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Red River Railroad Museum and the Oklahoma Streetcar 5/23/2019

by Chris Guenzler

I got up at 3:30 AM, showered and had a good breakfast. Super Shuttle arrived at 4:50 AM and took me and a young woman to Orange County Airport. I went to security and was pulled out of the line after passing through for a more detailed inspection. After that I got a better boarding pass from the gate and now being A4 I would be at the front of the line. I boarded the plane and sat at a right had window seat in the second row. I enjoyed a Coca-Cola on this flight and read all of Utah Historicial Society Fall of 2017 Volume 25 Number 4 which I got in my gift bag from the NRHS. That made the flight pass quickly. I got off the plane at Love Field in Dallas then took the Hertz Van to their lot where I got a Nissan Alta for my use with toll lane features. I took the I 35E north to George W. Bush Toll Road to US 57 which took me to Dennison my first stop of the trip. The camera did not have a memory card inside of it so a quick trip to Osco Drugs got me a memory card for my camera and I was good to go.

Red River Railroad Museum Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad History

The Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad Company (M-K-T or Katy), the first railroad to enter Texas from the north, began its corporate existence in 1865, when its earliest predecessor, the Union Pacific Railway Company, Southern Branch, was chartered by the State of Kansas to build from Fort Riley, Kansas, to the state's southern boundary. Levi P. Morton, Levi Parsons, August Belmont, J. Pierpont Morgan, George Denison, and John D. Rockefeller became interested in the road after the federal government announced that right-of-way through Indian Territory and a liberal bonus of land would be given to the railroad that first reached the Territory's northern border. Texas was also interested in the project. In 1866 the first legislature after the Civil War passed a resolution recommending that Congress adopt means to insure the building of the Union Pacific, Southern Branch, through the state, as at that time none of Texas's railroads connected to those in other states. In 1870 the railway's name was changed to the Missouri, Kansas, and Texas Railway Company, a change which defined both the company's strategic intent and its service area. The newly named railroad was intended to funnel business from Missouri, Kansas, and the north and east to a new rail route across Indian Territory to and through Texas. The Katy, touted in advertisements as the Gateway to Texas, breached the Texas frontier near the site of present Denison, where the first regular train arrived on Christmas Day, 1872. However, no land in Indian Territory except the right-of-way was given the road; the courts held that Congress had exceeded its authority in granting to the railroads land that belonged to the Indians. Its promoters hoped to drive the road on to the Rio Grande and even into Mexico. The Katy did eventually expand operations in Texas to serve Dallas, Fort Worth, Waco, San Antonio, Houston, Galveston, and Wichita Falls. The company had no charter to build in Texas, but the one granted by Kansas was approved by the Texas legislature on August 2, 1870. In a series of rather unusual concessions by the Texas legislature to the railroad, the road was not required to take out a Texas charter but was given the same rights as if it were incorporated in Texas. Similarly, although the Constitution of 1869 prohibited land grants to railroads, the legislature did provide that the incoming road be exempted from taxation for two years if it built fifty miles in Texas within three years and reached the Colorado River near Austin in six years. The Missouri, Kansas, and Texas Railway Company did not become officially incorporated in Texas until 1891; until then it operated in the state under its own name or through various subsidiary companies. Ultimately the company did not receive any state land nor did it earn exemption from taxation as it did not build beyond Denison under its own charter until after 1882.

In 1880 the Katy was acquired by Jay Gould, who leased the railroad to his Missouri Pacific Railway Company in December of that year. However, during the Gould era the Missouri, Kansas and Texas continued to expand in Texas, reached Dallas, Fort Worth, and Waco, and made significant progress on a line to Houst/on and San Antonio. The railroad acquired several short lines, such as the Denison and Southeastern Railway Company and the Denison and Pacific Railway; upon their acquirement they were operated as the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Extension Railway Company, until they were merged with the parent company in November 1881. In that year Gould also transferred the Dallas and Wichita Railway Company to the Katy. By 1882 the Katy had 638 miles of trackage in Texas. In 1890 the Katy owned 849 miles in Texas in addition to the Gould controlled International and Great Northern, which it leased in 1881. However, in that year Attorney General James S. Hogg won his suit to cancel this lease as well as the Katy's right to operate in Texas as a foreign corporation. This resulted in the chartering of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway Company of Texas on October 28, 1891, to acquire all of the parent company's Texas properties with the exception of the International and Great Northern and the East Line and Red River Railroad Company. The Texas legislature approved the consolidation.

In 1895 the Missouri, Kansas, and Texas railroad reported passenger earnings of $1,200,000 and freight earnings of $3,000,000 and owned 133 locomotives and 163 cars. In 1896 two locomotives of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad took part in a spectacular publicity stunt, the Crash at Crush. In 1899 the legislature authorized the Katy to take over the old East Line and Red River, which was rechartered as the Sherman, Shreveport and Southern Railway Company. Included in the act was a provision that the line abide by the rates, rules, and regulations of the Railroad Commission until set aside by the courts. This provision has prevented the Katy from joining other Texas lines in attacks on the commission. Over the next several years the Katy continued its expansion in Texas; by January 1, 1904, the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway Company of Texas owned and operated 1,119.33 miles of rail in Texas. On May 1, 1914, the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway Company of Texas leased seven companies, including the 309-mile Texas Central Railroad Company. These leased lines gave the company over 1,600 miles of operated track in Texas.

