What is Ozark Mountain Railroading?
The Northview & Frisco was built in the tradition of the small budget, cheaply built shortline
railroad. Our track winds around the contours of our land, climbs some steep grades and
crawls around tight curves. The railroad is an addition to the landscape instead of an
intruder that drastically alters it. The following pictures show various parts of the railroad as
it makes its way through the Ozark hills. Keep in mind that all of our Right-of-Way is
excavated by hand, with a pick and shovel.
In the early days of railroading, there were two different schools of thought about how to
build a railroad. The first type was a first class, mainline type railroad. Grades and curves
were kept to a minimum, since both limit the pulling power of locomotives and slow trains
down. This required a lot of excavation - especially in hilly or mountainous terrain - which
increased the cost of the railroad. This was offset by lower operating costs over the life of
the line. Needless to say, this does not describe the Northview & Frisco Railroad!
The second type was sometimes described as a Surface Line. In order to keep construction
costs low, the line tended to follow the lay of the land, winding around the contours of the
hills and valleys. To avoid expensive fills, trestles were built to span the valleys. These lines
had many curves, some of them very sharp with steep grades. In addition, their track had
lighter rail and fewer ties to help keep costs down. This type of construction was used
where a railroad was needed, but the traffic was expected to be minimal. Many branchlines
of big railroads were built like this, as well as many shortline and narrow gauge railroads.
The Stansbury Lead Mine Siding winds around the hillside as it climbs up to the Tombstone Switchback.
This is a view of the Tombstone Switchback. The Stansbury Lead Mine Siding connects from
the left to the switchback. The track in the center goes over a trestle to Frisco Valley and
also connects to the mainline on the right. The switchback is needed to deal with large
elevation changes in a tight area.
This view from the cab of #86 show the mainline east of the Redbud Switch. The line was
graded along the hillside, following its contour as much as possible. The track curves to the
right around a cedar tree and crosses Bridge #8 to span a small gully.
Locomotive #86 with a work train on Bridge #8.
This is Ozark Mountain Railroading. Steep grades and sharp curves on a roadbed carved
into the side of hill makes for an interesting ride and challenge to operate. It may not be
fast, but is sure is fun!