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St. Louis–San Francisco Railway

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Reporting mark


Dates of operation

Acquisition date
November 21, 1980

St. Louis–San Francisco Railway friscoorgmainlinewpcontentuploads201310rou

Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas

Track gauge
4 ft 8 ⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge

Springfield, Missouri, United States

Burlington Northern Railroad

The St. Louis–San Francisco Railway (reporting mark SLSF), also known as the Frisco, was a railroad that operated in the Midwest and South Central U.S. from 1876 to April 17, 1980. At the end of 1970 it operated 4,547 miles (7,318 km) of road on 6,574 miles (10,580 km) miles of track, not including subsidiaries Quanah, Acme and Pacific Railway or the Alabama, Tennessee and Northern Railroad; that year it reported 12,795 million ton-miles of revenue freight and no passengers. It was purchased and absorbed into the Burlington Northern Railroad in 1980.



The St. Louis–San Francisco Railway was incorporated in Missouri on September 7, 1876. It was formed from the Missouri Division and Central Division of the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad. This land grant line was one of two railroads (the other being the M-K-T) authorized to build across Indian Territory. The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, interested in the A&P right of way across the Mojave Desert to California, took the road over until the larger road went bankrupt in 1893; the receivers retained the western right of way but divested the ATSF of the St. Louis-San Francisco mileage on the great plains. After bankruptcy the Frisco emerged as the St. Louis and San Francisco Railroad, incorporated on June 29, 1896, which also went bankrupt. On August 24, 1916 the company was reorganized as the St. Louis–San Francisco Railway, though the line never went west of Texas, terminating more than 1,000 miles (1,600 km) from San Francisco.

The St. Louis–San Francisco Railway had two main lines: St. Louis–Tulsa–Oklahoma City and Kansas City–Memphis–Birmingham. The junction of the two lines was in Springfield, Missouri, home to the company's main shop facility and headquarters. Other lines included:

  • Springfield–Kansas City (via Clinton, Missouri)
  • Monett, Missouri (Pierce City)–Wichita, Kansas
  • Monett, Missouri–Hugo, Oklahoma–Paris, Texas
  • St. Louis–River Junction, Arkansas (Memphis, Tennessee)
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma–Dallas, Texas
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma–Avard, Oklahoma
  • Lakeside, Oklahoma–Hugo, Oklahoma–Hope, Arkansas.
  • From March, 1917, through January, 1959, the Frisco, in a joint venture with the Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad, operated the Texas Special. This luxurious train, a streamliner from 1947, ran from St. Louis to Dallas, Texas, Ft. Worth, Texas and San Antonio, Texas.

    It was the last passenger railroad to end Jim Crow or segregation of passengers by race.

    The Frisco merged into the Burlington Northern Railroad on November 21, 1980.

    The city of Frisco, Texas was named after the railroad and uses the former railroad's logo as its own logo. The logo is modeled after a stretched-out raccoon skin (giving rise to Frisco High School's mascot, the Fighting Raccoons).

    Passenger trains

    While the Texas Special was the most famous passenger train the Frisco ever operated, it also rostered an entire fleet of named trains. These included:

  • Black Gold (Tulsa–Dallas/Fort Worth overnight)
  • Firefly (Kansas City–Tulsa)
  • Kansas City–Florida Special (Kansas City–Jacksonville)
  • Memphian (St. Louis–Memphis)
  • Meteor (St. Louis–Oklahoma City by night with connecting train Monett-Fort Smith, AR)
  • Oil Fields Special (Tulsa–Dallas/Ft. Worth by day)
  • Oklahoman (Once connected Kansas City–Tulsa but was later rerouted between St. Louis–Oklahoma City.)
  • Southland (Kansas City–Birmingham)
  • Sunnyland (Kansas City/St. Louis–Atlanta/Pensacola)
  • Texas Flash (Tulsa-Sherman-Dallas by day)
  • Will Rogers (St. Louis–Oklahoma City/Wichita by day)
  • Former Frisco lines today

    The core of the former Frisco system continues to be operated by BNSF Railway as high-density mainlines. Other secondary and branchlines have been sold to shortline operators or have been abandoned altogether.

