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Kansas City Streetcar and Missouri Depots 9/10/2023

by Chris Guenzler

Elizabeth and I arose and after our regular morning preparations, we checked out and had breakfast at the International House of Pancakes then found our first station of the day.

Independence, The Home of Henry Truman, 33rd President of the United States.


Missouri Pacific Independence station, built in 1913 by the Missouri Pacific Railroad and is also known as the "Truman Depot", because it was the final stop in Harry S. Truman's 1948 Whistlestop Campaign where 8,500 admirers welcomed him in January 1953 when he returned home after leaving office. Today, the depot is an Amtrak stop for the Muissori River Runner and also home to the Jackson County Genealogical Society Research Library.

Union Pacific 8478 West came through Independence while we were here.

>Missouri Pacific caboose 13506, ex. Chicago and Eastern Illinois 33, nee Elgin Joliet and Eastern 534, painted as Missouri Pacific 13506, built by International Car in 1956. We then found the other station in town.

Chicago and Alton Independence staton built in 1879. Independence was the start of the Oregon Trail this town that was the frontier, a place as far as steamboat and rail could come, the place that the pioneers came to but from then on in had to travel the wild 2,000 miles plus westwards by wagon.

In 1834 a few visionaries in Springfield, Illinois, including a young legislator named Abraham Lincoln, proposed laying tracks to connect Sangamon County with the Mississippi River. Nothing happened until a six-man Alton group, led by the town's most prominent businessman, Benjamin Godfrey, received a charter on February 27, 1847 for the Alton & Sangamon Railroad. Despite difficulties faced raising capital, the incorporators witnessed the laying of the first rails at the City of Alton Public Landing in 1850. Two years later on September 9, 1852 the first train made its 72-mile maiden run. Then in October 1853 under the name Chicago & Mississippi, the line was extended north to Bloomington, Illinois, then in July 1854 to Joliet, and finally in March 1858 to Chicago over the leased rails of the Joliet & Chicago Railroad. By then the company had been renamed the St. Louis, Alton, & Chicago Railroad.

After a scandalous period caused by Henry Dwight Jr. of New York, the company was returned to the courts, and emerged in February 1861 as the Chicago & Alton Railroad. East St. Louis was reached in 1864 through the lease of the Alton & St. Louis Railroad. The St. Louis, Jacksonville, & Chicago Railroad was leased in 1868 adding a route from Godfrey to Bloomington. A branch was added between the Missouri town of Dwight and Washington in 1869. Finally, an extension to Kansas City, Missouri was laid in 1879, completing the railroad's famous "Triangle" of service between the Midwest's three great cities Chicago, St. Louis, and Kansas City.

The Chicago & Alton Railroad was reorganized on April 3, 1900, under Edward H. Harriman, and renamed the Chicago & Alton Railway. The famous name Chicago & Alton lasted for 70 years until 1931 when the Baltimore & Ohio took possession of the company out of receivership and renamed it the Alton Railroad. In 1942 the B&O Railroad returned the company to the courts and on May 31, 1947, the Gulf Mobile & Ohio Railroad added it to its system, exactly 100 years after the first rails had been laid at the Alton Public Landing.

The Independence C&A Depot, constructed in 1879, employed distinctive architectural and design features standard to the company's station at that time. Today it is thought to be the only restored, two-story frame station and one of the oldest depots in the state. The depot employed standardized architectural designs utilized by railroads beginning in the 1870's. This was also an efficient advertising device, a corporate symbol easily recognizable to the traveling public. The paint scheme used on this depot is more colorful than was normally used by other railroads.

In towns where rail traffic required around the clock staffing, railroad companies erected depots with second floor accommodations for the agent and family. The station plan with second floor living quarters was selected for Independence. By this time the Stick Style ornamentation was standard for the Company. Stick Style is considered by some authorities to be the wooden version of the High Victorian Gothic. The first floor consists of a waiting room, station agent's room and a baggage room. The second floor is divided horizontally by the stairway opening. The three south rooms are a kitchen, dining room, bedroom and a parlor. Each of the rooms is now furnished in the period circa 1879.

On the north side is the artifacts room, originally used as a bedroom and storage room. There are hundreds of original C&A and railroad objects found here and throughout the depot. One depot agent's wife, at the turn of the century, had a piano in the parlor to entertain the travelling guests in the waiting room below. In April 1960, the depot was closed to passenger and freight traffic. Thereafter, only telegraph operators manned the station until it was abandoned in 1972.

We made our way to Buckner.

Missouri Pacific Buckner station built in 1873.

