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Celebrating the Passenger Trains of Yesteryear




St. Louis - San Francisco Herald 
St. Louis - San Francisco

The St. Louis–San Francisco Railway (reporting mark SLSF), also known as the Frisco, was a Class I railroad that operated in the Midwest and South Central U.S. from 1876 to 1980. The St. Louis–San Francisco Railway incorporated in Missouri in September of 1876. Formed from the Missouri Division and Central Division of the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad, it emerged after bankruptcy as the St. Louis and San Francisco Railroad, incorporated in June of 1896, and went bankrupt again. In August of 1916 the line was reorganized as the St. Louis–San Francisco Railway, however, the line never reached San Francisco, falling over a thousand miles short. Even so, the Frisco occupied a strong competitive position on many of the important traffic routes in the Southwest. The line was the second major rail system to fall into receivership during the depression in 1932.

                                 Frisco 4-8-4 Steam Locomotive
                                                                                                              Powerful Frisco 4-8-4 Steam Locomotive

Corporate ownership was restored in 1947 and a number of steps were taken to improve the railroad including Centralized Traffic Control installation on a large number of heavy-density areas. The Frisco also aimed for complete diesel power and had 288 units in service at the end of 1950 with 44 more units on order. The Frisco operated two main lines: St. Louis via Tulsa to Oklahoma City and Kansas City via Memphis to Birmingham. The junction of the two lines was in Springfield, Missouri, home to the company's main shop facility. 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.

                              Frisco Meteor and Texas Special
                                                                                       Postcard depicting the Streamlined Diesel Frisco Meteor and Texas Special.

From March of 1917, through January of 1959, the Frisco operated the streamlined “Texas Special” in a joint venture with the Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad (MKT or the Katy). This luxurious streamliner ran from St. Louis to Dallas, Texas, Ft. Worth, Texas and San Antonio, Texas. The “Texas Special” has been a very popular prototype in model railroading. While the Texas Special was the most famous passenger train the Frisco ever operated, it also operated an entire fleet of named trains. These included: the “Bluebonnet” (also a joint venture with the M-K-T from 1927 to 1948 that ran from St. Louis to San Antonio); the “Black Gold” (Tulsa to Fort Worth); the “Firefly” (Tulsa to Kansas City); the “Kansas City-Florida Special” (Kansas City to Jacksonville); the “Memphian” (St. Louis to Memphis); the “Meteor” (an overnight streamliner from St. Louis to Tulsa and Oklahoma City); the “Oklahoman” (which once connected Kansas City to Tulsa but was later rerouted between St. Louis to Oklahoma City); the “Southland” (Kansas City to Birmingham); the “Sunnyland” (Kansas City via St. Louis and Atlanta to Pensacola); and the “Will Rogers” (St. Louis via Oklahoma City to Wichita).

                                Frisco Steam Locomotive Number 4305
                                                                                                                  Frisco Steam Locomotive #4305

By 1950, the Frisco owned a fleet of 443 passenger cars. In that same year, the Frisco operated 4,635 miles of road in eight states and also owned and operated the 159-mile St. Louis San Francisco and Texas Railway, the 117-mile Class II Quanah, Acme and Pacific (QA&P), and the 214-mile Class II Alabama, Tennessee and Northern (AT&N), which it had acquired in 1948.

By 1964 the Frisco operated over nearly 4,700 miles of track in nine Midwestern and southern states, with major routes from St. Louis through Oklahoma to Texas and from Kansas City through Memphis to Birmingham and Pensacola, Florida. Major subsidiaries included the QA&P between Quanah and Floydada and the AT&N, which gave the Frisco access to Mobile, Alabama.

In that year the Frisco owned 419 diesel units, 200 passenger train cars, and 19,200 freight and company service cars. Earnings for the year included $1,471,000 in passenger revenue, $122,100,000 in freight revenue, and $9,167,230 in other revenue. By the end of 1970 it operated 4,547 miles of road on 6,574 miles of track, not including the QA&P or the AT&N; that year it reported 12,795 million ton-miles of revenue freight, and sadly, no passengers. The Frisco was merged into the Burlington Northern Railroad Company on November 21, 1980. The BN merged with the AT&SF at the end of 1996, forming BNSF.

                                  Frisco Firefly Post Card
                                                                             Post card depicting the Frisco "Firefly" Streamliner.

   FA-1 No. 5215 at Memphis, Tennessee in April 1964. Golden Spike Productions. F3A No. 64 at Springfield, Missouri in February 1971. Golden Spike Productions
              LEFT: FA-1 5215 at Memphis, Tennessee in April 1964 (Golden Spike Productions).  RIGHT: F3A 64 at Springfield, Missouri in February 1971 (Golden Spike Productions).
                                                   Special thanks to Charlie Dix and the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway Historical and Modeling Society for the above photos.

                              Keep the Frisco Heritage Alive by Joining the Frisco Historical and Modeling Society Today!



