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A Route That Wasn't 10/23/11


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#1 laming

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 08:11 PM

Hi Troops!!

Hope you're having a super Autumn season. Wife and I have been enjoying our region as much as our time allows. (It's our favorite season.) I've been on two all-day Harley adventures, and yesterday the wife went with me on a third. This upcoming week we'll be spending the entire weekend up in the Ozarks at a cabin we've rented. I'll be participating in a weekend-long dirt bike event I attend yearly. Friday, Saturday and Sunday's weather's supposed to be PERFECT! LOVE Autumn and spending it in the Ozarks!

Anyway, yesterday we rode through the heart of the Arkansas Ozarks. I took her up Hwy 123 out of Clarksville, then crossed over Hwy 7 and continued up Hwy 123 to Mt. Judea... then over to Jasper where we ate lunch... then out of Jasper on Hwy 74 east to Hwy 21, then Hwy 16 to the St. Paul area... then down the Pig Trail (Hwy 23) and home! It was a FANTASTIC day.

IF you're a regular here, I'll bet you picked up on the name "St. Paul". Yup, that's the same St. Paul that exists on the Ozark Northern route, and the same St. Paul that resides on my prototype "Frisco Lines" developmental route. Love the area as well as the prototype St. Paul Branch that ran through that area "way back when".

Well, as we were working Hwy 16 headed east toward the St. Paul and Pettigrew area (both were prototype railroad towns)... I couldn't help but be awe-stricken AGAIN at how wonderfully rugged these tumbled mass of mountains known as the Ozarks truly are. Yup... great mountains. Only one problem: Not much in the way of railroads ran through them.

In fact, there are only three mainline rails that ever truly ran among them: The north/south Frisco along the western edge. The northwest/southeast StLNA/M&NA/M&A/A&O that ran diagonally across the northern portion of them, and the northwest/southeast St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern/Missouri Pacific/Union Pacific/Missouri & NorthERN Arkansas that runs diagonally across the northern portion. (Discounting the KCS which runs through a very small portion up in the very NW corner of AR.) However, none of the above tackled the worst of them. No one did.

ANYWAY... was thinking what a shame there were no railroads through the most rugged portions of the Ozarks. As I continued to ponder the lack of rails while winding along Hwy 16, we eased around the tight curve in the very small and old town (basically a ghost town) of "Boston", to began the descent to Pettigrew, which was the eastern terminus of the Frisco's St. Paul Branch. Yup, it's such a shame no rails were ever through here... then...

...THE LIGHT BULB CAME ON!

Let's go WAAAAY back to the year 1882 here in the Ozarks. Actual history records that on July 4th of that year, the first Frisco train rolled into Fayetteville, AR, some 45 miles west of Pettigrew. Not long after the Frisco was completed to Fort Smith, AR, and was being extended on toward Indian Territory (I.T. to become Oklahoma), speculative railroadin' eyes were being cast toward the east out of Fayetteville, along the valley of the White River.

Sure enough, on September 4, 1886, a charter was let by the state of Arkansas for a railroad to be built from Fayetteville, AR, eastward along the White River valley and beyond. And the name of this railroad?

Get this: It was named the Fayetteville & Little Rock!

Yup, you read correctly. The original charter and proposal was for the F&LR to build from Fayetteville, eastward to the St. Paul area, then climb the mountains to EVENTUALLY join the rails of the St. Louis & Iron Mtn. Southern at a rivertown called "Lewisburg", which was near the present day Morrilton, AR.

Actual history continuing, the Frisco immediately took notice of the F&LR and realized it could be a very important feeder line for it's north/south mainline, so the Frisco approached the F&LR in regards to outright purchase. This was accomplished on February 23, 1887, with the corporate name "Fayetteville & Little Rock" being retained for the time being. History shows that the rails reached St. Paul, then a few years later were extended to Pettigrew, and that was it. It never went further. At some point in time the F&LR corporate title was dissolved, and it was, for all intents and purposes, merely another branch of the Frisco.

"Thanks for the history lesson there Andre... but what light bulb of genius came on?", you may ask.

GLAD you asked!!

HERE'S why the light buld flicked on:

What IF the F&LR had remained independant? What IF they actually struck off into the depth of the Ozarks and made it to Lewisburg?

