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The Eastern Flyer Trip 2/23/2014

by Chris Guenzler

I decided to take this opportunity to ride the Eastern Flyer, a demonstration of a train from Sapulpa, Oklahoma to Oklahoma City. The Eastern Flyer was a proposed medium distance inter-city train travelling between Oklahoma City in central Oklahoma and Tulsa in northeastern Oklahoma. It was originally planned to be a private operation by the Iowa Pacific Railroad and its services were to have included a dome car, coaches and full meal service. This would have been the first regular passenger service to Tulsa since the Santa Fe discontinued service in 1971.

Initial commercial demonstration test trips were conducted in February 2014, running between Oklahoma City and the Tulsa suburb of Sapulpa with stops in Stroud and Bristow. In March 2015, service was estimated to begin in May or "early summer", with rail service from Sapulpa to Midwest City, with bus shuttles on each end. In June, Iowa Pacific said the start date would be further delayed, as both Oklahoma City and Tulsa considered 14easternflyerforts to facilitate rail service connecting the cities' downtowns.

This trip would be all new mileage so I purchased my ticket online, made my other hotel and flight arrangements and waited for the day to arrive. My morning started after a hot shower and a good breakfast, finding a review of my Miley Cryus concert I attended in both newspapers. I checked a few things on the Internet while I waited for Winston to pick me up and drive me to the John Wayne Airport. Once there, security was quick and I waited for my first of two flights of the day to get me to Oklahoma City.

Southwest Airlines Flight 2212 2/22/2014

The flight to Las Vegas was quick with the highlight being Afton Canyon on a very clear morning. I called home and learned the USA Olympic Men's Ice Hockey team lost 5-0 to Finland with two goals by the Anaheim Ducks' Teemu Selanne and one by Olli Matta of the Pittsburgh Penguins; he is only 19 years old and an excellent d14easternflyerenseman. I went from Gate C23 to C1 then called Let's Talk Trains while I waited for my next flight to Oklahoma City.

Southwest Airline Flight 642 2/22/2014

This flight was the longer of the two today. Flight highlights were seeing the Nevada State Railroad Museum train, Hoover Dam and the highway bridge, Lake Mead, the Grand Canyon and the Rio Grande River. We touched down in OKC at 3:30 PM and once off the plane, I found Dave Smetko and his friend Dwight's gate to meet them there. From there we acquired the rental car for the trip to Sapulpa.

The Road to Sapulpa 2/22/2014

It took 30 minutes at the Hertz Rental Car counter b14easternflyerore Dave could get our car after which l14easternflyert OKC Airport and made our way to the Interstate 44 Toll road which we took to Bristow but arrived there after dark. We found the old Frisco Railroad station and Dave stopped while I tried a little night photography here.

The Frisco station built in 1897 and Santa Fe caboose 999334, built by American Car and Foundry in 1929 as Santa Fe 1844, at Bristow. We took old 66 the rest of the way to Sapulpa and found a trolley and Frisco freighthouse that we would leave until the light of tomorrow. We drove to the Super 8 Motel in Sapulpa, checked in and had an excellent steak dinner at the next door Freddie's Bar-B-Que and Steak House. I would eat here again during the 2014 NRHS convention which would be in Springdale, Arkansas. I worked on the story and called it a night.

2/23/2014 I met Dave at 6:10 AM and we headed out to find the steam engine at the Route 66 Park here in Tulsa.

The display train in the Route 66 Park in Tulsa.

Frisco 4-8-4 4500 built by Baldwin in 1942 and powered the overnight Meteor passenger service from Oklahoma City via Tulsa to St. Louis. 4500 was retired in 1950 and towed to the Frisco Railroad shops in Springfield, Missouri, for a clean-up and re-paint. It was then donated to the City of Tulsa in 1954 and parked in Mohawk Park Zoo until 1991 when it was pulled to the Owasso, Oklahoma rail yard to be renovated. Renovation was slow with most of the work done on weekends by volunteers and it was not until 2011 that work was completed and it was moved to its current location.

Tulsa Sapulpa Union Railroad 6 double bedroom-lounge-solarium 4 "Murray Hill" built by Pullman in 1929 for the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad and the Pennsylvania Railway's "Federal Express" train. It was formerly located in Sand Springs as part of the Sunbelt Railroad Historical Society collection.

Cosden double-dome tank car built in 1917 which has been hand-painted and logos of the various oil companies related to Tulsa's rich history have been reproduced on the sides.

St. Louis-San Franciso caboose 1157 built by the railroad in 1938 as a boxcar and converted to a caboose in 1952. From here Dave and I drove back to the Super 8 to pick up Dwight then headed to the boarding site but made a few stops on the way to what we found last night on the way to the hotel.

Sapulpa Trolley and Rail Birney safety car 375 built by Wason Manufacturing in 1933. It operated as Tulsa Street Railway 375 from 1927 to 1929 then United Service Company 375 from 1929 to 1933 followed much later by Sapulpa Trolley & Rail 1997-present. It is nicknamed "Maggie M." and lettered Sapulpa Trolley & Rail.

Burlington Northern extended window caboose 12226 built by Pacific Car and Foundry in 1978. We drove over one street for the next picture.

