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...).
Found a acticle retaining to the trestle aross the Diversion Channel near Allenville on the home site of the Southeast Missourian:
I've been doing some research on this line and it turns out there is a tunnel on it in Bollinger County near Glenallen.
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.
Interesting. My grandmother was from Bollinger County and her sisters remember riding that line as passengers in the 1920s-30s up to Bismarck.
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.
I con trace the line to Jackson.I just did it 5 min, after I posted this.
Does anyone know the status of the line between Bismark and Fredericktown? Is it open for public use?
Doubt it, most of the old right of way that hasn't been turned into a road or destroyed runs on private property.
The Fredericktown Depot is now open as a restaurant.