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Historic Kansas City Southern Belle No.1 rolls through region; When the Belle stopped in 1969, the Joplin Union Depot closed

GOODMAN, Mo. — Monday we caught the Southern Belle No.1 of the Kansas City Southern Railroad traveling south through our region.

Sources tell us the train is traveling to different points south of Kansas City. There is a merger/purchase by Canadian Pacific of KCS that was approved last December but there are still some hurdles to cross.  Some CP cars are being pulled by the Belle.

The train spent time stopped in Pittsburg, Kan. Monday morning. It was spotted traveling through Joplin a little after 12:15 p.m. More information can be read here.

THE SOUTHERN BELLE No.1

The Southern Belle was a named passenger train service offered by Kansas City Southern Railway (KCS) from the 1940s through the 1960s, running between Kansas City, Mo., and New Orleans, La.

Joplin was one of the few stops on that route which began Sept 2, 1940 and ended on Nov 3, 1969. They included: Joplin, Texarkana, Shreveport, Alexandria, and Baton Rouge.

When the Southern Belle ended her route. That was the last passenger train at Joplin’s Union Depot which then closed the very next day. And it has continued to deteriorate for more than 50 years.

In late 2021 the Union Depot was placed on the Missouri Places of Peril list which includes endangered properties.

“It’s been here for over 100 years and people in the community have seen it sit empty since 1969 when the last train left the depot,” said Jill Sullivan, a member of the Endangered Properties program committee and  Executive Director of the Post Art Library. “I mean generations of preservationists and community members have been helpful to see something happen with the building and it’s pretty amazing that it’s just still there to begin with, that it survived urban renewal and other things that have happened over the decades in the city. And we’ve lost a lot of our historic buildings. But with Union Depot, it’s a very innovative building, it’s architecturally stunning, and the architectural design that Louis Curtis is known as the Frank Lloyd Wright of Kansas City. So it’s very significant in that.”

Now there are efforts underway, to bring new life to the building while preserving its historic significance. Read more here about possible redevelopment of the depot.

This KCS No.1 which is used for special occasions and celebrations. The train is based in Louisiana.

THE 2022 KCS HOLIDAY EXPRESS

The last two years the KSC Holiday Express have taken a break due to COVID. But keeping our fingers crossed the train will run this Christmas season. Sources tell us there is no official schedule yet, but barring any COVID restrictions it will happen.

The train route is traditionally a fundraiser for the Salvation Army locations along the route. We will update information here on our news tab on KOAM News Now.

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