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Railroaders' Nostalgia > HEY, something's missing!

Date: 08/13/19 18:35
HEY, something's missing!
Author: santafe199

In the summer of 1963 I remember one Sunday afternoon taking an unusual family trip to a very unusual place. I was 8 years old and a trip from Manhattan to Cedar Point, KS (90 minutes, give or take) might as well have been a trip to the moon. My Dad was set up to have an interview(?) with somebody in Cedar Point who had a company named “Western Associates”. I guess he was looking to make some extra money in connection with this business. But from my childhood memories nothing ever came of it. Little did I know that within 15 years I would be making a living riding Santa Fe trains through Cedar Point, and many other Middle Division locations.

From Manhattan we would have driven straight south to Strong City, KS. Then we would have gone west-southwest along US highway 50. All I can remember about reaching Cedar Point is crossing some RR tracks and jogging south about a ½ mile to get there. The town had been built in the 1860s on the south bank of the Cottonwood River. When the Santa Fe came along in 1871 it stayed north of the river. I love the very last sentence in this partially paraphrased town bio snippet from Wikipedia:

Cedar Point was founded in 1862. The first post office was [also] established in 1862. In 1867 a log dam was built across the Cottonwood and a wooden-frame mill was constructed for sawing lumber. The following year it was converted to grind flour and named Cedar Point Mill. In 1870 the name was changed to Drinkwater & Schriver Mill. In 1871 construction of the current stone structure was started, then completed in 1875. In 1871, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway built a main line east-west and built a nearby station named Cedar ‘Grove’ in the valley [just] north of Cedar Point. In 1884 the log dam was replaced by a stone dam. In 1996 [the Santa Fe] merged with Burlington Northern and [was] renamed to the current BNSF Railway. Most locals still refer to this railroad as the "Santa Fe".

I’d love to be able to tell you that as we crossed the RR for the ½ mile jog into town back in 1963 that I looked to the west and saw a small yellow, circle-cross bearing wooden depot on the south side of the high ballasted, double track main line. But I can’t. (Here’s a recent treatise on Cedar Point depots: https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?11,4840730 ). I’d LOVE to be able to tell you that during our stay my 8 year old eyes gazed upon something/ANYTHING Red & Silver rolling through Cedar Point. But I can’t. According to a 1966 Middle Division employee timetable I should have been aware of the mid-afternoon passing of train #8, the eastbound “Fast Mail”. I wish I could at least tell you I can remember hearing the horn. I dearly wish I could, but I just can’t.

I do remember all of us having a late lunch or early supper in some place that had a juke box, probably in nearby Florence, KS. I remember my Dad purposely putting a REAL coin into that juke box to play a novelty tune called: “Hello Mudduh, Hello Fadduh”, by some zany goofball named Allan Sherman*. (Come to think of it, my Dad would have KILLED me if I had wasted my allowance on a juke box…)

For the record in April of 1966 here’s a line-up of all 16 1st Class trains scheduled through Cedar Point every 24 hours. Since it was no longer any kind of a stop the times shown are for Clements, 5.1 miles to the east.

#1, the “San Francisco Chief” @ 1:40 AM
#15, the “Texas Chief” @ 4:05 AM
#17, the “Super Chief” @ 4:20 AM
#7, the “Fast Mail” @ 11:26 AM
#3, “passenger” @ 11:45 AM
#19, the “Chief” @ 7:35 PM
#11, the “Kansas Cityan” @ 7:55 PM
#23, the “Grand Canyon” @ 12:22 AM
#24, the “Grand Canyon” @ 11:49 AM
#2, the “San Francisco Chief” @ 2:34 AM
#18, the “Super Chief” @ 3:14 AM
#12, the “Chicagoan” @ 8:39 AM
#4, “passenger” @ 11:49 AM
#8, the “Fast Mail” @ 2:59 PM
#20, the “Chief” @ 7:14 PM
#16, the “Texas Chief” @ 10:44 PM

My first working employee timetable (Nov 1977?) showed Cedar Point as a 1st District location, with a couple of miscellaneous station tracks. In 1960 the census showed Cedar Point with a population of 87. By 1994, in Santa Fe’s system timetable there was no trace left of Cedar Point. By the 2010 census the town population had dwindled down to 28. To the photos:

1. Here’s the “EMPTY” photo that kick-started this whole thread. BNSF 4296 is rolling east with a stacker through Cedar Point, KS on July 22, 2019. But there are so many things missing from this image!

