Saturday, May 17, 2014

Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway

Source: 1891 Map, © www.MemorialLibrary.com, used with permission and is authorized for this site only.

The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (reporting mark ATSF) was chartered in February 1859 and ceased operations on December 31, 1996, when it completed a merger with the Burlington Northern Railroad (BN) to form the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway (BNSF) that began September 21, 1995.

It has a history of supporting intermodel freight service. It used a tugboat fleet and ferryboats to support the San Francisco Peninsula. Several of its innovations support container shipping.

The charter was created by Cyrus Kurtz Holliday the founding father and mayor of Topeka, Kansas, with the intent to build along the Santa Fe Trail. The Santa Fe trail was a major route for manufactured goods heading west and silver and fur heading east from 1821-1880. The trail was contributing cause of the U.S. seizure of New Mexico in the Mexican War. It stopped being used in 1880 because that is when the Santa Fe Railroad was competed. West of Dodge City wagon trains had to choose between the shorter, original Cimarron Route or the longer Mountain Route into Colorado and over the Raton Pass. The Mountain Route was more difficult but safer. The Cimarron Route had a stretch of 60 miles with no water. The railroad followed the Mountain Route because it wanted to haul coal from Trinidad, Colorado and Ranton, New Mexico deposits. But the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad also wanted to haul that coal. There was a two year armed conflict between the two railroads until federal intervention prompted an out-of-court settlement on February 2, 1880.
SantaFe did a lot of work in Mexico and California, but I'm interested in the eastern part of the system.

David Rumsey's 1888 map indicates that a route was constructed according to the name, that is, to Atchison. But a more direct route via Kansas City had also been built. And my 1928 Railroad Atlas indicates the Atchison route had become a branch line. Since the Santa Fe Trail started in Independence, MO., I'm still trying to find why Holliday include Atchison in his original plan?

An 1878 Illinois Map does not show a SantaFe route through Fort Madison. Evidently the above 1888 map was printed by SantaFe because that is when they completed the Eastern extension. A quote by Rex Cherringtonfrom Clark E. Carr's book  History of Bringing the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway to Galesburg indicates that SantaFe did delay the construction of the eastern segmnet.
The system had been in operation from Kansas City west, for years, the lines owned and operated by the company traversing the states and territories of the southwest, with terminals in California and old Mexico, on the Pacific OceanŠ The management decided that instead of giving this business to other lines, it was for the interest of the Santa Fe to build a line for itself to Chicago and deliver its own passengers and freight there, on its own cars, without reshipment. This being the principal object of extending the system, the question of gaining local business along the proposed line was subordinated to that of finding a short line with easy grades to Chicago.
Rex then explains:
James Marshall's book, Santa Fe, The Railroad that Built an Empire contains a chapter entitled, "The Invasion of Chicago" that largely concurs with Carr's assessment of the Santa Fe's objective. Marshall explained further that the Santa Fe officials worked in secrecy, sending survey parties between Kansas City and Chicago who had sworn not to answer questions concerning whose interests they represented. Carr agrees on this point but omits what Marshall further relates. It was at Keokuk where the Santa Fe intended to cross the Mississippi River­­ where a bridge belonging to Andrew Carnegie could be rented for $20,000 per year. During 1886 the citizenry of Ft. Madison outbid Keokuk's populace and secured the Santa Fe­­ which had the effect of moving the route northward by approximately 12 miles.
So the Chicago, Santa Fe and California Railway extension was built between 1886 and 1888. In fact, regular service between Chicago and Kansas City was scheduled to start December 19, 1887.

The following tidbit from Rex's notes is worthy of being repeated:
On a lighter note, the colorful character Death Valley Scotty has a link to our area because of the Santa Fe. In July 1905 Walter Scott (his real name) asked J.J. Byrne, general passenger agent at Los Angeles if he could be transported to Chicago in 46 hours. He was answered affirmatively and the fare for Scotty and his wife set at $5,500. Scotty pulled it out of a roll of $1,000 bills and was given the privilege of naming the train "Coyote Special." They left Los Angeles on Sunday July 6, 1905 at 1pm and arrived at Dearborn Station in Chicago July 11th at 11:45am. They had travelled the 2,267 miles and arrived about one hour and fifteen minutes earlier than requested. Nineteen engines and eight engine crews were used on the trip. In the 2.8 miles between Cameron and Surrey the train maintained 106 miles per hour­­ then a new world record! With Surrey only five miles west of Galesburg there wouldn't have been time for much slowing down as the Coyote Special went through.
Of note is that SantaFe originally used the Dearborn Station. (I think Chicago had 6 passenger terminals and sorting out which railroads used which terminals and how that usage changed is on my to-do list.) And a list of rail lines indicates I need to learn more about the "Chicago Terminal Division." I know that SantaFe moved from the Dearborn Station to the Union Station years ago because all remaining non-commuter passenger service to Chicago was moved to Union Station. And Rex indicates that passenger service no longer runs on the SanaFe between Chicago and Galesburg:
Marc Magliari of Amtrak says that about 5,000 passengers a year board at Chillicothe and about 2,400 at Streator. While he says that "every passenger is important," it would have cost Amtrak about $100,000 to buy a short stretch of track near Bridgeport in Chicago being abandoned by the BNSF and essential to getting to Union Station. By changing the route, that money is saved as is the cost of maintaining the Santa Fe depot in Galesburg.
This is another reason why I need to study the Bridgeport map.

Comparing the 1888 map with the 1991 map at the top shows a new southern route between Burrton, Kansas, and Chicago. The southern route uses Frisco (St. Louis-San Fransico Railway) in Kansas and Missouri. And the route from Monett, MO, to Paris, TX, was also part of the Frisco route. But my 1928 Atlas has these routes marked as Frisco.

The southern Illinois route does not make much sense. It is the Wabash that goes from St. Louis to Litchfield via Edwardsville. Then the Illinois Central to Springfield and Chicago & Illinois Midland to Petersburg and Havana. The CB&Q goes from Litchfield to Jacksonville and the "J&H" goes to Virginia and Havana. The list of abbreviations in the 1928 Atlas does not have an entry for the J&H designation. Does it mean Jacksonville and Havana? The C&IM goes from Havana to Pekin, and I assume to Peoria. And a SantaFe branch goes from Peoria to Minonk and Ancoma where it joins the original SantaFe route across Illinois.

Argentine Yard in Kansas City
Barstow Yard


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