Gateway Arch - Background - Railroad Agreement (1949–1952)

Railroad Agreement (1949–1952)

There were several plans for the relocation of the railroad. The so-called La Beaume-Terminal plan, opposed by Saarinen and the NPS, proposed "three tracks on a contained fill along the lines of the elevated tracks." The Bowen plan and the Bates-Ross plan recommended that a tunnel enclose the tracks, which would cross the memorial site diagonally. Saarinen warned that should the railroad be located between the memorial and the river, he would not architect the memorial. The Levee-Tunnel plan, proposed by Frank J. McDevitt, president of the St. Louis Board of Public Service, proposed to lower the tracks into a tunnel concealed by walls and landscaping. The Hill-Tunnel plan, supported by Saarinen and NPS engineer Julian Spotts, favored a tunnel below Second and First Streets to contain the tracks. On July 7, 1949, in Mayor Joseph Darst's office, city officials decided on the Levee-Tunnel plan, rousing JNEM members who held that the decision had been pressed through when Smith was away on vacation. Darst notified Secretary of the Interior Julius Krug of the city's selection of the Levee-Tunnel plan. Krug planned to meet with Smith and JNEM but canceled the meeting and resigned on November 11. His successor, Oscar L. Chapman rescheduled the meeting for December 5 in Washington with St. Louis, JNEM, railroad, and Federal delegates. A day after the conference, they ratified a memorandum of understanding as the relocation plan: "The five tracks on the levee would be replaced by three tracks, one owned by the Missouri Pacific Railroad and two by the TRRA, proceeding through a tunnel not longer than 3,000 feet. The tunnel would be approximately fifty feet west of the current elevated line." Chapman sanctioned the document on December 22, 1949. The relocation plan involved an 18-foot (5.5 m) clearance in the tunnel, lower than the regular requirement of 22 feet (6.7 m). JNEM garnered the approval of the Missouri Public Service Commission on August 7, 1952.

Efforts to appropriate congressional funds began in January 1950 but were delayed until 1953 by the Korean War's depletion of federal funds.

Read more about this topic:  Gateway Arch, Background

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