Facebook Page

East Home to Columbia 10/21-23/2023

by Chris Guenzler

Elizabeth and I arose in Antonito and following our Internet duties, checked out and I drove us to the line of equipment across the road from the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad parking lot.

Denver and Rio Grande Western gondola 1413 built by American Car and Foundry in 1902.

Denver and Rio Grande Western gondola 1239 built by American Car and Foundry in 1902.

Denver and Rio Grande Western drop bottom gondola 1238 built by American Car and Foundry in 1902.

Denver and Rio Grande Western drop-bottom gondola 801 built by American Car and Foundry in 1904.

Denver and Rio Grande Western gondola 1741 built by American Car and Foundry in 1903.

Denver and Rio Grande Western stock car 5624 built by American Car and Foundry in 1904.

Denver and Rio Grande Western box car 3150 built by American Car and Foundry in 1904.

Denver and Rio Grande Western stock car 5530 built by American Car and Foundry in 1904.

East Broad Top box car 888 built by the railroad in 1915.

Denver and Rio Grande Western stock car 5802 built by American Car and Foundry in 1904.

Denver and Rio Grande Western stock car 5741 built by American Car and Foundry in 1904.

Denver and Rio Grande Western Flanger OJ built by the railroad in 1885.

Denver and Rio Grande Western box car 3553 built by American Car and Foundry in 1904.

Denver and Rio Grande Western drop-bottom gondola 769 built by American Car and Foundry in 1904.

Denver and Rio Grande Western stock car 5774 built by American Car and Foundry in 1904.

Denver and Rio Grande Western flat car 6544 built by American Car and Foundry and the railroad in 1940 from a standard gauge gondola.

Denver and Rio Grande Western flat car 6200 built by the railroad in 1918.

Denver and Rio Grande Western flat car 6529 built by American Car and Foundry and the railroad in 1940 from a standard gauge gondola.

Unknown flat car.

Denver and Rio Grande Western flat car 6627 built by the railroad in 1956 from a standard gauge box car. From here I drove us to Walsenburg.

Denver and Rio Grande Western caboose 01441 built by the railroad in 1945.

Denver and Rio Grande Western Walensburg station. Elizabeth then drove us to Calhan.

Elizabeth had never seen a Joint Line train and as we headed north from Pueblo, that changed.

Rock Island signal box 570.80 Calhan.

Chicago Rock Island and Pacific caboose 17085 built by the railroad in 1966.

Chicago Rock Island and Pacific caboose 17658 originally built by the Bettendorf Company in Bettendorf, Iowa, in 1902 as a B-2 boxcar, with an outside frame. It served as a boxcar for 30 years. In 1942 the Rock Island needed cabooses for the war effort but the War Production Board would not allocate the steel to manufacture cabooses, so the Rock Island utilized the old B-2 boxcars and turned them into cabooses in 1942.

Colorado and Southern first class coach 532 built by American Car and Foundry in 1905 and donated by the Forney Museum.

Train schedule on the station.

The Calhan Depot, 704 Fourth Street, was initially built and owned by the Chicago, Kansas and Nebraska Railroad, a separate, but associated company of the Chicago, Rock Island and Chicago Railway. It existed from 1888 to 1891 when it was absorbed into the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad. In the late 1880s, the officials from Illinois-based Rock Island Railroad Company found good quality shallow groundwater in Calhan and thought the virtually treeless land would make an excellent stopping point between Limon and Colorado Springs. The first train passed through Calhan on November 5, 1888, according to Larry L. King’s book, “The History of Calhan and Vicinity 1888-1988.” That prompted the opening of the town's post office 19 days later. The elevation of the Depot is 6,509 feet above sea level and is the highest elevation of any depot that had been on the Rock Island Railway. The distance to Chicago from Calhan is 996.0 miles and to Colorado Springs terminus is 37.4 miles. In addition to the depot, a section house, bunkhouses, water tower, pump house, and stock pens were built at the same time. There were two tracks in front of the depot and one behind it.