It's this "what if" stuff where it gets "interesting". IF the F&LR had remained independant and IF it reached its objective terminal, then:

* The St. Paul Branch could very much have looked like it did as built.
* There would be a SUPER RUGGED "Mountain Division" to contend with east of St. Paul.
* There would have been a southern outlet via the St. Louis, Iron Mtn. & Southern.
* There would have been a rivertown terminal. (Think steam powered riverboats.)

Once this light bulb flicked on, I began to wonder such things as:

* Where would they have run to once they were climbing the mountains?
* What existing towns were they going to pass through along the way?
* What new towns would have sprung up and grown as a result of the rails?

All of these (and more) are really interesting questions... BUT... the most intriguing question to me is:

* HOW were they going to get out of the ridiculously rugged cul de sac at Pettigrew????

To get an idea of what I'm talking about, if you have the Ozark Northern route, go to St. Paul and look at the distant mountains as well as the nearby mountains to the east and south. THOSE are the mountains they would have to hit HEAD ON in order to reach the Arkansas River valley area, the location of Lewisburg. The aspirations of railroad founders were truly amazing.

Oh so tempting!! Given that the F&LR never reached its fullest potential, the door is open to extropolate from known data, and still stay completely within the realm of plausibility. For example: I have an entire roster of engines and equipment ready for use via the models of the Ozark Northern and Colorado Midland. I could EQUIP this idea in spades. (That's important to me for some reason. Several of my route projects went inactive on account of this lack of equipment issue.)

So, here's what I'm asking: WHAT would I have if I attempted a prototype route that was SUPPOSED TO BE, but WASN'T? In this case, one that was partially built. Would I have something that is both historically accurate, yet creatively interpreted? A proto-lanced route? A fantasy route?? What?

Ah, the fun we find in V scale!!

#2 rlbarr

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 10:57 AM

QUOTE(laming @ Oct 23 2011, 6:52 PM) View Post

Hi Troops!!..................

..................................

So, here's what I'm asking: WHAT would I have if I attempted a prototype route that was SUPPOSED TO BE, but WASN'T? In this case, one that was partially built. Would I have something that is both historically accurate, yet creatively interpreted? A proto-lanced route? A fantasy route?? What?

Ah, the fun we find in V scale!!




Love the concept - the best of prototype and imagineering rolled into one.

R Barrows

#3 zhilton

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 11:55 AM

QUOTE(laming @ Oct 23 2011, 8:52 PM) View Post
...and the northwest/southeast St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern/Missouri Pacific/Union Pacific/Missouri & NorthERN Arkansas that runs diagonally across the northern portion.
Ah yes, the other May Never Arrive. For the sake of discussion (since we're sort of talking history)...what's now the MNA (Missouri & Northern Ark, RA subsidiary) was built in at least two different sections. The line from Pleasant Hill (SE of Lee's Summit) to Joplin was the original alignment. Sometime about 1906 they started laying rail from Carthage east/southeast toward Auroa, branch to Springfield, Branson (wasn't more than a wide spot for 60+ years), Cotter, Batesville, Newport/Diaz and onto Memphis. The grade profile of the section from Carthage to Pleasant Hill is vastly different than that of the line to Cotter/Batesville/Memphis. With that said, the line spends 20 miles between Pyatt & Omaha climbing a steady 1% grade. The terrain in that part of the Ozarks is more "refined" than what is down around Turner's bend, Cass and Chester. From Cotter to Batesville the main runs right next to the White River...just this past spring the main was OOS (out of service) for 3 weeks because of washouts. I can only imagine what the White River was like before the Corp of Engineers "tamed it".

The terrain the F&LR would have had to deal with would have broke just about any railroad (cough, StLNA/M&NA/M&A/A&O). Having run a couple of engines on the Hillbilly Central, SLWC and MNA...again I can only imagine the real men that would have been running trains up & over those mountains if they built the line past Pettigrew. Did F&LR actually build to St. Paul & Pettigrew? Or was that more or less Frisco going after the virgin hardwoods?

#4 laming

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 04:48 PM

Oooo!! Replies! Cool! Let me jump on 'em...

R Barrow said:

QUOTE
Love the concept - the best of prototype and imagineering rolled into one.


I'm likin' it too. What I like best is that I can model one of my long time favorites, the prototype St. Paul Branch, and make it reasonably reflect known data in regards to towns/tracks/gradient/etc. However, once the rails would get east of St. Paul... it then becomes a extropolative challenge to shoot a line through the mountains to the Arkansas River Valley: Much same way that the prototype F&LR would have faced... only in virtual! Now how cool is that?