  • Kansas City – Springfield – Memphis – Birmingham: Operated by BNSF
  • St. Louis – Springfield – Tulsa – Dallas: Operated by BNSF
  • Fort Scott, Kansas to Afton, Oklahoma: Operated by BNSF
  • St. Louis to Memphis, Tennessee: Operated by BNSF
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma to Avard, Oklahoma: Operated by BNSF
  • Fredonia, Kansas to Cherryvale, Kansas to Columbus, Kansas: Operated by South Kansas and Oklahoma Railroad
  • Cherokee, Kansas to Pittsburg, Kansas: Operated by South Kansas and Oklahoma Railroad
  • Fredonia, Kansas to Ellsworth, Kansas: Abandoned
  • Cherokee, Kansas to Cherryvale, Kansas: Abandoned
  • Monett, Missouri to Fort Smith, Arkansas: Operated by Arkansas and Missouri Railroad
  • Lakeside, Oklahoma to Hope, Arkansas: Operated by Kiamichi Railroad (Genesee & Wyoming Inc.)
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma (Sapulpa) to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: Operated by Stillwater Central RR
  • Oklahoma City to Snyder, Oklahoma: Operated by Stillwater Central RR
  • Snyder, Oklahoma (Long Siding) to Quanah, Texas: Operated by BNSF
  • Enid, Oklahoma to Frederick, Oklahoma: Operated by Grainbelt/Farmrail
  • Amory, Mississippi to Pensacola, Florida: Operated by Alabama and Gulf Coast Railway (RailAmerica)
  • Springfield to Kansas City (via Clinton)(two routes): Abandoned
  • Monett (Pierce City) to Carthage, Missouri: Out of service
  • Carthage, Missouri to Wichita, Kansas: Mostly abandoned
  • Chaffee, Missouri to Poplar Bluff, Missouri to Hoxie, Arkansas (Hoxie Sub): Abandoned
  • Steam Locomotives

  • Frisco 19, a 2-8-0 Consolidation-type built in 1910 and on static display on in Frisco, Texas (Note: This locomotive is lettered Frisco, but it did not actually operate on the SLSF. It is the former Lake Superior and Ishpeming Railroad 19. It was purchased by the City of Frisco, Texas, as a static display, and is representative of a typical Frisco locomotive. Frisco operated a number of Consolidations as Frisco-series 1306 engines.)
  • Frisco 1351, built in 1912 as a 2-8-0 Consolidation (Frisco 1313), and converted by Frisco to a 2-8-2 Mikado in November 1943. Now on static display in Collierville, Tennessee.
  • Frisco 1352, built by Alco in 1912 as a 2-8-0 Consolidation, and converted by Frisco in the WWII timeframe to a 2-8-2 Mikado. Disassembled in Taylorsville, Illinois; awaiting restoration to operating condition.
  • Frisco 1355, 2-8-2 Mikado, displayed on Garden Street, Pensacola, Florida, near the site of the SLSF passenger depot demolished in 1967.
  • Frisco 1501, 4-8-2 Mountain-type, built in 1926. Static display in Schuman Park, Rolla MO since 1955. Several parts from Frisco 1501 were donated to Frisco 1522 to make/keep 1522 operational. Video
  • Frisco 1522, 4-8-2 Mountain-type, built in 1926. It was at the Museum of Transportation in St. Louis, Missouri until 1988, when it began pulling excursions. In 2002, it was returned to the Museum of Transportation
  • Frisco 1527, 4-8-2 Mountain-type, built by Baldwin in 1926. Static display in Langan Park, Mobile, AL since 1964.
  • Frisco 1529, 4-8-2 Mountain-type, built by Baldwin in 1926. The train hosted President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1934, and was eventually the last steam engine to make a passenger run for Frisco. Now on static display in Frisco Park in Amory, Mississippi.
  • Frisco 1621, a 2-10-0, being a Russian Class Ye ("Russian Decapod"), built in 1918 and on static display at the Museum of Transportation in St. Louis, Missouri.
  • Frisco 1625, another 2-10-0 Russian Decapod, also built in 1918. After intermediate service with the Eagle-Picher Mining Co., now on static display at the Museum of the American Railroad in Frisco, Texas.
  • Frisco 1630, another 2-10-0 Russian Decapod, also built in 1918, and in excursion service at the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, Illinois
  • Frisco 4003, a 2-8-2 Mikado built in 1919 by Lima and on static display at the Fort Smith Trolley Museum in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
  • Frisco 4018, a 2-8-2 Mikado built in 1919 and is on static display at Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham, Alabama
  • Frisco 4500, a 4-8-4 Northern-type built in 1942 on static display in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and 4501, a 4-8-4 on static display at the Museum of the American Railroad in Frisco, Texas, both being locomotives which pulled the Frisco's crack Meteor train.
  • Frisco 4524, another wartime 4500-series 4-8-4 Northern-type on static display at Grant Beach Park in Springfield, Missouri, wearing the "Frisco Fast Freight" paint scheme. It was the last steam locomotive built for the Frisco.
  • Predecessors