Chicago Rock Island and Pacific flat car unknown.

Chicago Rock Island and Pacific westbound signal.

An empty display track.

The rails date from 1936. We continued on to Limon.

Limon Union station built in 1910 and used by the Rock Island and Union Pacific railroads.

Museum scene.

Great Northern 14-section sleeping car built by Pullman in 1914 and later converted to maintenance-of-way diner/office car.

Union Pacific caboose 25670 built by International Car in 1967.

Milwaukee Road branchline combine 2758 built by the railroad in 1938.

Signal display.

Union Pacific Fairmont speeder.

Rock Island wedge snow plow 95580 built by the railroad in 1951, rebuilt from a retired steam locomotive tender. It was transferred to the Union Pacific Railway in 1981 and assigned to serve from Oakley, Kansas. In 2018 it was relocated to the Limon Heritage Museum.

I drove us to Goodland, Kansas and we had at dinner at Arby's then checked into Quality Inn before we retired for the night.

10/22/2023 Elizabeth and I arose and following our Internet duties, we checked out and drove to Mom's Kitchen, the only restaurant in this small town which serves breakfast. While a very small establishment, the food and service was excellent. Fortified, we had a very short drive to the world's largest easel here in Goodland.

The Big Easel project, the brainchild of artist Cameron Cross in Goodland, Kansas, consists of one of the seven Sunflower Paintings, measuring 24 feet x 32 feet and rests on an 80 feet high, 45,000 pound steel easel, and sets the world record for being the World's Largest Easel, according to the World Record Academy.

"There is no mystery behind Cameron Cross's Big Easel Project, and the public work is exactly as it sounds. In 2001, Cross began work on a 24-foot by 32-foot reproduction of Van Gogh's Three Sunflowers in a Vase, which he then displayed on a giant steel easel on the outskirts of Goodland, Kansas," the Atlas Obscura says. "Somewhere between roadside attraction and part of the landscape, the massive still life replication easily draws the gaze of drivers and visitors, but seldom sees much more attention than that. "Cross first dreamt up the idea in his hometown of Altona, Canada. After working as a teacher and artist in the town, he wanted to give something back, and so decided to recreate one of the Dutch master’s works. Well received locally, Cross travelled across the world to Australia and eventually Kansas where he erected his massive picture on an 80-foot easel off Interstate 70.

We then drove to Walmart where Elizabeth acquired more film and we made our way to Tasco.

Union Pacific Tasco station built in 1888. Elizabeth nagivated us to Palco.

Union Pacific Palco station built in 1888. The town was named for railroad officials Palmer and Cole. Our next stop was Morland.

Morland Railroad display board.

Union Pacific Morland station built in 1888, after which we continued on to Sylvan Grove.

Union Pacific Sylvan Grove station built in 1887.


Santa Fe Railroad Fairmont speeder 148686.

Union Pacific Bennington station built in the late 1800's which used to be on the train tracks outside town. When the railroad announced plans to tear down the building, Don Wagner bought it, hired movers to move the large historic building several blocks, and put it on a plot of land downtown with structures that were a lumber yard and antique store. Now these separate structures are one. Wagner built them together so that they are one compound unit, able to hold a much larger crowd. Aiming to make this space a community center, he focused on art and music as the building's central themes. A full stage and hand-painted dance floor now take up the back room.

Continuing our journey west, our station listing had Clifton as the next town to visit.

History of Clifton Railroad display board.

Missori Pacififc Clifton station built in 1877.

Union Pacific caboose 25301 built by the ralroad in 1956, nee Union Pacific 2701.

A steam locomotive pony wheel.

From here we drove straight to Marysville, checked into the Travelodge then had dinner at the next door Penny's Diner. I worked on stories while Elizabeth did her e-mail and Internet browsing before we called it a night.

10/23/2023 Elizabeth and I awoke and after our morning preparations, we walked to Penny's Dinner for an excellent breakfast then tried to find the steam engine at the Pony Express Museum but after checking, found the proper location.

