Selected Photographs from the Missouri Pacific Historical Society Archives

Selected Photographs from the Missouri Pacific Historical Society Archives - Hardcover
By Charles A. Duckworth

In September 2018, the Missouri Pacific Historical Society purchased the Missouri Pacific portion of the Joe Collias Collection comprising of over 5,000 negatives and slides covering Missouri Pacific, Texas & Pacific, Missouri-Illinois, the Muskogee Roads and Missouri Southern trains, locomotives, rolling stock and structures. Joe was an avid rail photographer, historian, author and award-winning scale modeler (having built detailed HO scale steam locomotives from brass and building complex resin freight car kits).   Living in Maplewood, Missouri Joe began biking to the tracks as a teenager and took Mopac and Frisco images of the trains and locomotives with a box camera. After his military service, Joe traveled thousands of miles in the 1950’s photographing the last railroads still running steam locomotives. These images became the foundation for his first two books the ‘Last of Steam’ and ‘In Search of Steam’.   He followed these books with ‘Mopac Power’, ‘Texas & Pacific Power’’, Frisco Power’ ‘Katy Power’ and ‘Mopac in Color’.   Joe was a traditionalist in the sense of photographing railroads; following in the footsteps of Robert Foster, James Bowie, C. T. Woods, Lucius Beebe and A. E. Brown, he preferred to capture his favorite railroads on film in either with a locomotive roster image or a traditional three-quarter train ‘wedge’ photograph with more smoke appearing all the better. Joe’s friend and fellow railroad enthusiast Wayne Leeman, gave Joe’s his negative collection when he retired. Wayne was a Post-Dispatch newspaper photographer for 46 years. Wayne being a railfan, used his newspaper credentials to ride and document train activity for photo features in the newspaper or in Trains magazine. Used in this book is his documenting Missouri Pacific’s steam helper service over Kirkwood Hill, locals switching a mill in Sikeston, steam transfer runs between St. Louis and Dupo, the Illinois coal fields in 1955 and a trip down to Leeper, Missouri riding with the headend crew on an Alco passenger diesel.   In addition to Wayne’s images, Joe’s collection also included negatives from A. E. Brown, C. T. Wood and R. S. Plummer and others.   After Joe’s death in 2015, his wife Marjorie, donated his photograph and negative collection to their church Lutheran Church of the Resurrection as a fund raiser.

This 160 page book contains over 170 images with over 90% being printed to the full 8 ½” x 11” pages.   This certainly isn’t an in-depth history of the Missouri Pacific but hopefully an enjoyable photographic study of this large St. Louis based railroad spanning 11 states and over 11,000 miles of track.


  • Passenger trains in the steam locomotive era
  • Freight trains in the steam locomotive era
  • First Generation Passenger Diesel Trains
  • First Generation Freight Diesel Trains
  • Structures and Classification Yards
  • Miscellaneous Mopac



Mountain type 5336 pulls away from the Gurdon, Arkansas coaling facilities in 1953 on a southbound Extra. Gurdon was 82 miles south of North Little Rock and was a point for taking on coal, water and had a four stall roundhouse with a 75’ turntable. Gurdon was the junction of two mainlines; one going southwest to Texarkana and the other southeast through El Dorado into Louisiana. Johnnie Gray photograph


This image was taken at the East Yards in Kansas City, Missouri in 1942. The largest grain elevator was owned by the Missouri Pacific. The smaller one behind it to the left was the Kansas City Southern’s elevator. To the right of the MP elevator is Elevator ‘B’, then Eagle Elevator and the last one by the light tower was the Monarch elevator and mill served by the Kansas City Terminal. The base of the light tower is by the hump and in the lower right corner is the turntable pit into the roundhouse. MPRR photograph


This photograph shows the head end crew on 1702 at the west end of the helper district in Valley Park, Missouri waving to the eastbound Missouri River Eagle. The average train in 1943, using a helper, had between 100 to 120 cars. The small cabin with the stove, kept the crew out of the elements while waiting for the next train to assist over the hill. Photograph by Wayne Leeman


1243 on a transfer run between Dupo and St. Louis December 9, 1936 in East St. Louis. Note the ice hanging off the Missouri Pacific carload of coal behind the tender.


Single PA-1 8003 pulls a northbound Texas Eagle No. 22 at Austin, Texas in the summer 1951. Note the absence of any head-end traffic; at this time No. 21 and 22 did not carry any checked baggage or remains, and No. 22 did not pick up a working RPO until it reached Palestine. The dormitory-coach behind the locomotive was probably used to help muffle the engine sound for the revenue passengers. R. S. Plummer photograph


Missouri Pacific ordered eight (numbered 4104 - 4111) of the BL-2 diesels (BL denoted Branch Line service) from EMC at a total cost of $1,054,168 in 1948. The 1,500 hp locomotives lasted until 1962 when they were traded in on the GP-18's. Only nine railroads purchased the type with only 59 total being built. 4106 and 4104 at Hutchinson, Kansas June 10, 1948. MPRR photograph


Alco RS-3 4501 and 4518 at Mount Vernon, Illinois heading southbound August 1956. The loads of wood on the head end are destined to the West Virginia Pulp & Paper Company’s paper mill located at Wickliffe, Kentucky. Wayne Leeman photograph

$65.00 $63.00
Optional MPHS Current Paid Member Discount: