The Kansas City Clinton & Springfield Railway

The Kansas City Clinton & Springfield Railway connected Olathe, KS with Ash Grove, MO along a 155 mile right of way. 

KCC&S Steam Engine, c.1924. Springfield-Greene County Library.

Built in 1885, it long paralleled the Kansas City and Southern Railway, which ran a quite similar route in spots. Eventually both lines became part of the St. Louis & San Francisco Railway ("The Frisco"), who would purchase the railroad in 1928, incorporating parts of the line into it's Kansas City-Springfield route, while abandoning most stretches by the mid-1930's. This section was deemed inferior and redundant to the better constructed right of way, leading to its abandonment.

Like many of the ill-maintained short line roads that are discussed in this blog, this line too developed a derisive nickname, the "Leaky Roof". According to KCCRM, this "came from the old and somewhat run down freight cars the KCCS used. One of their major customers was the W. S. Dicky Clay Company in Deepwater. The company shipped clay tiles on KCCS which were impervious to the elements, and because of this, just about any old freight car would do. According to legend the superintendent of the White Swan Flour Mill in Clinton, which shipped flower over the KCCS, looked out over their yards and told his men not to ship any flour that day because of all the leaky roofs."

The Springfield-Belton, MO branch of The Frisco would be abandoned in the 1970's, abandoning the entire right-of-way of the KCC&S mainline between Olathe and Ash Grove.

A small branch line to Pleasant Hill, MO is ironically all that survives of the line today, under the flag of the Union Pacific.

Thanks as always for reading!


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