For starters the double main tracks that once carried Santa Fe’s world class passenger service have been down to one since 1972. And right away we notice the communication lines are gone and with them went the unimpeded view of US highway 50, that faithful companion to the Santa Fe from east of Emporia all the way out to Pueblo.

In 1954 Cedar Point saw 22 1st Class trains pass through every 24 hours (not counting extra sections which were very often the rule rather than the exception). By 1966 that total was down to 16 (see chart above). By 1970 it was down 8 total trains. Amtrak took over in 1971, keeping Santa Fe’s Texas Chief & the world famous Super Chief. But 1979 saw elimination of the Texas train, leaving only the great grandson of the Super Chief. And you have to be an avowed night owl to see it pass by. Cedar Point’s wooden depot was gone long before I hired with Uncle John in 1978. Also gone is the Santa Fe style station sign (see image #2). Gone are the station tracks I once used during a ballast-dumping work train stint in late 1980 (see image #3).

2. AT&SF 4003 leads train 403 E-8 by the Cedar Point station sign on September 6, 1980. Believe it or not, images #1 & #2 were taken with the train in very nearly the same spot.

3. AT&SF 3647 is the solo unit for my work train just east of Cedar Point on December 12, 1980.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/13/19 18:39 by santafe199.

Date: 08/13/19 18:36
Re: HEY, something's missing!
Author: santafe199

So what does extremely small town Kansas look like?

4. This the first sight that greets as you cross the Cottonwood River and enter town from the US 50 about a half mile to the north. This is the long idled “Cedar Point Mill”, constructed in 1875. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Photo date: May 3, 2012.

5. Empty & long-idled buildings in greater downtown Cedar Point! :^) Could one of these ‘business’ fronts have housed Western Associates that my Dad interviewed with back in 1963?

Date: 08/13/19 18:38
Re: HEY, something's missing!
Author: santafe199

There’s still life:

6. The Cedar Point Fire Department, and…

7. …the US Post Office are still ongoing propositions.
(Photos 5-7 taken May 20, 2011)

Thanks for indulging my 8 ~ 64 year old memory!
Lance Garrels

*Allan Sherman died young in 1973 @ 48 years of age. He was an American comedy writer and TV producer (I’ve Got a Secret). He was also a singer & actor. There seems to be some dubious claim that Sherman was once BIGGER than the Beatles. But then (I’m guessing) the Beatles actually came across the big pond, arriving as the extremely sharp tip of the spear of the original British Invasion. But the claim may be kinda-sorta partially correct: In August of 1963, while the Beatles were catching on in Merry Old England Allan Sherman’s letter-from-camp parody “Hello Mudduh, Hello Fadduh” broke into Billboard’s Top 40. In 8 zany weeks the ditty raced up to #2 where it stayed for 3 weeks before pirouetting away…

DJ Sir L (I’ve got a 45 of this ditty boxed away somewhere… ;^)

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/13/19 18:49 by santafe199.

Date: 08/13/19 20:21
Re: HEY, something's missing!
Author: ATSFSuperChief

Another wonderful lead in to the fine photos. Many thanks for your efforts entertaining the TO world.

Don Allender

Date: 08/14/19 00:58
Re: HEY, something's missing!
Author: Evan_Werkema

Allan Sherman's star rose fast in the early 60's with albums of song spoofs and original novelty compositions, but then flared out quickly in the mid-60's as his new releases stopped selling well.  Some of his stuff hasn't aged particularly gracefully, but variations of "Hello Mudduh, Hello Fadduh" still get used in ads occasionally, and for a great original slab of pure zaniness, give "Good Advice" a listen.


Date: 08/16/19 18:13
Re: HEY, something's missing!
Author: LocoPilot750

In that photo of 4003, it looks like "Cement head" Bob Dick making it happen.

Posted from Android

Date: 08/16/19 19:35
Re: HEY, something's missing!
Author: santafe199

LocoPilot750 Wrote: > ... looks like "Cement head" aka Bob Dick...

...the one & only!  I lost track of how many SFe brakies went out of their (our) way to call him anything slightly related to "Mr Dick" ...


Date: 08/17/19 09:18
Re: HEY, something's missing!
Author: LocoPilot750

Another thing not missing but different, would be Hwy 50. They upgraded it to a "super 2" sometime after you headed north, and scooted it over a little further away from the tracks. It used to be right across the ditch from the tracks in places.

Posted from Android

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