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 Post subject: No. 3 of the St. Louis, Ft. Scott, and Wichita Railroad
PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2013 12:08 am 

Joined: Tue Jul 30, 2013 9:43 am
Posts: 3
In the early 1870's (I believe 1873) The St. Louis, Ft. Scott, and Wichita Railroad started operations in the Midwest. In 1881 they laid rail through Clearwater, Kansas while constructing a line from Wichita, Kansas to Conway Springs, Kansas. In 1885 during a season of flooding the No. 3 was placed on the bridge that went over the Ninnescah River a mile southwest of town in the efforts to weigh down and save the bridge, needless to say it didn't work. When the floodwaters swept away the bridge it took the poor locomotive with it into the river.

Within the week following the flood, all bodies were found downstream of the bridge. 7 days after the incident there was a report that the locomotive was found downstream in the channel of the river buried in quicksand by probing the channel. The next day there was a report stating that the engine had not been found yet.

The only information I have been able to find, I found here:

http://www.railroadforums.com/forum/sho ... neskau-riv

I was also able to find that same article in a PDF format elsewhere.

I run this line on a regular basis and even over the bridge that replaced the one that swept away the ill fated No. 3. What peaked my interest in this engine were the stories of this motor I was told when I first started working this line from other engineers. Everything I have heard or been able to find suggests that the 4-4-0 steam locomotive is still there awaiting someone to recover it.

I have also heard that some time in the 1970's a local Boy Scout Troop tasked themselves in locating the lost locomotive and found it a half mile from the bridge.. Through exhaustive research I have been unable to find any anything that validates the validity of that ever happening.

Is there anything about this out there that I have been unable to find?

What are the odds of someone rescuing this engine?


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 Post subject: Re: No. 3 of the St. Louis, Ft. Scott, and Wichita Railroad
PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2013 9:27 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 6421
Location: southeastern USA
Odds improve is somebody with a real plan is looking rationally for it. Odds are not good mif nobody is doing a real job with real resources.

If you read Clive Cussler's books about finding shipwrecks, the real stuff instead of his popular fiction, you will get an idea of the sort of project you are describing.

dave

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“God, the beautiful racket of it all: the sighing and hissing, the rattle and clack of the cars over the rails. These were the sounds that made America the greatest country on earth." Jonathan Evison


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 Post subject: Re: No. 3 of the St. Louis, Ft. Scott, and Wichita Railroad
PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2013 12:26 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:26 am
Posts: 4667
Location: Maine
Get the local university geology department into this. Magnetometer and ground penetrating radar will give you a very good idea of the veracity of location, once you've narrowed an area to study. The college will have a study plan. You might look at this as a "cap stone" project for an undergraduate. It would make a heck of a historical find.
Some other suggestions:

-Apply for some state historical preservation grant funding.
-Find an adult who was part of the Boy Scout troop which is alleged to have found the wreck.
-Plan what you want to do with the locomotive, once it is recovered.
-Keep your information available to only those who need to know, at least until you are ready to go public.
-Study the mapped course of the river since the event. Get all the data you can possibly muster into one packet before you go forward.

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"It's only impossible until it's done." -Nelson Mandela


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 Post subject: Re: No. 3 of the St. Louis, Ft. Scott, and Wichita Railroad
PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2013 12:39 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:58 am
Posts: 728
A boat ride might be interesting to check out the formation that should be dead center in this Google image:

https://maps.google.ca/maps?q=clearwater+kansas&hl=en&ll=37.490442,-97.514379&spn=0.000644,0.001277&sll=44.374913,-76.565094&sspn=0.296933,0.653687&t=h&hnear=Clearwater,+Sedgwick,+Kansas,+United+States&z=20

Assuming I'm interpreting the flow patterns correctly and this is indeed downstream... I am not familiar with this area, but the shape is suspiciously similar to a partially overturned locomotive. Could just be a funny pattern in the sand with strangely placed clumps of brush, though, but you never know.

A magnetometer would be the best way to systematically scour the river for remains. Would a nearby university be able/ willing to help locate the needed equipment and people?

Steve Hunter


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