Union Pacific Beattie station was located on the Kansas Division St Joseph Branch at Milepost 99.3. The present site is 13.8 miles east.

Union Pacific 2-8-0 460 built by Baldwin in 1901, nee Union Pacific Railroad 1680, then donated to the City of Marysville in 1956.

Information plaque about this locomotive. I then drove us over to the Union Pacific station.


Union Pacific Marysville station built in 1929. In 1908, the Topeka Cutoff was built through Marysville. It was the only North and South tracks to connect the Union Pacific's major east and west lines until you got to Denver. 100 years later, Marysville is still a major railroad hub with eight tracks surrounding the town. At one time, it had 12 passenger trains a day that stopped at the Historic Depot.

The Historic Depot was literally hours away from being destroyed when it was acquired by the Maryville Union Pacific Depot Preservation Society in 2015. One of only eight depots designed by world-renowned architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood, it was the "crown jewel" of Marysville when it opened. After passenger train travel was stopped in 1955, it served as offices for the Trainmaster, Station Agent, Telegraph Operators and Dispatchers. As communications advanced and purposes for the Depot changed, it became the yard office in the 1970's. The interior was rearranged to allow for more offices, the beautiful windows were shuttered and carpet was installed on the historic slate floors.

As the Union Pacific prepared to sell it to the city, it was obligated to remove all the asbestos and lead paint from the structure. Upon transfer it had no lights, heat nor air conditioning. It was insured as an abandoned warehouse, however, thanks to the incredible work of a handful of dedicated volunteers the Historic Depot has been transformed back to its original beauty. The team of volunteers has spent endless hours scraping paint, plastering and painting the 25 foot ceilings, cleaning the glue off the magnificent slate floors and replacing the signature windows.

Union Pacific bench donated by Marysville High School.

The stored locomotives here in Marysville.

Union Pacific caboose 25398, nee Union Pacific 27998, built by the railroad in 1955 and donated to the town in 1986. Next I drove us to Horton.

Rock Island Railroad Horton Shops complex. We proceeded to Leavenworth.

Union Pacific Leavenworth station built in 1887 by James A. McGonigle, to a design by the Chicago architecture firm Cobb and Frost. In 1984, V.B. Greenamyre and Family sold the building to the city of Leavenworth. Using funds from a bond issue, the depot was renovated with a basketball gym, cardiovascular fitness room, weight and strength training room, racquetball courts, an indoor pool, activity rooms, meeting rooms and a one-tenth-of a mile indoor walking track. The facility opened to the public in 1988, 100 years after its construction.

A newer South Wing Room was remodeled in 2012. The facility's brick and sandstone exterior began renovations in 2014. The city of Leavenworth received a grant from the Kansas State Department of Transportation in 2010 to replace the sandstone which operated passenger and freight stations until the 1980's.

Leavenworth Union Station plaque on the building.


Painting looking at the back of the station.

The Union Pacific mainline behind the station.

The original entranceway to the station with the large "Leavenworth" on the wall.

Streetside painting of the building.

Leavenworth KS, home of Melissa Etheridge.

The clock in front of the station.

The plaque of Riverfront Community Center.

Leavenworth, Kansas The Great Railreoad Era display board.

General William Tecumseh Sherman display board, since he was from this city. Elizabeth drove us to a Casey's petrol station on Interstate 70 then I drove a non-freeway route which took us a new way back to our home.

10/29/2023 Jump to Sunday and after having breakfast and checking the Internet, I drove us west to Bunceton and a new station.

Missouri Pacific caboose 13587 built by International Car in 1975.

Caboose donated to the town on September 29, 1993.

Missouri Pacific Bunceton station built in 1918. Next I drove us to Speed.

Missouri Pacific Speed station. We returned via Boonville and US 40 with Elizabeth's excellent driving back to Columbia.

Two days later, Tuesday 10/31/2023, we went on another station-searching drive and this time went to Fulton.

Chicago and Alton Fulton station.

The Fulton station was built in 1911. I next drove us to Wellsville for my second time and Elizabeth's first.


