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Local History

Last Ride of the Frisco

Springfield Leader-Press, December 9, 1967. page 12

Railfans Rush to Ride Last Frisco Trains

"'The end of the line' is an old railroad expression, and perhaps it was fitting that passenger train service through Springfield  reached the end of the line on a dreary day.

"The last Frisco passenger train to pass through Springfield is on the scheduled run from Birmingham, Ala., to Kansas City.

"Friday, the last southbound train arrived in Springfield, with about 100 Ash Grove residents riding from their home to Springfield.  The contingent included Roy Kelley, almost 90, who rode the first passenger train to Ash Grove in 1878.

"A train ride north ended early for a group sponsored by the Ozark Hills Division of the Missouri Municipal League.  Cabool Mayor C. J. Tindel is league president.

"The group planned to ride the northbound into Springfield, and the southbound back to Cabool.  Unfortunately, the northbound train was four hours late, and the party changed trains at a siding at Cedar Gap.

"Today, members of the Springfield chapter, Parents Without Partners, Inc., planned to drive to Mansfield and ride the last train to Springfield.  Mrs. Juanita Wilson counted on about 30 children and four or five adults riding the train.

"Memory would have had to reach back to World War II, according to one railroad buff, to have matched the long lines at the ticket office in the Frisco depot here, as people lined up to buy tickets for a last train ride.  For many, small children, the last ride was also their first.

"The bustling activity in the depot did not completely hide the peeling and wornout [sic] appearance of the facility, a reminder that a way of life was going.

"Old men with long memories surveyed the scene with sad eyes.  One man pulled a card from his wallet entitling him to ride the Frisco passenger trains, and said, 'I guess this is no good any more.'"

A history of the the Frisco can be found on our Frisco website. For an in-depth history see  The St. Louis-San Francisco transcontinental railroad; the thirty-fifth parallel project by Craig Miner.

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