The Cassville and Western Railroad connected Cassville, MO with Exeter, MO along a five mile right of way. First proposed in January 1896, the line quickly secured financing, and construction along the short route was complete in June of that year. This gave Cassville a connection to the Frisco system at Exeter, connecting it to the rest of the US Railroad Network.
The line was imperative to Cassville's success, as roads to the town were impassable during the winter, and during inclement weather. By 1919, the line was nonetheless facing bankruptcy. After reorganization as the Cassville & Exeter Railroad, its fortunes changed dramatically.
It was billed as the shortest independent standard-gauge railroad, although there were quite a few examples of shorter short lines, such as the Illinois Midland Railway
. Newspapers across the US, and Ripley's "Believe it or Not" publicized the line, and its one-man operator. It thus remained profitable for its remaining decades.
The line would continue to run independently until 1956, when it was abandoned. Today, only scarchitecture
in Cassville and the tree line of the right of way to Exeter are the only visual cues that remain of the line's existence.
For more information on this line, check out Seven Short-lines Their Lives and Times
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