Bismark to Belmont

The Belmont Branch

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The Belmont Branch crosses Highway 61 west of Morley (visible in the background behind the trees). This photo faces east towards Morley with the former right-of-way visible in the foreground (the dirt road). From here the Belmont Branch continued east through Morley where one of its sidings served the grain silos (not visible in the photo) inside the town before continuing eastward through Charleston and Blodgett before the end of the line in Belmont. Photo by Robert Barnes, September 2012.

Note: This route is not officially abandoned yet and is proceeding through the abandonment process of the Surface Transportation Board. Please see the STB filings/decisions below for more information.

The Belmont Branch was built by the Saint Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railroad in attempt to connect the town of Bismark, and its adjacent towns, with important markets east of the Mississippi River. The line was built in 1869 from the StLIM&S mainline at Bismark southeasterly to Belmont, 120 miles away, where a ferry connected the StLIM&S on the west side of the Mississippi River with the Mobile & Ohio Railroad on the east side. In addition, the railway also played an important role in developing local mining and lumber industries along its length. Fredericktown served as the home of the StLIM&S's division point and maintenance shops.

In 1915, the StLIM&S fell into receivership, and was merged into Jay Gould's Missouri Pacific Railroad in 1917. At this time, passenger service along the line ceased, and the MP continued freight service only.

The line was abandoned in two different segments; the northern half was abandoned in 1972, and the southern half in 1984. A small portion of the line was used between Delta and Allenville for a short while, but it too has been abandoned as well.

KMZ: Robert Barnes has made available a Google Earth KML file showing landmarks of bridges, grade crossings and other evidence of this line between Whitewater and Charleston. You can download it here (right-click and Save As...).

STB Filings and Decisions

Docket Number   Activity
AB_1088_0_X

Found a acticle retaining to the trestle aross the Diversion Channel near Allenville on the home site of the Southeast Missourian:

http://www.semissourian.com/story/1851585.html

Robert Barnes
Cape Girardeau, MO, MO
6/3/2012

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I've been doing some research on this line and it turns out there is a tunnel on it in Bollinger County near Glenallen.

Robert Barnes
Cape Girardeau, MO
4/1/2013

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I just returned from a research trip from Bismarck to Chafee. I wrote an e-mail but could not find the SEND command. My digital photos are not organized yet, but I hope they will be soon.

GT Regan
Wauwatosa, WI
4/27/2013

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Interesting. My grandmother was from Bollinger County and her sisters remember riding that line as passengers in the 1920s-30s up to Bismarck.

Chuck Voellinger
Denton, Tx, TX
5/15/2013

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The tunnel is still there. Very cool place to visit, but on private property. I believe is it called the Glenallen Tunnel: http://bridgehunter.com/mo/bollinger/tunnel/

The link has more information. Great place for a Sunday afternoon drive.

Hal
Dexter , MO
2/26/2014

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I con trace the line to Jackson.I just did it 5 min, after I posted this.

Zachary
Oxly, MO
6/16/2014

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Does anyone know the status of the line between Bismark and Fredericktown? Is it open for public use?

David Jenkerson
Festus, MO
6/23/2014

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Doubt it, most of the old right of way that hasn't been turned into a road or destroyed runs on private property.

Robert Barnes
Cape Girardeau, MO
11/9/2014

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Shortened Link: http://a-r.us/c22
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