Missouri Pacific caboose 13566 built by International Car in 1972 and painted as Burlington Northern 63384.

Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Wellsville station built in 1907.

Station sign. I drove us across the tracks and we saw a train coming.

Norfolk Southern 3633 West at Wellsville. I drove us back to the house and that afternoon, we visited the nearby McBaine trailhead of the Katy Trail for a bridge.

The Missouri-Kansas-Texas bridge across Perche Creek.

Looking west down the Katy Trail.

Looking east at the bridge.

On the west side of the trestle is the sign milepost 169.7 Perche Creek.

One last look at the bridge.

Looking east down the Katy Trail.

11/2/2023 Thursday, 11/2/2/2023, we left the house and I drove us to the Katy Trail and today we would walk a small portion of the Columbia Spur.

Looking west down the Katy Trail.

The Perche Creek trestle bridge.

Perche Creek.

West view of Perche Creek.

The Hindman Junction shelter.

Darwin Hindman, Take to the River, display board.

Darwin Hindman "Father of the Katy Trail" display board.

The District in Historic Downtown Columbia and the Tri-Campus Area display board.

Welcome to Columbia Junction display board.

Welcome to Hindman Junction, where the MKT Trail meets Katy Trail State Park. Rochepost 8.3 miles west and Hartsburg 16.4 east.

The split in the trail with Columbia to the right 8.8 miles away.

We started walking the Columbia Spur.

The milepost 0.25 signpost.

The milepost 0.50 signpost.

Walking back down the Columbia Spur.

Wetlands in the McBaine Bottom of the Missouri River and the Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area display board.

MKT Nature and Fitness Trail display board.

The final picture looking east down the Katy Trail and the Perche Creek trestle we would cross on the way back to the McBaine parking area. I drove us to Hy-Vee for groceries then we returned home and enjoyed dinner before Elizabeth participated in the monthly Fraser Valley Heritage Railway Society board meeting later in the evening.

Two days later, 11/4/2023, Elizabeth and I arose and after checking our e-mail, we left the house and I drove us to Bob Evans for another excellent breakfast. I then drove us north on US 63 and drove north to La Plata and to the Chris Guenzler Million Mile Lookout Point. It did not take long for trains to pass our photo location.

BNSF 3334 West was the first train.

An unknown eastbound Union Pacific train.

The end of the BNSF train.

Union Pacific mid-train DPUs 6960 and 8535.

The end of the Union Pacific train.

BNSF 3965 West was next by us.

Another unknown eastbound BNSF would pass us.

A new Norfolk and Western display board in the Lookout Point.

BNSF Marceline Subdivision display board.

The end of BNSF 3965 West.

BNSF 5985 West went by our photo location.

BNSF DPUs 8783 on the rear.

The old Wabash Railroad bridge abutment.

BNSF 8757 East went through town.

BNSF 6819 West with a baretable train.

That was followed by BNSF 8035 West.

Amtrak's Train 4, the Southwest Chief, came through La Plata and that was our last train of the day. We departed and drove Highway 63 south to Altanta.

The Wabash grade through Altanta. We drove to Moberly then went east on US 24 east to County Road C, which took us to a new covered bridge, the Union Bridge, one of four remaining covered bridges in Missouri. This bridge was built by Joseph C. Elliot, which is the only remaining bridge left in Missouri representing the Burr arch truss system. The Burr arch design which Elliot doubled, was named for its creator Theodora Burr, the Father of American bridge building. This bridge crosses the North Fork of the Salt River. It is 129 feet long, 17 1/2 feet wide and has an entrance 12 feet high - high enough to admit a wagon load of hay. It served travellers for ninety-nine years and is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

Union Bridge covered bridge.

Eight very informative panels about this covered bridge, and covered bridges in general, the most we have seen in our visits to Oregon, midwestern and eastern covered bridges. From here I drove us to Farber and a train station.

Chicago and Alton Farber railroad station built in 1880 and closed in 1972. Elizabeth then drove us both home and I wrote today's part of the story, which brings this to an end.