Showing posts from January, 2024

The Eagle Mountain Railroad

The Eagle Mountain Railroad was a privately owned rail line, part of the Kaiser Steel Corporation which transported iron from an interchange with Southern Pacific at Ferrum, CA (itself Latin for Iron) to Eagle Mountain Mine, a distance of 52 miles. ( Right of way ) Yard at Ferrum, looking north. UP's Yuma Subdvision is still active here. Photo by John Acosta, April 2009. ( Abandoned Rails ) Ferrum is located on the Salton Sea in California's Coachella Valley. 1963 Topo Map of the line. ( Wikipedia Commons ) Construction began in 1947 with the line being completed the following year in 1948. It was one of the longer private railroads to be built post World War II in the US, similar to Wyoming's US Steel Railroad , and Arizona's Black Mesa & Lake Powell Railroad , both of which are also abandoned. The story of its demise was similar to many mining railroads, once the ore dried up, there was no point in continuing service. In the late 1970's, increased environmen

The Chicago Kalamazoo & Saginaw Railway

The Chicago Kalamazoo & Saginaw Railway was a railroad operating almost entirely within Kalamazoo County, MI, between Kalamazoo and Hastings, MI, constructed in 1883. ( Abandoned Right of Way ) It would further connect to Woodbury, MI and the Pere Marquette Railway. An informal nickname for the road was the Cuss, Kick & Swear. CK&S Locomotive at Pavilion, MI. The CK&S Railway was not designed to connect to Chicago, as the name might suggest, but it also did not connect with Saginaw either. More grandiose plans for the line came in 1887, as the company amended its articles to construct a northeasterly extension towards Saginaw, where it would connect with the Chicago and Grand Trunk Railway, but this ultimately never came to fruition.  The construction began in 1883, and the railway made its way almost entirely within Kalamazoo County, reaching as far as Hastings, MI. However, the line fell short of its intended destination, stopping only 14 miles past Hastings in Woodb

An Abandoned Railroad Bridge is Being Turned Into a Kansas City Attraction

Kansas City will be getting a new attraction in the Summer of 2024, as a new entertainment district, restaurant and trailhead is being built over the Kansas River. The most interesting part of this plan, to me at least, is the fact that they are building it on an abandoned railroad bridge, much like Trestle Park in Milwaukee , but with much larger ambitions! Rendering of the central truss. Image courtesy of Rock Island Bridge. If you are looking for a unique and exciting place to visit in Kansas City this summer, you might want to check out the Rock Island Railroad Bridge , a historic structure that is being transformed into an entertainment district and venue over the Kansas River. (Location on our Railroad Points of Interest Map ) In fact, The Wall Street Journal and New York Times just listed the KC area as a top place to visit in 2024, and Rock Island Bridge was listed as a key reason.  Rock Island Bridge schematic. Image courtesy of Rock Island Bridge. Groundbreaking on the projec

From Freedmen, For Freedmen: The Ghost Town of Nicodemus, Kansas

Nestled amidst the vast Kansas prairie, Nicodemus stands as a haunting testament to the dreams and struggles of African Americans seeking freedom and prosperity in the late 19th century. Established in 1877, this small town was founded by a group of ex-slaves and became a symbol of hope and self-determination.  Today, Nicodemus is a ghost town , with a population of just 14 people according to the 2020 US Census . In today's blog, we will delve into the rich history of Nicodemus and explore the factors that led to its eventual decline. The townspeople of Nicodemus  with "1st Stone Church" labeled by hand. Library of Congress. The town of Nicodemus was born during the Reconstruction era, a period when African Americans sought to build new lives for themselves in the aftermath of slavery during the period of Reconstruction after the Civil War. A group of settlers, known as the Nicodemus Town Company, purchased land in Graham County, Kansas, with the vision of creating a s

The Uvalde & Northern Railway

The Uvalde and Northern Railway was a short-line railroad located in Texas, running north from Uvalde, hence its name. The railway provided freight and passenger transportation, connecting small towns and ranches in the area to the larger cities and markets. The Uvalde and Northern Railway's history was quite short, and was absorbed into another railroad company before its tracks were eventually abandoned. Today we explore the history of this line, which lasted only twenty years before abandonment. Uvalde & Northern Locomotive  (Texas Transportation Museum) The Uvalde & Northern Railway connected Camp Wood, TX with Uvalde, TX and the Southern Pacific Railroad along a 37 mile right of way, beginning in 1921. ( Right of way ) The original charter for the road dates back to March 14, 1914, to build from Uvalde to a point near the headwaters of Camp Wood Creek in Real County. (Ochoa) Map showing the route of the U&N in 1937. (Texas Transportation Museum) "Cedar posts

A Map of Abandoned Highways By Tomas Masterson

As  the third word in our name implies, we are just as interested in highway infrastructure as abandoned railways, yet we have never tried to make a map of abandoned highways. The reason for this is simple; roads are very rarely abandoned in their entirety.  Take Route 66 for example, much of the original route is still able to be traversed today, and plenty of what is not is simply used for local connections. It's why we likened the current state to the Ship of Theseus . Whereas the longest abandoned railroad is hundreds of miles long (depending on how you define what is the longest, each one is still over 100 miles), the longest stretch of abandoned highway I can think of offhand is the Abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike , about 12 miles in length (ironically, owing its existence to the never-completed South Pennsylvania Railroad ) Laurel Hill Tunnel in 1942 , part of the abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike. Arthur Rothstein photo, US Library of Congress. It's been too difficult to