Riding the Rails
Amtrak's Missouri River Runner
The Lohman Building in the Jefferson Landing State Historical
Site served as the Amtrak Station in Jefferson City until it was
deemed structurally unsafe. Our hope is that it will be restored
and returned to service. (KOMU News, Creative Commons
license 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons)
One of the most beautiful routes is the Missouri River Runner, which travels between Kansas City and St. Louis. The train is a joint venture between the State of Missouri and Amtrak, beginning as three separate trains, the Kansas City Mule, the St. Louis Mule, and the Ann Rutledge. They were combined to form the Missouri River Runner.
The history of the area is fascinating. The eastbound trip begins at the beautiful beaux arts station in Kansas City, where Fred Harvey and his news stands, coffee shops, restaurants, and hotels began. In the last quarter of the 19th century and early 20th century, Mr. Harvey's establishments provided food and lodging to travelers aboard the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe trains in the days before dining cars came to be.
As the train leaves the city, it passes through Independence, which was home to President Harry S. Truman. It makes its way to the southeast, soon reaching Sedalia, home to Scott Joplin, composer of those wonderful ragtime melodies. Just east of there, the train enters hilly train, until, at last, it reaches the Missouri state capital, Jefferson City. There, the Amtrak station is located in the former Union Hotel at the Jefferson Landing State Historic Site. There are other historical buildings along the tracks, giving the site a close resemblance to its counterpart in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.
From Jefferson City, the train meanders along the Missouri River until it glides into Kirkwood and, then, into St. Louis. The station there is located in the new St. Louis Gateway Transportation Center, not the grand old station of yesteryear.
History aside, the Missouri River Runner is known for its beautiful scenery. From the rocky hillsides to the wide Missouri River, everything is lush and green and very relaxing.
Kansas City UnionStation
John LeCoque, public domain via Wikimedia Commons