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St. Louis-San Francisco Railway


St. Louis-San Francisco Railway

St. Louis–San Francisco Railway
Reporting mark SLSF
Locale Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas
Dates of operation 1876–1980
Successor Burlington Northern
Track gauge (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.


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. 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, extending more than 1,000 miles (1,600 km) to 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. 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 streamliner 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[2][3] (giving rise to Frisco High School's mascot, the Fighting Raccoons).

Passenger trains

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

  • Bluebonnet
  • Black Gold (Tulsa–Fort Worth)
  • Firefly (Tulsa–Kansas City)
  • Kansas City–Florida Special (Kansas City–Jacksonville)
  • Memphian (St. Louis–Memphis)
  • Meteor (St. Louis–Oklahoma City/Fort Smith)
  • 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)
  • Will Rogers (St. Louis–Oklahoma City/Wichita)

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
  • Monett, Missouri to Fort Smith, Arkansas: Operated by Arkansas and Missouri Railroad
  • Lakeside, Oklahoma to Hope, Arkansas: Operated by Kiamichi RR (RailAmerica)
  • 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


The following companies were predecessors of the Frisco:

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


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 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)

See also


External links

  • Frisco Modelers' Information Group
  • The Frisco: A Look Back at the St. Louis–San Francisco Railway (historical information at the Springfield-Greene County Library District)
  • Mike Condren's Frisco Railroad Homepage
  • The Frisco Railroad in Kansas
  • Western Historical Manuscript Collection—Rolla—University of Missouri-Rolla "Guide to the Historical Records of the St. Louis–San Francisco Railway Company" Retrieved September 16, 2005
  • magazine, January 18, 2001, accessed 5 April 2011. Includes photos and system map.
  • , accessed 5 April 2011.
  • Oklahoma Digital Maps: Digital Collections of Oklahoma and Indian Territory
  • American Steam Railroad Heritage site—ASR owns and is restoring to service SLSF steam locomotive 1352
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