Preliminary scouting expeditions via USAPhotoMaps topography data indicates they would NOT have been able to reasonably get a line out of Pettigrew (5%). Instead, the most logical (if you call tackling this segment of the Ozarks "logical"!) would be to follow the East Prong of the White River at Dutton. (And Pettigrew becomes a short 4 mile branch.) It could run up East Prong to either a divide or ride along the ridge, until you can reach a good water course to follow out of that portion of the Ozarks. Likely Little Piney Creek. If it turns out to be the Little Piney, you would go by such places as Devil's Knob and Devil's Fork to access the Little Piney. Exiting via the Little Piney near Hargarville, you're now fairly CLOSE to the Arkansas River Valley, but you wouldn't want to actually go water level until you're out of the eastern most edge of the coal belt seam area, which ended just east of Russellville. (There was even anthricite coal there!) This would add coal as a revenue producer throughout the region just east of Clarksville to just east of Russellville.

Apparently, with the charter calling for a terminal near Morrilton at Lewisburg, the F&LR intended to arrange for trackage rights over the St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern to access Little Rock.

Like I said... sounds INTERESTING!!

Zack querried:

QUOTE
Did F&LR actually build to St. Paul & Pettigrew? Or was that more or less Frisco going after the virgin hardwoods?


It appears the F&LR started the construction, but was very soon purchased by the Frisco, some five months after the F&LR kicked off. I'll quote historian Clifton Hull's account in "Shortlines Railroads Of Arkansas":

"On December 4th, 1886, a switch was installed in the Frisco track about a mile south of Fayetteville, and the spot was prompptly named Fayette Junction. The railroad was on its way. February, 1887, saw rails laid on raw white-oak ties as far as Powell, twenty five miles away."

So, there we have it: The actual Fayetteville & Little Rock built to "Powell", Arkansas. Powell would have been between the later towns of Delaney and Patrick, Arkansas.

Once aquired by the Frisco, it was a Frisco branch, no more, no less. VERY doubtful there were ANY aspirations to reach Lewisburg by Frisco's upper managment after the Frisco purchase. However, actual history records that the St. Paul Branch was a MAJOR timber and fruit feeder branch during its "glory years".

Like I said: Sounds FUN!!

EDIT: Added a pic of an anthracite mine near Russelleville, Arkansas back around the TOC19 era.

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#5 laming

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 06:30 PM

My F&LR Blog Continues....

Wow. Learning more about the F&LR, as well as further debating the route idea. I've been exploring the topo maps as well re-reading the history of the F&LR. In so doing, I'm unearthing some little nuggets of info I hadn't grasped before.

A "plan" (of sorts) is loosely forming: I am nearly 100% sure I want to at least explore the idea in RE. That is, I would like to get the tiles needed, DEM them, and plot surveys through the "uncharted" realms between Pettigrew and Morrilton. How to proceed from here is still being decided. Whether to clone the existing St. Paul Branch work from the Frisco Lines developmental route, or start fresh.

As for era, that too, is being debated. As far as I'm concerned, the earlier the better. However, I want to optimize traffic and growth potential. If I go TOO NEW... the towns and industries aren't developed. Key dates to remember would be:

* The formation date of Sept 4, 1886.

* Construction start date of Dec 4, 1886. (This indicates the OLDEST date for a newly constructed steam engine to be purchased would be the last quarter of 1886.)

* The key fact that 25 miles of track had been laid to the town of Powell as soon as February of 1887. (Fast track laying!)

Looking at the above, and allowing and additional 1 year to reach the Morrilton area (February of 1888), then 1889 or 1890 would give 1-2 years for towns and industries to develop.

Oh, and here's one of those nuggets I mentioned that can relate to the virtual F&LR:

Another line was proposed through the same area east of Pettigrew at a later date (1911): The Kansas City & Memphis. Apparently, the KC&M had a survey run, even publishing a tentative public timetable. This is where it gets very interesting!

Interesting point number 1: The KC&M's surveyed/proposed route ran within 3 miles of Pettigrew to the nearby town of Boston. (FWIW: I made an error in my previous 5% calculation from Pettigrew to Boston. The grade would be less... even in the "do-able" range of 3.5%.)

Interesting point number 2: From Boston, it was to pass through Fallsville, Fort Douglas, and eventually reach the Arkansas River area at Gum Log.

