The late 1800ís were a period of
rapid growth for railroads west of the Mississippi.
Nowhere was this expansion greater than in Union County,
First to come was the CB&Q [Chicago,
Burlington and Quincy]. Small towns sprung up beside the
tracks and owed their lives to these throbbing beast of
the prairie. Afton, at this time, was the county seat of
Union County. Creston had the largest roundhouse in the
world. Beginning in 1888 and continuing into the 1890ís
another railroad inched its way across the county. It
was known as he Maple Leaf or Diagonal and later became
the Chicago Great Western. This line spurred life into
Lorimor, Monette, Talmage, Sheperd Station, Arispe,
Shannon City and numerous other towns in south central
On half mile south of Talmage another
village was created, though it was never incorporated.
This was the point where the CB&Q crossed the Great
Western and came to be called Afton Junction. This name
stuck for local use and by the Great Western. However on
one line detrained at detrained at Afton Junction to
wait for the next passenger on the other line. Because
as many as 300 passengers changed trains daily at this
point new facilities must be built to accommodate them.
There is a painting that shows Afton
Junction was viewed from the south. A train is crossing
the bridge on the CB&Q. Below, on the Great Western
another train is approaching from the north. The depot
is out of sight behind the CB&Q fill. Passengers for the
CGW boarded beside the depot, but passengers for the
CB&Q must walk beside the steps to the CB&Q tracks,
under the bridge, past a tool shed, and up the steps to
the CB&Q level. There a waiting room was built to
shelter passengers as they waited. A day agent and two
operators were on duty 24 hours a day to care for he
large flow of travelers.
The foreground show th Afton Junction
Hotel and barely visible to the north is a restaurant
which joined to the hotel with a long porch and steps.
At this time the CB&Q awardable line road and the CGW
maintained a single line with passing tracks extending
from north of Talmage to just south of Afton Junction.
This being before the advent of cars
many people from Afton and Creston and surrounding towns
packed lunch baskets and hammocks to come to Afton
Junction to have a picnic in the heavily treed park
located to the southeast of the two railroads.. No need
to bring drinks! A cool natural spring provided plenty
of fresh water which was directed into a fountain. The
overflow went into a large pool where goldfish splashed.
Later another depot was built, this
time on the south side of the CB&Q fill in the area of
the tool shed in this picture. This much larger depot
provided a large waiting room for passengers. A the
north end an elevator was built, not for passengers,
they still used the steps between rail levels, but for
express, baggage and mail. On days when the Montgomery
Ward catalogs arrived from Kansas City and had to be put
onto the CB&Q, the elevator developed problems. The load
was so heavy the cable stretched 6 to 8 inches so the
elevator floor and the dock did not meet. Catalogs had
to be thrown off until the load was lighter and the
baggage cart could be rolled off.
With the coming of cars, the number
of passenger trains decreased from 6 a day each
direction on the CB&Q and 3 a day each direction on the
CB&Q to finally one a day each direction on each line.
As passengers lessened Fton Junction began to fade. By
1942 all buildings were gone of falling into ruin.
Today, all that remains is a few foundation stones. Even
the Great Western, so vital to early days of Union
County, was torn out in 1985. The end of an era.
Following is a list of the night
operators and agents at Afton Junction. This list is not
complete but are the ones Henry Vogel remembered.
Joe V. Goin, Bert B, White, S.V.
[Hadley] Castor, Mr. Shafer, Mr. Shriver,
John McDonald, & Virgil Goin, who
worked extra, son of Joe V. Goin.
During the time many passenger trains
were running there were three shifts of agents and
operators twenty-four hours a day. As rains travel
decreased shift were cut one at a time and the men were
moved to other locations. By the end of the 1930s all
exchange of passengers between the two railroads had
ceased and the last agent, Joe V. Goin, left.
The ones who ran the hotel usually
operated a motorized taxi service. Some of them were:
Elmer Allen, Charlie Thompson, Claude Loy & Bill
Bill Courtney was the last to run the
hotel-taxi service. By that time the number of
passengers needing taxi service had decreased to much
that there might be only one fare in a period of three
or four days. During the 1920ís both the hotel and taxi
service ceased operation. Written by Henry & Lucille