

Kansas State RR Historical  Map 1:

Kansas State RR Map 2

Link to KDOT offical map site that has links to county maps site:


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/08/21 06:35 by jlcKS.

Date: 04/08/21 18:08
Re: The Luck of 'The Rock'
Author: rrman6

Wish the Kansas 2017 map would have shown Belvidere in SE Kiowa County where the old AT&SF junction just east of there branched SE to Medicine Lodge and with the NE leg going to Croft and beyond to the connection at Coats.  Belvidere once had the depot, MOW section houses, the wye for turning along with the big black water tank, cattle loading pens, and in early days the elevated coal ramp for unloading coal cars for fueling the steamers.  

The Robbins Anchor D Ranch was (and is yet) located in this area.  Before trucking, the Robbins Ranch was the big user of the cattle pens for shipping their livestock by rail.  In early years the prominant Rockefeller family was invested in businesses across the country.  J.D. Rockefeller was in Cleveland, OH and involved with Standard Oil while his brother, Frank, a kind of black sheep in the family, was sent west by J.D. to start the Rockefeller Ranch at Belvidere.  The Robbins family was in the Belvidere area at the time too.  The AT&SF carved up the 8,000 acre Rockefeller Ranch.  Later, Frank then tried to sell the depreciated land to no avail, and the Robbins' purchased it after Frank returned to Cleveland.  Ed Robbins was once on the AT&SF Board of Directors as well as that of TWA airlines. In later years after Ed's passing, hiis son, Richard "Dick" Robbins managed the ranch until his passing in 2018.  Before his death, Dick raised Angus and Herefords before he fell for longhorn's of which he was most fascinated with.  

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