Ozark Greenways


Frisco Highline Timeline

Category News | Posted on January 30, 2018

Frisco Highline Timeline

1884 - The track that will become the Frisco Highline is completed by the Springfield and Northern Railroad. (The name "Highline" comes later, to differentiate the route from other, lower-elevation routes from Springfield to Kansas City.)

1948 - President Harry Truman rides the rails from Springfield to Bolivar to dedicate a statue to Simon Bolivar. Because there is no place in Bolivar to turn around an engine, the train returns backwards.

1954 - The last passenger trains operated on the line.

1979 - Truman makes history on the Highline again! This time, the completion and filling of his namesake reservoir permanently severs the Highline between Bolivar and Kansas City.

1983 - Congress recognizes that railroad abandonments are causing the loss of a valuable national asset: railroad corridors. Congress passes the Rail Banking Act to keep the corridors intact. These "railbanked" routes are often used for trails since they invigorate the adjoining communities like the railroad once did.

1991 - The Burlington Northern Railroad, which absorbed the Frisco in 1980, files to railbank 30.4 miles of the Highline from Willard to Bolivar.

1993 - Ozark Greenways, a nonprofit trail organization, buys the railbanked corridor from the Burlington Northern, then salvages and sells the old rails and ties to pay for it.

1999 - The first section of the Frisco Highline Trail, 10 miles from Willard to Walnut Grove, completed and officially opened on National Trails Day.

2000 - The City of Bolivar paves the 1.5-mile stretch of trail within the city limits.

2001 - The Burlington Northern abandons the 5.7-mile section of the Highline between Willard and Springfield, and Ozark Greenways acquires it.

2003 - The Springfield to Willard link of the trail is officially opened to the public.

2005 - Ozark Greenways finishes work on the remaining 18 miles of trail from the Greene-Polk County line to Bolivar, and mayors from all five towns along the route meet at the midway point to cut the ribbon!

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