In 1975, the Frisco System was reorganized into the pre-1963 divisions: Eastern, Northern, Southern, Western, Southwestern, and River. The St. Louis Sub-Division of Lindenwood Yard to Chaffee was one of two sub-divisions, the other being the Chaffee Sub-Division. As you operate on my layout, The River Division, you are operating on a free-lanced layout inspired by operations on the St. Louis Sub-Division of the Frisco River Division. It is 1976. Frampton Comes Alive! is newly-released. Tanya Tucker, Loggins and Messina, Carol King, Journey, Genesis, and Smokey Robinson have recorded new albums. The Eagles Greatest Hits 1971-1975 is available in record stores. The first commercially developed supercomputer, the Cray-1 is released, and Apple Computer is formed by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. The United States celebrates the 200th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Jimmy Carter is nominated for U.S. President at the Democratic National Convention in New York City. The Seattle Seahawks play their first football game, and Frank Sinatra brings Jerry Lewis’s former partner Dean Martin onstage, unannounced, at the 1976 Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon in Las Vegas, reuniting the comedy team for the first (and only) time in over 20 years. “Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover” by Paul Simon is playing on the radio. City Utilities in Springfield, Missouri just started operating their $55 million power generating plant, expected to require 300,000 tons of coal annually. Union Electric is scheduled to start its second power-generating unit at Rush Island in the Spring of next year, requiring a doubling of the number of (Missouri Pacific) unit coal trains presently serving the facility. On the Missouri Pacific, the first GP35s have already seen 12 years of hard labor. Two GP18s have been repainted into a red, white & blue bicentennial paint scheme to commemorate America’s 1976 Bicentennial. In one year, the Frisco will be sitting down with Burlington Northern to begin joint studies “on the feasibility of unification”.
Above: An image from the 1976 Frisco Annual Report depicts how “modern machinery speeds maintenance-of-way work.” Right: Long side-burns, sweater-vests and plaid slacks are what-to-wear at the office.
The lower level of The River Division was inspired by operations of the Missouri Pacific and the Frisco Railroads along the west bank of the Mississippi River from St. Louis, South to Cape Girardeau, Missouri. The Frisco was the only railroad with tracks extending along this route, but the Missouri Pacific had right-of-way privileges from Riverside Junction near Crystal City, down to Ste. Genevieve, and from Cape Girardeau, North to the Union Electric Power Plant at Rush Island, Missouri. You, the operator, are standing in the Mississippi River as you run the railroad. I hope you brought your deep-water waders – for more reasons than just the deep water. Using about as much license as I could get away with to create my own interpretation of this operation (in other words – most of this is a complete fabrication), here is what you can expect as you operate on The River Division. Throw away your Google Maps and satellite views of the tracks. On the layout, the main North-South right-of-way is owned by the Frisco Railroad, with Missouri Pacific having running rights from South Park to Iron Junction. Northbound trains depart South Park yard ultimately bound for either East Staging or Ferritin City. A steel mill and coal-fired power plant are served by the Missouri Pacific in Ferritin City. Southbound Frisco trains service the James River City Cement Plant and Sulphur River Quarry at Calcite City, Missouri. A large elevator and mill at Millerton is serviced by the Frisco. The Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad crosses the Frisco-Mop main at Riverside Junction as the Katy continues Northeast from semi-hidden staging to perform switching operations in the town of Oak Hill. Except for the operations of the Katy local, the lower level is mostly about cement, coal, grain, and steel. The names of the towns have been changed to protect the innocent and avoid specific comparisons to how the Frisco River Division did it and how I am running my railroad.
Location names on The River Division
Originally named Calcite City, this town was renamed Riverside in 1872 because of its close proximity to the Mississippi river. Calcite is a carbonate mineral and the most stable polymorph of calcium carbonate. Limestone is composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite. The town also could have been named Aragoniteville, but it wasn’t. 3 out of 4 citizens voted to go with Calcite City (and there were literally only 4 citizens who lived there and voted). It all doesn’t matter now that the town has been renamed to Riverside. The James River Cement company is located here, as is Sulphur Springs Quarry. The Cement operation was started by James (Rocky) Balboa in 1874. It was close to the river, so he named it James River Cement. (He could have called it Rocky River Cement, but he didn’t.) The plant is now owned by his great-great grandson, who simply calls himself Rocky IV. Sulphur Springs Quarry was started five years earlier by German monks, to provide stone for a new Catholic cathedral and seminary being constructed in the area. The monks also started a brewery, but it closed at the beginning of prohibition and never reopened. The beer never really caught on anyway, because the water they used to brew it came right out of good old Sulphur Springs.
South Park, MO
If it were a real city, South Park would be located along the Mississippi River, somewhere between St. Louis and Memphis. South Park was founded in 1792 by a steamship entrepreneur named Mathias Stone. His friends just called him Matt. Instead of just lying around, Matt hung out with his business partner, Art, and together they started a small railroad. The railroad would later be purchased by the St. Louis – San Francisco RR Company, and end up right here in my basement. South Park’s most famous early citizens were Kyle, Stan, Eric, Parker, and Kenny. Kenny experienced an untimely death when he was run over by one of Art’s steam locomotives. South Park Yard services both MOPAC and SLSF trains. Connecting railroads (all off-layout) in my semi-fabricated world include the L&N, Southern, and SSW.
Eagle Junction, MO
Eagle Junction is a small town where the Missouri-Kansas-Texas railroad crosses the SLSF mainline. Frisco-Owned EagleTower is located here, and is home of The River Division’s dispatcher. Eagle Junction has a CocaCola Bottling plant served by the M-K-T.
Oak Hill, MO. (there’s a lumber yard here)
Located just Northeast of Eagle Junction, Oak Hill is a small Missouri town with a lumber yard, grain elevator, feed store, oil distributor, and a few other industries serviced by rail. An interchange yard is located here between the Frisco and the M-K-T.
East Staging, MO. (Think St. Louis)
East staging represents St. Louis and other off-layout locations to the North and East.
Iron Junction, Mo.
Nothing here except the MOP mainline from Ferritin City joins the SLSF tracks just Northeast of Eagle Junction.
Ferritin City, IL. (Steel Industry like you might see in Granite City, IL)
Home of Ferritin City Steel. This busy heavy industry both ships and receives by rail, and is serviced by Mopac trains that originate in South Park, and operate over Frisco Lines tracks until just North of Eagle Junction.
The name was inspired while drinking a cold beverage with this name on the label. You shouldn’t find it too surprising that my very own HO-scale micro-brewery is located here. A Sherwin-Williams plant is also located in Hoegaarden. The upper level of the layout is exclusively a Missouri Pacific-serviced world. The West Staging yard represents Kansas City. Westbound MOP trains will operate on Frisco right-of-way until the junction at Riverside, then continue westward on MOP right-of-way.