More Information On The U.S. Army Railroad


Another View of A U.S. Army RR Trestle

News Release Announcning The Completion Of The U.S. Army Railroad


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Railroad to Fort Leonard Wood is Completed
Rolla Herald
May 15, 1941

Railroading is a man's game and it took real men to build the railroad from Bundy Junction on the Frisco mainline west of Newburg, Mo., to the Seventh Corps Area Training Center, which will be turned over to the Army on May 25.

The Ozark mountains present more engineering problems than any other section of the country, in the opinion of the men who built this railroad and the fact that the job was completed in five and one-half months when, under normal conditions, two years would have been required, is a real tribute to the American enterprise and the skill of the engineers and contractors and is a dramatic example of how national defense program is progressing.  The first grading began on December 5, 1940 and the first train to make the trip from Bundy Junction to the terminus at the Fort is scheduled for early in May.

More than 1,600,000 cubic yard of dirt and rock were moved to complete the 68 cuts and 68 fills, the longest cut being more than 3,100 feet, the longest fill, 6,500 feet.  At one place, the Ozarks have been slashed into 46 feet for the deepest cut, while hills were leveled in another sector by a fill 60 feet high.  Of the twenty miles of rail, the longest straight stretch is only 2,700 feet, while 70 curves were necessary because of the terrain.

Almost as rapidly as the surveyor's stakes were planted, the grading crews went to work; dirt was "borrowed" from adjacent hills to fill the valleys and vales, while giant scoops and shovels ate into the sides of the hills to level them.  As fast as the dirt was moved into the proper place, grading crews with massive graders and "bulldogs" leveled the new roadbed.  Heavy rollers with cleats followed to pack the dirt - saving weeks of time normally required to settle fills.  In back of the graders came the crews with ties and rails following them were the work trains shuttling back and forth on the newly-laid track to bring up more ties and rails and chat for the roadbed.  As fast as the track was spiked to the ties, gangs worked packing the chat and making the roadbed suitable for the loads to come when men and machinery of war begin to move to the Fort.

Workign day and night, seven days a week, stopping for nothing, despite adverse weather conditions in January and February, the railroad grew, almost as one watched the work.

While the railroad was being built from Bundy Junction to the Fort, warehouses in the reservation were springing up at the rate of a completed warehouse every six days.  Along the rows of warehouses, one could watch them being completed - at the site of one of the first in a row, the foundations were being dug, at the next the concrete was being poured, at the third, the sides and framework were shooting skyward, at the fourth, the roofing was being placed and at the last in the row the electricians and plumbers were hard at work, putting in the finishing touches.  Along side of these warehouses, the railroad construction gangs were laying track and putting in the switches. As far as one could see, the railroad was growing - here in front of use the gradign crew, beyond, the ties were being laid and almost on the heels of these workers came the rails and the spikes and the ringing staccato of hammers driving home the spikes, and, off in the distance the railroad completed, even to a work train puffing merrily along, added the finishing touches to a picture that was all but impossible to believe.

Despite the speed with which everything moved, and the natural hazards of such a herculean job, and of the adverse weather conditions, the casulties on this remarkable engineering feat were remarkably few.

Built at a cost of approximately $2,500,000, the new railroad has every modern improvement in railroad engineering and will be complete even with its own electrically-operated signal. R.F. Bundy, chief engineer, stated that the problems confronted by the engineers on this project were comparable to building more than twenty miles in the heart of the Rockies.

Major Frank Reed, Jr., constructing quartermaster, was in charge of the entire Fort Leonard Wood project and brought to that post the experience of having completed Camp Joseph Robinson, near Little Rock, Ark., in 90 days, the scheduled time. Col. F.G. Jonah, assistant to trustee and chief engineer for the Frisco Railroad, was consulting engineer of the railroad project.


Pictures and captions

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Bundy Junction, West of Newburg, Mo., where the railroad built for the Government to serve Fort Leonard Wood, the Seventh Corps Area training center, meets the mainline of the Frisco Railroad. One a fertile farm, the section is now the general supply yard for the construction gangs which are still working on the railroad.

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Fifteen timber trestles and two steel bridges were required to help span the Ozarks when the new railroad was built for the Government to serve Ft. Leonard Wood, the Seventh Corps Area training center adjacent to Newburg, Mo. The longest timber trestle is 1,458 feet, approaching the two-span steel bridge over the Big Piney near Devil's Elbow. The new railroad connects with the Frisco Lines at Bundy Junction, just west of Newburg.

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At the terminal of the new railroad built for the Government to serve Fort Leonard Wood, the Seventh Corps Area training center adjacent to Newburg, Mo. The warehouse district where buildings shot up almost as fast as the bands of steel grew into the reservation. In the background another of the warehouses is built almost before your eyes, while inspection hands and construction gangs work on the newly-laid railroad.

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As fast as the grading is completed, gangs laid rail and work trains moved to the back of them while the railroad was being built for the Government to serve Fort Leonard Wood, the Seventh Corps Area training center adjacent to Newburg, Mo. This cut on the 20 mile railroad is 46 feet deep. The longest cut is 3,150 feet. Fills, too, were necessary, the highest being 60 feet, the longest 6,500 feet.

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More than 1,600,000 cubic yards of dirt and rock were moved in building the new railroad to serve Fort Loenard Wood, the Seventh Corps Area training center adjacent to Newburg, Mo.  The twenty mile railroad has 68 cuts and 68 fills thru the heart of the Ozarks.

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More than 200 carloads of special heavy machinery were required in the constructing of the railroad for the Government to serve Fort Leonard Wood, the Seventh Corps Area training center adjacent to Newburg, Mo.  Above is the morning scene in the Frisco freight yards at Newburg when materials were being rushed in to the campsite for the completion of the $32,000,000 project.


Engineering Plans For a Frisco Timber Trestle Near Ft. Leonard Wood (Dec 7, 1945)
(Not Part of U.S. Army RR, But of Similar Design)

-Images Courtesy of Pulaski County Clerk's Office

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