By Bruce Daniel
The Strang Line Wait Station in the Lenexa Historical Complex served the innovative Missouri / Kansas Interurban Railroad (also known as the Strang Line) from 1906 until 1940.
The concept originated with William Strang, who observed the great, destructive Kansas City flood of 1903 and its paralyzing effect on all modes of transportation. Intent on developing a flood-proof rail system, he built Strang Line to follow the contours and high ridges of the land. No bridges or trestles were necessary from Kansas City to Lenexa.
In 1906, Lenexa’s train depot had a siding that had been provided by the Frisco Railroad that accommodated the new interurban new line. A “Y” track was constructed where cars could be turned around so there was a single track the entire length of the line.
The first Lenexa train left in May of ‘06, made a brief stop in Overland Park, and arrived at 41st and State Line in 27 minutes. The round trip cost 15 cents. Strang Line would soon bill itself as “The highest, coolest, and most beautiful ride out of Kansas City”.
The Lenexa ticket office was on the southwest corner of Pflumm Road and Walnut Street. Since Lenexa did not have a high school, about 90 percent of Lenexa students rode Strang Line cars to Shawnee Mission or Olathe High School.
The first rail cars were unique and unprecedented. Gasoline engines were tied to generators that sent energy to batteries — a self-propelled early 20th century hybrid.
Strang Line eventually expanded service to Olathe, which became the final stop. Hourly service was available along the entire line, but evenings sometimes ended early for Lenexa suitors with Olathe dates; the last train ran at 10:00 pm.
See more on the Wiedemann Strang Line Waiting Station HERE