    The following companies were predecessors of the Frisco:

  • Pacific Railroad, charter granted by Missouri on March 3, 1849
  • Southwest Pacific Railroad, John C. Frémont reorganized in August 1866
  • Atlantic and Pacific Railroad, incorporated on July 27, 1866
  • See also List of predecessors of the St. Louis–San Francisco Railway


    The following railroads were acquired or merged into the Frisco:

  • Missouri and Western Railway: 1879
  • St. Louis, Arkansas and Texas Railway: 1882
  • Springfield and Southern Railroad: 1885
  • Kansas City and Southwestern Railroad: 1886
  • Fayetteville and Little Rock Railroad: 1887
  • Fort Smith and Southern Railway: 1887
  • Kansas City, Osceola and Southern Railway: 1900
  • Arkansas and Oklahoma Railroad: 1901
  • St. Louis, Oklahoma and Southern Railway: 1901
  • Kansas City, Fort Scott and Memphis Railway: 1901
  • Arkansas Valley and Western Railway: 1907
  • Blackwell, Enid and Southwestern Railway: 1903
  • Red River, Texas and Southern Railway: 1904
  • Oklahoma City and Texas Railroad: December 19, 1904
  • Crawford County Midland and Railroad: May 20, 1905
  • Oklahoma City and Western Railroad: 1907 – December 19, 1910
  • Sapulpa and Oil Field Railroad: 1917
  • West Tulsa Belt Railway: 1922
  • Jonesboro, Lake City and Eastern Railroad:1924
  • Pittsburg and Columbus Railway (Pittsburg, Kansas): 1925–1926
  • Springfield Connecting Railway: May 11, 1926
  • Kansas City and Memphis Railway and Bridge Company: 1928
  • Paris and Great Northern Railroad: July 21, 1928
  • Kansas City, Clinton and Springfield Railway: September 1, 1928
  • Alabama, Tennessee and Northern Railroad: December 28, 1948
  • Central of Georgia Railway: 1956. The Interstate Commerce Commission did not approve the purchase, so the Frisco sold it to Southern Railway in 1961.
  • Northeast Oklahoma Railroad: December 27, 1963 (Division dissolved February 27, 1967; Roads involved include: NEO RR, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri Interurban Railroad, Joplin and Pittsburg Railway and Oklahoma Traction Company)
  • Asset absorptions

    The following is a list of partial or full asset absorptions, many times through bankruptcy courts or creditors. In some cases the Frisco was a creditor. Assets can include mineral rights, property, track and right of way, trains, bonds, mortgages, etc.

  • St. Louis, Wichita and Western Railway: 1882
  • St. Louis and Oklahoma City Railroad: 1898
  • Kansas Midland Railroad: October 23, 1900
  • Oklahoma City Terminal Railroad: 1900–1903
  • Fort Smith and Van Buren Bridge Company: 1907
  • Ozark and Cherokee Central Railway: 1907
  • St. Louis, Memphis and Southern Railroad: 1907
  • Sulphur Springs Railway: 1907
  • Joplin Railway: 1910
  • Fort Worth and Rio Grande Railway: 1919–1937
  • Fayetteville and Little Rock Railroad: 1926
  • Little Rock and Texas Railway: 1926
  • Kansas City, Memphis and Birmingham Railroad: September 1, 1928
  • Muscle Shoals, Birmingham and Pensacola Railroad: 1928–1947
  • Miami Mineral Belt Railroad: 1950
  • St. Louis, Kennett and Southeastern Railroad: 1950
  • St. Louis, San Francisco and Texas Railway: 1963–1964
  • Birmingham Belt Railroad: 1967 (liquidation of BB RR and distribution of assets)
  • References

    St. Louis–San Francisco Railway Wikipedia

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