LLRX NW2 133, ex. Sh14easternflyerfield Steel Corporation, exx. Port of Catoosa 100, exxx. Burlington Northern 556, nee Chicago, Burlington and Quincy 9405A built by Electro-Motive Division in 1949. From here it was four blocks and a right turn to our next destination.

The old Frisco freight house built in 1909 here in Sapulpa. We then drove to the boarding site of the Eastern Flyer.

The Eastern Flyer Trip 2/23/2014

Our train would leave from Milepost 436.

Webb Asset Management SD40-2 4137, ex. First Union Rail 7289, nee Burlington Northern 7289 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1980, lettered SLWC for Stillwater Central Railroad.

San Luis and Rio Grande bi-level coach 3009, nee Long Island Railroad coach 3009, buit by Tokyu Car in 1990.

San Luis and Rio Grande dining car 448, ex. SMLX 800448, exx. High Iron 448, exxx. Penn Central 4548, nee New York Central 448, built by Budd in 1947.

San Luis and Rio Grande dome-lounge 510, ex. Railroad Passenger Car Alliance 510 "Chulitna", exx. Auto Train 522, nee Santa Fe 510, built by Budd in 1954.

San Luis and Rio Grande 3310 "Pontchartrain Club", ex. PPCX 800174, exx. Illinois Central Gulf 15, exxx. Illinois Central 15, exxxx. Illinois Central parlour-observation car 3310 "Mark Beaubien", nee Illinois Central coach 2189 built by Pullman in 1916.

Webb Asset Management SD40-2 4140, ex. First Union Rail 8111, nee Burlington Northern 8111, built by Electro-Motive in 1980.

The rear of our train for today's trip.

One more view of the front of the train. I visited the tent to pick up my ticket then talked with both Bart and Sarah Jennings.

The Trip

Our trip today was a demonstration trip for future service between Tulsa and Oklahoma City. This was the route of the Frisco passenger trains The Fir14easternflyerly, Oklahoman and Will Rogers. We boarded the train with me choosing seat U38 in the rear part of SLRG 3009, and we departed right on time at 8:00 AM.

The crossing of Rock Creek at which time breakfast was served to our car of passengers.

The first of many ponds along our route today.

We ran by the dirt racing track west of Sapulpa.

Views of the Oklahoma countryside.

The first of the many small oil wells we would see today.

Trees without leaves let you have better views until Spring.

Bart and Sarah Jennings.

Polecat Creek.

Another view of the great state of Oklahoma.

Another oil well. We stopped into Bristow to pick up a few more passengers.

The Bristow Frisco station through the trees.

Frisco caboose 1157.

The old Frisco water tower here.

More of that great Oklahoma scenery.

Another pond along our route.

Little Deep Fork Creek.

More scenery on this trip.

Salt Creek.

More of that great Oklahoma scenery.

At Stroud we picked up our final passengers.

Oknoname 08111 Reservoir Overflow.

Captian Creek.

Down along the road.

Another small lake along our route.

Running through the countryside.

The rich red soil which Oklahoma is known for.

Wildhorse Creek.

More ponds along our route.

Views along Wildhorse Creek.

Down at the end of the road.

Fields beginning their spring activities early.

Trees along a property line.

My train ticket for our trip today.

North Canadian River.

Coming into Jones.

The Jones Lake Park.

A fire had burnt through a large area along our route west of Jones.

Another Oklahoma scene.

The above ground dump with a lake in front of it.

Nearing the unloading location. Once we crossed the old Rock Island Line we pulled into a siding to waiting buses.

The passengers would board buses either for Bricktown, the Oklahoma Thunder/LA Clippers game or the Cowboy Museum. The three of us, as well as Bart Jennings, were allowed to stay on board the rest of the way to the yard, 3.1 miles further west.

We started on our way to the yard.

A small creek was crossed.

Downtown Oklahoma City came into view as we neared the yard and after arriving, we detrained for a few pictures.

Our train and the Oklahoma City station sign.

The west end of our train.

WAMX SD40-2 4137.

WAMX SD40-2 4137 and friends in Oklahoma City.

WAMX SD40-2 4140 on the east end of the train.

The east end of our train that will take us back to Sapulpa. I finished the story to this point and then relaxed, only taking a few pictures on the return trip.

WAMX SD40-2 4142, ex. First Union Rail 8127, nee Burlington Northern 8127, built by Electro-Motive Division in 1980. After this picture we headed east back to our boarding location then the buses started returning and we were called into the dining room for dinner.

The cover of the Dinner Menu. Everyone had the Classic French Chicken with a chocolate mousse for dessert.

Santa Fe dorm-lounge 1342 built by Pullman-Standard in 1950 which later became Amtrak 3393 on display in Luther. I relaxed the rest of the way back to Sapulpa and really enjoyed the trip on the Eastern Flyer over the rails of the Stillwater Central. It had been a great trip today.

The Trip Home

We stopped by a petrol station for goodies b14easternflyerore driving back to Oklahoma City as we were staying near the airport.

2/24/2014 The next morning I was up at 4:30 AM and Dave drove me over to the airport. I went through security and changed into my work clothes then boarded Southwest Airlines Flight 2238 to Phoenix then took Southwest Airlines Flight 1247 home to Santa Ana. Winston picked me up and dropped me off at work where I finished my day. I walked home, thus ending a great trip to ride the Eastern Flyer.

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