St. Louis–San Francisco Railway

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St. Louis–San Francisco Railway
St Louis and San Francisco Railway Logo.jpg
St. Louis-San Francisco Railway system map (1918).svg
Frisco system as of 1918; the Fort Worth and Rio Grande in central Texas was sold to the Santa Fe Railway in 1937
Reporting mark SLSF
Locale Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas
Dates of operation 1876–1980
Successor Burlington Northern
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Headquarters Springfield, Missouri[1]

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.


Preserved wooden caboose on display in Missouri

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 Acheson, 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,[2][3] 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, being more than 1,000 miles (1,600 km) from San Francisco.

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

From March, 1917, through January, 1959, 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.

The railroad 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[4][5] (giving rise to Frisco High School's mascot, the Fighting Raccoons).

Passenger trains

Frisco 1529 is located in Frisco Park in Amory, Mississippi

While the Texas Special was the most famous passenger train 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

1899 poster showing a boy and a girl in a SLSF waiting room

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
  • 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): 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

Surviving Equipment

Steam Locomotives


The following companies were predecessors of the Frisco:

See also List of predecessors of the St. Louis–San Francisco Railway


Frisco 1522 has been preserved and restored. In this picture the locomotive is sitting in Arkansas City, Kansas.

The following railroads were acquired or merged into the Frisco:

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.

Frisco 1621 on display at the Museum of Transportation outside St. Louis, Missouri

See also


  1. Patrick Hiatte, Springfield, Missouri: The Heart of the Frisco, 1955, Trains magazine, December 2003
  2. "History of the Frisco". Springfield, Missouri: Springfield-Greene County Library District.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Corporate History: St. Louis - San Francisco Railway Company". The Truman Area Community Network. Henry County Library. June 2, 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "FRISCO INTERNATIONAL WIDE VISION CABOOSE #239". Canadian Model Trains Inc. March 12, 2009. Retrieved 2012-03-18.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "'100 Years of Service'". Frisco Veterans' Reunion via Springfield-Greene County Library. 1960 (book) website: ?. Retrieved 2012-03-18. Check date values in: |date= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6., Retrieved 6-11-15.
  7., Retrieved 6-11-15.
  8. Frisco 1352

External links