Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Trains Part 3A - Dean Schirf Collection (cont.)

Go To Trains & Trolleys Intro   Go To Trains, Part 1
Go To Trains Part 2   Go To Trains Part 3
Go To Trolleys Part 1
Doug Dawgz Note: With this post, it gives me the greatest pleasure to give the floor to Dean Schirf, benefactor par excellence to this blog and to all of us who want to know more Oklahoma City history, trains in particular. With this brief preface, I relinquish both pen and pallette to Dean Schirf. Click on any pic for a larger view.
DOUG: I thank you most sincerely for the opportunity to be asked to share a part of my collection and thoughts on Oklahoma City Rails.

Oklahoma City is not what you would consider a major rail center as compared to Chicago, Kansas City or St. Louis, but I doubt very few large cities in this country can attribute its founding and beginning prosperity to the rails as does our great city. Oklahoma City was a Santa Fe outpost some two years prior to our founding on April 22, 1889. Our city then languished for a spell until the Frisco Railroad built its tracks into Oklahoma City in the late 1890's. This latter action propelled our city into the big time and we haven't looked back since. All that you see in the ole Bricktown warehouse areas east of downtown were all first served by early rails made up of the Santa Fe, Frisco, Rock Island, Missouri, Kansas and Texas, aka the M-K-T or Katy), and the Oklahoma City Ada and Atoka Railroad.

The Katy Yard in the Late 1930s
Oil Derricks and the Katy Railroad Yard
Downtown Skyline in the Background

Photographer Unknown

In the 1940s At Union Station
Union Station Served Both the Rock Island and Frisco Railroads

Provided by Ed Birch, Oklahoma City

Santa Fe Passenger Train Arriving At Santa Fe Station (1946)
Provided by Ed Birch, Oklahoma City

MY PHOTOS. I shot the following photos of OKC rails over the last several years.

Burlington Northern #1375 Switches the Yard (formerly the Frisco Railroad) With Downtown Oklahoma City in the Background on April 12, 1987, before MAPS & Oklahoma River Improvements

Santa Fe Caboose Leaving Oklahoma City
(August 12, 1987)

Santa Fe Freight Train Approaching Downtown From the South
(October 5, 1987)

Santa Fe General Motors Freight Train Crossing Broadway
Extension, Downtown Oklahoma City in Background

(October 6, 1987)

Katy Locomotive Passes the Harter Yard Offices
(Formerly Rock Island) East of Downtown Oklahoma City

(October 28, 1987)

Southbound Santa Fe Freight Train Leaving Downtown
Shields Blvd. at the left

(October 30, 1987)

Rock Island Freight Station in Bricktown Prior To
Being Remodeled into the OCPD Bricktown Station in 2006

(Rock Island first dedicated this facility in 1941)

Union Pacific's Renovation of Rock Island's Old
Harter Yard East of Downtown Oklahoma City

(May 3, 2002)

AMTRAK RETURNS TO OKLAHOMA CITY!  June 14, 1999 was a great day not only for me personally but for all those that worked tirelessly to return rail passenger service to Oklahoma. Our state lost its only rail passenger train in the Fall of 1979, when Amtrak made the decision to pull the Lone Star Chicago to Houston passenger train. Oklahoma City was the second best stop in passenger count along the Lone Star Route, surpassed only by Chicago, with a daily average of 200 passengers getting off and on. Following are a few pictures that denoted the return of rail passenger service back to Oklahoma City on June 14, 1999, when the Heartland Flyer made its inaugural run from Ft. Worth to Oklahoma City. As of March 2008 there were 528,658 passengers that have boarded the Heartland Flyer.

Dean Schirf & Jim Townsend Prepare to Board
In Ft. Worth for Heartland Flyer's Inagural OKC Run

(June 14, 1999)

Jim Townsend was the former Oklahoma House Majority Leader and Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner ... and a tireless leader in working to bring back rail passenger service to Oklahoma.

Renovated Santa Fe Platform Waits Heartland Flyer's Arrival
(June 14, 1999)

Dean Schirf & Jim Brewer Hold Banner To Welcome Heartland Flyer in OKC - First Passenger Train Service to OKC in 20 Years
(June 14, 1999)

Jim Brewer's Santa Fe Station's Main Waiting Room Renovation
(June 2000)

The facility is under private ownership and the main waiting room is not generally open to the public. Passengers gain access to the trains at the north rear entrance leading up the stairs to the loading platform. Public restrooms are available in the station.

Heartland Flyer 1st Anniversary With Demonstration Dining Car
(June 2000)

The Heartland Flyer does not presently have a dining car but, instead, has a snack car. This shows what a full dining car service would look like! That's me at the table. The demonstration featured imaginary food.

Heartland Flyer Leaves Downtown for Ft. Worth
(October 26, 2001)

A FEW LAST THINGS. I would like to close this section out in miniature. One of the great things about trains is that one has the opportunity to paint up models and take pictures with the idea in mind of trying to make them look like the "real thing". These are all models I have painted up in HO Scale and placed on a section of 1 x 8 inch board and covered by tracks and ballast. With this in mind, I wanted to share with you a few shots I have taken over the years.

H.O. Guage Model of Rock Island Rocket
Passenger Train Making Its Way Through Central Oklahoma

A Diorama of a Rock Island H.O. Model Freight Train
Poaching on the Downtown Santa Fe Tracks!

The locomotives are 2 inches high shot against the actual Oklahoma City Skyline.

End of the Line. Cabooses have disappeared from the end of trains and with it a part of railroading that for over a hundred years connected the public (especially the little ones) with a sort of a personal touch with trains, as a conductor or rear break man would wave as they made there journeys through thousands of communities each and every day.

Go To Trains & Trolleys Intro   Go To Trains, Part 1
Go To Trains Part 2   Go To Trains Part 3
Go To Trolleys Part 1
Go To Top


Anonymous said...

Wow. Great posts Doug.
-Steve Lackmeyer

Doug Dawg said...

Thanks, Steve, Dean has done a great job with this and I'm very appreciative! I hope to get some more! I do have some CofC pics that I've not yet added to Trains 2 that are pretty spiffy!

Jason said...

Thank you Dean, for sharing with us, and Doug for providing the platform. Excellent post!

Anonymous said...

A friend and I took a trip before he got married. It was his last major trip as a single person. We booked a first class round trip from Oklahoma City to Chicago. The first leg was on the Heartland Flyer. It was kind of scary waiting on the platform as freight trains went by as 40 mph. He wasn't sure how a 1st class ticket worked on a tour train. So the conductor said, "Grab any open seat." We got to Ft. Worth and they were several months away from finishing the new station. We were in the tired old station. It was rather miserable as it felt like a bus station. We took Trinity Rail to Dallas. Then our real Amtrak double decker train showed up. We got our cabin and from then on it was truly golden. On our return trip we called buddies to pick us up in Dallas so we didn't have to experience the worst part again.

Anonymous said...

I saw the Heartland Flyer going north of Edmond. Was this a test run or did they do it to park it on a siding somewhere overnight? I just know it was a delight seeing Amtrak going through downtown Edmond.