Interesting point number 3: Given the towns it was to pass through, apparently the KC&M was going to use the Big Piney water course to get out of the Ozark mountains. This is interesting because a very early route effort of mine, the fictional Kansas City & Gulf diesel route, used the Big Piney as well!

Anyway, if I WANT to... I could use the surveyed/proposed routing of the KC&M... or strike off on my own with a different routing. However it shakes out, I see at least one major divide to conquer and possibly two seperate helper districts. One eastbound (southbound?) and one westbound (northbound?). This is IF the rails of the F&LR stays on a ridge until it reaches its exit watercourse.

I also see a LOT of tiles, DEM work, marker work, and exploring/surveying in RE ahead of me in order to select routing. Once a route through the Ozarks is selected, then the excess tiles and such can be deleted and the overall route trimmed, and the rails can start penetrating the previously unpenetrated Ozarks!

I really do like this idea. Sounds like a very good way to have a large portion of a route that was prototype, as well as a very interesting mountain and river division that is BASED on the prototype. I would get to bring to life a region that has long fascinated me (i.e. The St. Paul Branch) as well as having the opportunity to do what the prototype F&LR wasn't able to do: Get F&LR rails to the eastern terminus of Lewisburg.

Along the way, I will have control of several key elments that I always enjoy:

* Final say on how the more obscure towns and their trackage are arranged.
* Decide what industries are along the way.
* Formulate realistic engine and equipment rosters.
* Etc!

Ah well... lots going on this week (work) and weekend (a dirt bike event), so any hard core F&LR activity will have to wait!

#6 laming

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Posted 27 October 2011 - 06:05 PM

A neat thing just happened!

You see, I have been exchanging some emails with a long-time (railroad related) friend. This friend is a Frisco Historian Extroidanaire. I've been discussing this Fayetteville & Little Rock idea with him. LO and BEHOLD... he tells me "then you need to check out my new data I've digitized."

WOW! It turns out he has come into possession of the ENTIRE library of Frisco depot floor plan sheets. Therein is nearly EVERY town on the Frisco system, including the St. Paul Branch aka F&LR! Free for the downloading!

Needless to say, this has thrown gasoline on the fire. Many depot question marks now have answers.

Hmmmm... could it be that some things are just supposed to be???



#7 rlbarr

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 10:56 AM

QUOTE(laming @ Oct 27 2011, 4:46 PM) View Post

A neat thing just happened!

You see, I have been exchanging some emails with a long-time (railroad related) friend. This friend is a Frisco Historian Extroidanaire. I've been discussing this Fayetteville & Little Rock idea with him. LO and BEHOLD... he tells me "then you need to check out my new data I've digitized."

WOW! It turns out he has come into possession of the ENTIRE library of Frisco depot floor plan sheets. Therein is nearly EVERY town on the Frisco system, including the St. Paul Branch aka F&LR! Free for the downloading!

Needless to say, this has thrown gasoline on the fire. Many depot question marks now have answers.

Hmmmm... could it be that some things are just supposed to be???


Do not attempt to buck fate; it can be dangerous to your health. Go for it!

#8 laming

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 07:51 PM

rlbarr said:

QUOTE
Do not attempt to buck fate; it can be dangerous to your health. Go for it!


I agree! I think I'm gonna' go for it! Since typing the above, even more "proof" that I need to do this has been experienced. smile.gif "One of these days", I'll share some of it.

Even though my free time of late has been in very short supply, over the past couple weeks I've still managed to accomplish a few things in regards to the F&LR idea. Here's a few pics! What you're looking at...

TilesDEMS1.jpg: A screen pic illustrating the a recent state of the tiles/DEMS. Already, more tiles have been added to cover the survey markers. The rails will exit the most rugged portion of the mountains near/at Hargarville. (Also note that the tiles and markers are already in place for one of the other prominent favorite Ozark prototypes of mine: The Black Mountain & Eastern.)

AE_FayetteJct1.jpg - An Activity Editor screen illustrating what is currently built and what is being planned. Still to come will be a few more tracks for cabooses and a RIP track/Car Shops area.

RE_FayetteJct1.jpg - A Route Editor screen grab of the current state of Fayette Jct. Note that Fayette Jct will reflect the changes that WOULD have happened IF the Fayetteville & Little Rock would have remained independant, as I am portraying it.

When I don't have time or the energy to create in RE, I've been pondering, researching, and planning the F&LR roster.

All for now!

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