Quanah, Acme and Pacific Railway Herald 

Quanah, Acme and Pacific Railway
Quanah, Acme and Pacific Railway (QA&P), known as the “Quanah Route”, was a 117-mile freight railroad that ran between the Red River (on the Oklahoma-Texas state line) and Floydada, Texas, from 1902 until it was merged into the Burlington Northern Railroad (BN) in 1981. The line was incorporated as the Acme, Red River and Northern Railway in May of 1902. The original plans were to extend the line 500 miles from the Red River to El Paso, Texas, but this never came about. The railroad assumed the name of the Quanah, Acme and Pacific in January of 1909, after the Texas town of Quanah, where the QA&P maintained their office. In 1911, the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway (Frisco) acquired control of the QA&P. In 1913, the 8-mile long Motley County Railroad was begun with money from over 90 investors. The line went through unfenced ranch lands in Motley County and joined the QA&P at Roaring Springs. This track continued in operation until until 1936. Stops on the QA&P included Red River, Carnes, Quanah, Acme, Lazare, Swearingen, Paducah, Narcisso, Summit (Motley County), Russellville, Roaring Springs, MacBain, Dougherty, Boothe Spur, and Floydada. The QA&P's traffic was mostly overhead freight between the Frisco at Red River and the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (AT&SF) at Floydada, and some general commodities. Beginning in the 1960s the QLA freight train via Floydada was scheduled to arrive Los Angeles 38-1/2 to 40 hours after leaving Tulsa. The railroad's traffic declined after 1973 when overhead trade took a shorter route via Avard, Oklahoma. The QA&P reported 8 million ton-miles of revenue freight on 91 miles of line in 1925; in 1944 it had 51 million and in 1967 130 million, both on 120 route-miles. In June of 1981, the QA&P was merged by owner Burlington Northern Railroad, which had previously merged the QA&P's corporate parent, the Frisco, in November of 1980. The BN abandoned the old QA&P line west of Paducah in 1982. The BN then merged with the AT&SF at the end of 1996 to form the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway (later renamed BNSF Railway), and was owned by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation. That corporation was bought by Berkshire Hathaway in 2009 and is controlled by investor Warren Buffett.


St. Louis, San Francisco, and Texas 
St. Louis, San Francisco and Texas

The St. Louis, San Francisco and Texas Railway (SLSF&T) was a subsidiary railway to the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway (Frisco) and operated 159 miles of railway line in Texas. In January of 1964, the Frisco merged the subsidiary St. Louis, San Francisco, and Texas Railway Company, into the parent company. This gave the Frisco three lines from the Red River into Texas, one serving Paris, one through Denison and Sherman to Dallas and Fort Worth, and one to Quanah. The Quanah line, however, was operated under lease by another Frisco subsidiary, the Quanah, Acme and Pacific. The Frisco, including the subsidiary, formed a large X-shaped system across the states of Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama. It merged into SLSF at the beginning of 1964; SLSF merged into the Burlington Northern Railroad in 1980, BN merged with AT&SF in 1996 forming BNSF.


Alabama, Tennessee and Northern herald   A T and N herald   
Alabama, Tennessee and Northern
The Alabama, Tennessee & Northern Railroad (reporting mark AT&N) was a railroad that operated within the state of Alabama from 1897 until 1971, when it was absorbed into the St. Louis–San Francisco Railway. The line was 224 miles in length and headquarted in Mobile, Alabama.

The Carrollton Short Line Railway was chartered in 1897. By 1906, when its name was changed to Alabama, Tennessee and Northern Railroad (AT&N), it had built a line from Reform, Alabama through Carrollton to Aliceville and was pushing slowly down the western edge of Alabama toward the Gulf of Mexico. The company underwent foreclosure and reorganization in 1918, and by 1920 the railroad reached south to Calvert, Alabama, where the Southern Railway offered a connection to Mobile.

In 1928, AT&N completed its own line from Calvert to Mobile and that same year entered into an agreement with the St. Louis–San Francisco Railway (nicknamed "The Frisco") (which had just built a line from Aberdeen, Mississippi, to Pensacola, Florida, making a connection with the AT&N at Aliceville) for joint handling of through traffic between the Port of Mobile and points on the Frisco.

Burdened by the enormous volume of wartime traffic moving through the Port of Mobile, AT&N obtained War Production Board clearance for diesel locomotive purchases. Eleven ALCO RS-1s and two small General Electric switchers allowed the railroad to completely dieselize by 1946, one of the first railroads its size to do so. AT&N's finances were again reorganized in October 1944. On December 28, 1948, Frisco purchased 97.2 percent of AT&N's common stock (later increasing its holdings to 100 percent) and unified AT&N's operations with its own. The AT&N was officially merged with the Frisco on January 1, 1971. Frisco itself became part of Burlington Northern Railroad on September 21, 1980.

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