This town was one of those selected as "Train Town USA". More than 150 years ago, Union Pacific Railroad began building west from the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean, opening a grand frontier to immigrants who settled in existing communities or started new ones along the rail lines. That bond between our railroad and early settlements has strengthened and grown. Today, Union Pacific serves nearly 7,300 communities where we live, our children grow up, and in which we recruit employees. From rural town to metropolis, we're honored to have unique, long-standing community relationships. To date, Union Pacific has recognized 131 communities as "Train Town USA".

Missouri Pacific caboose 11078, nee Texas and Pacific 13078, built by the railroad in 1955. I drove Elizabeth to Sibley to see an old friend.

Santa Fe Sibley station, after which our next stop was Lexington.

Chicago Burlington and Quincy Lexington station which was in use by a construction company. We made our way across the Missouri River to Henrietta.

Wabash Railroad station moved from Missouri City, unchanged from a few years ago when I last saw it. I then drove to where the Santa Fe station used to be but alas, it had been demolished so we continued on to Orrick.

Wabash Railroad caboose 2790 built by the railroad in 1945. From here we proceeded to Union Station in Kansas City, paying 15 dollars to park outside the station (we later realized that we could have parked at Crown Centre for free) and walked over to the Kansas City Streetcar and boarded one for our first ride.

Kansas City Streetcar 9/10/2023

The KC Streetcar is in Downtown Kansas City, Missouri, whose construction began in May 2014 and opened for service on May 6, 2016. It is free to ride, as it is funded by a transportation development district. As of July 2023, the streetcar has had 12.2 million riders since opening in 2016. Extensions north to the riverfront and south to University of Missouri-Kansas City have been funded, with the southern extension under construction.


The downtown streetcar runs along a 2.2 mile-long route between the River Market and Union Station, running through the central business district and the Crossroads, mostly along Main Street. It makes stops about every two blocks and has ten designated stops. It connects directly with Amtrak, local and commuter RideKC bus services (including a direct route to Kansas City International Airport) and several RideKC bike-share kiosks. All platforms offer level boarding and real-time arrival information.

The Route Map in the streetcar. The trolley left Kansas City Union Station, stopped at Crossroads, Kauffman Center, Power and Light, Metro Center, Library, North Loop, turned east to City Market on 5th Street, then turned left and another left to River Market North on 3rd Street, with the last new station at River Market West before returning from North Loop to Kansas City Union Station, where Elizabeth and I detrained. Because the streetcar was wrapped, I could not take any pictures.

Kansas City Streetcar 803 built by CAF in 2016.

Kansas City Streetcar 804 built by CAF in 2016.

A Steamboat Arabia-steam engine-truck piece of public art on display outside the station.

Kansas City Union Station historical sign. We entered the Great Hall before going out to the pedestrian bridge over the tracaks.

Union Pacific 8139 came through Kansas City Union Station, after which I returned inside the hallway to take a few pictures.

The Pencoyd Bridge constructed un 1882.

A Huge Move Janaury 2006.

The Frieght House Bridge Completed and Dedicated October 5th, 2006.

Michael R. Haverty Freight House Bridge rededicated June 1st, 2012.

Legacy Michael R. Haverty.

Service Everywhere - From The Heart of America. Chicago Great Western, Kansas City Terminal, Chicago, Rock Island Pacific, Union Pacific, Missouri-Kansas-Texas, Missouri Pacific Lines, Santa Fe, Kansas City Southern, Frisco, Burlington Route, Wabash, Chicago and Alton and the Milwaukee Road --a;l of the railrods that served Kansas City Union Station.

America's Leading Rail Center. Kansas City Southern, Canadian Pacific, Amtrak, Kansas City Terminal, Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific -- the current railroads that serve Kansas City.

A Bridge Reborn. I returned to the bridge and soon came the biggest surprise of the day.

The Kansas City Streetcar then crossed the bridge over the mainline.

Chicago and Alton freight house built in 1912.

The Western Auto building watches over Union Station as a Kansas City Streetcar passes over the mainline.


The Southwest Chief, Train 4, running seven hours and forty-five minutes late arrived, after which the two of us walked out to the front of the building.

Kansas City Union Station built in 1914. We departed Kansas City and proceeded east to Higginsville.

Midwest Locomotive Works GP18 6225, ex. BioFuel Energy Corp 71, exx. Indiana & Ohio 71, exxxx. Seaboard System 1060, nee Seaboard 1060, built by Electro-Motive Division in 1960.

Illinois Central caboose 9594, ex. Chicago, Missouri & Western 10210, exx. Illinois Central Gulf 199594, nee Illinois Central 9594 built by the railroad in 1969.

Chicago and Alton Higginsville station built in 1889. Elizabeth then drove us to Columbia and we checked into the Best Western Hotel there before walking across the parking lot to Bob Evans where I enjoyed a steak and Elizabeth had Pot Roast. I worked on a story then we called it a night.