Early Railroad History


engine 1
Engine 2

Adam Mernick

The Dupo railroad first started out as the Missouri Pacific Railroad. The tracks originally started in Bixby IL and eventually found their way into Dupo. This railroad was one of the first railroads in the United States west of the Mississippi River. With tracks that ran from Bixby to Dupo and to the north and south, it easily became a huge sucess. To help the workers get to work and the shoppers shop, they made a trolley. They nick-named this “The Dinky” and it went from around Chester IL to Dupo.
Some of the Railroad yard

At the peak of the Missouri Pacific, before it was bought out by the Union Pacific in 1983, the Dupo railyard was the biggest classifaction yard in the United States. A classifaction yard is a place where the trains are separated onto different tracks. Dupo also had a large round house-- also called the turn table-- that was shaped like a half moon in the front. The main purpose of this was to turn the cars around. They did this by backing the cars up on the turn table and then turning them the way they wanted them to travel. They did face a problem with the smoke stack due to its size and location. It was around 60 to 100 feet tall and it was located in the middle of the train buildings. They wanted to tear it down but could not figure out a way to do so without damaging the other buildings around it. Their problem was sloved when a small tornado came through town and tore the smoke stack down, laying it flat between the buildings without damaging the others.

The town of Dupo really has benefited from the railroad coming to town. The main benefit of the railroad was that the small business boomed. Due to this, Dupo had four grocery stores during this time period. The town also had several taverns and it even had its own theater. The people always looked good because of the several beauty shops and the several barbers located in town.
All of the railroader's families moved to town so that they would be closer to their jobs, causing the poplulation to expand fast. The mostly all the towns people paid their taxes, however the railroad workers complained every bit of the way. Mostly of all the people in the town worked on the railroad, which was around 80 percent and the rest worked in the many companies available. Some of the workers who were working away from home or had not found a home so the company gave them train cars called Company Cars to stay in. These cars were just like a regular train car, only they were placed on Adams Road. These workers not only built the train tracks but they also built Dupo.

Wendell Hooks
The trains ran in and around Dupo. One of the trains ran from Gale to Dupo which was about 112 miles. The double locomotives ran on two flats on one track. They started off slow and carried 20 tons of coal. The passenger trains ran 4 to 5 hours a day and took you to many different towns. The steam powered trains were created 1942 and ran from Dupo IL to Poplar Bluff MO which was 119 miles. These train also went to several different states and towns such as, Arkansas (191 miles) , Pinckneyville (86 miles).
The Tracks for the Missouri Pacific

The pay scale for the conductors was very simple. 100 miles equaled about 8 hours which was about 2 days worth of pay. The trains usually ran at a speed of 12 ½ miles per hour. The wheels that were used on the trains were two sets of pilot wheels which were on the front. Drive wheels were used on the back. The trains had to stop at the hump yard for check-ups. The hump yard was a yard where gravity and powered switches sort incoming trains onto the tracks.

The whistles they used to communicate

They used air whistles to communicate between the trains. Three whistles meant to stop the train, two whistles meant proceed. One long and one short meant flagmen, then one long and two short meant that the train was backing up. Just two short whistles meant to start the train. Another one they used was one short that meant the train needed a brake check, independent brake, or just for the engine alone. On the occasion that the train had bad air, they used was one long one short one long one short.

The Trains Crew Members

Every train had a crew that consisted of five members. There was the conductor whom had the most important job of all. He was in charge of everything and everyone on the crew had to report to him. Then there were the two brakemen. These men had to do all the work on the train such as, throwing switches and passing signals. There was also one engineer whom was the second in command. He was responsible for safely operating the train. He was also responsible for the firemen. The firemen were the last crew member on the train. He was responsible for the boiler which was used to control the speed of the train and he had to provide fuel and water for the engine.