In 1915 all of the Katy properties in and out of Texas went into receivership. C. E. Schaff, who had been president since 1912, was receiver. On April 1, 1923, the company was reorganized as Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad Company of Texas. During the reorganization some of the Katy's Texas lines were sold and certain leased lines were excluded as they did not strengthen the new company. After the cuts the Katy had 1,234.30 of owned and leased main line miles in Texas. In 1931 it reported passenger earnings of $1,722,000, freight earnings of $8,085,000 and other earnings of $1,542,000, and owned eighty-two locomotives and 1,000 cars. Though the road intermittently experienced financial difficulties, it not only opened a huge territory but contributed to the general well being of its service area by supplying economical and reliable freight and passenger service. Wheat flowed regularly from Katy lines in Oklahoma to Fort Worth, Houston, and Galveston, and oil rolled out of on-line patches in train-load lots. Passengers luxuriated aboard the Texas Special, the Bluebonnet, and the Katy Flyer.

After 1900 the Katy was intermittently prosperous. Revenues reached an all-time high during World War II, and the railroad continued to do well until the early 1950s, when factors including debts, equipment problems, and a severe drought in its Texas service area combined to drive the Katy towards near bankruptcy. Still, until recent times the Katy was ranked as an important regional carrier, but huge systems such as the Burlington Northern and the Union Pacific, after the merger of the Missouri Pacific and the Western Pacific, relegated the Katy, by comparison, into the status of a short line. Starting in the 1950s numerous cost-cutting measures were implemented. In 1954 and 1956 the Katy's six superintendent divisions were consolidated into two, one at Parsons, Kansas, and the other at Waco, Texas. On July 1, 1960, the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad Company of Texas was consolidated with the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad Company in order to cut costly duplication in the companies' two separate accounting and legal departments. Despite such pruning measures, the Katy's fortunes continued to decline. During his 1965-70 tenure as president of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas, John Walker Barriger III, a well-known advocate of railroad survival through mergers, tried unsuccessfully to find the Katy a merger partner. In 1967 it reported a net loss of over $10,000,000. Though in 1976 the Katy obtained a $19 million government guaranteed loan to repair deteriorating track ties, the railroad's fortunes otherwise continued to decline. In 1988 the Interstate Commerce Commission gave Union Pacific and its subsidiary, the Missouri Pacific Railroad Company, permission to buy the Katy. The ICC cited the Katy's ongoing financial problems as a major factor contributing to their permission for the sale and also noted that the sale would be in the public interest because it would improve rail efficiency. On December 1, 1989, the two companies merged, and the Missouri-Kansas-Texas was no more. The Missouri Pacific and Katy already had joint operations from Durand, Oklahoma, to San Marcos. Only a few miles of the Katy were abandoned as a result of the merger, and some of that trackage has been spun off to short line operators. Two subsidiaries of RailTex, the Dallas, Garland and Northeastern Railroad and the Texas Northeastern Railroad operate three segments of former Katy track in the Dallas and Denison area.

My Visit

I parked the rental car and started taking pictures.

MKT F7A 401B.

Across the tracks from the railroad display is the Dennison MKT station.

MKT caboose 141.

MKT caboose 1021.

Missouri Pacific caboose 13731.

ACFX tank car 488.

Unknown gondola car.

MKT tank car 6066.

Hand car building.

Equipment display.

MKT F7A 401B waits for a signal that will never come.

Equipment display.

MKT freighthouse.

Texas Heriage Marker North-South Railroad.

On to Oklahoma City

I took US 79 across the Red River into Oklahoma and stopped at the Welcome Center and picked up a state map. I took US 79 north to US 10 West then Interstate 35 north until I came to a blocked highway but I got off and took US 75 around the traffic mess to Interstate 35 again and made it to Oklahoma City where I parked at the library and walked over to buy my ticket to ride the Oklahoma City Streetcar. I waited at the Library stop for a train to arrive.

The Oklahoma City Streetcar

The Oklahoma City Streetcar, also known as the MAPS 3 streetcar, is a streetcar system in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States. The 4.8-mile system serves the greater downtown Oklahoma City area using modern, low-floor streetcars, the first of which was delivered in mid-February 2018. The initial system would see two lines that connect Oklahoma City's Central Business District with the entertainment district, Bricktown, and the Midtown District. Expansion to other districts surrounding downtown as well as more routes in the CBD is already underway.


The streetcar was first conceived in a 2005 regional transit study known as the Fixed Guideway Study. The concept lay dormant until local Oklahoma City businessman, inventor, and political activist Jeff Bezdek promoted the project to the Oklahoma City Council to be considered as part of Metropolitan Area Projects Plan 3 (MAPS 3) program. Bezdek launched a strategic campaign called the Modern Transit Project to generate public support for the initiative. Polling indicated that the streetcar plan had a majority of support from likely voters. The Oklahoma City Council incorporated the concept into the MAPS program.

The system is financed through MAPS 3, a sales tax-financed public works program. The initiative was approved in 2009 via a majority vote by the citizens of Oklahoma City.

On September 29, 2015, the Oklahoma City city council approved the awarding of a $22 million contract to Inekon, of the Czech Republic, for the purchase of five streetcars, as well as spare parts and training.[16] However, after Inekon failed to meet a one-month deadline for submitting required financial-guarantee information, project staff recommended switching to Brookville Equipment Corporation, another manufacturer that had also bid for the order. On November 10, the city council voted its approval for the staff to begin negotiations with Brookville for the streetcar contract. In March 2016, the city reached a final agreement with Brookville to purchase five streetcars, with an option for a sixth, at a cost of $24.9 million. The low-floor design is Brookville's "Liberty" model. In May 2016, the city council approved adding a sixth car to the order, and in February 2017 approved expanding the order to seven cars.

In December 2016, the city council awarded a $50 million contract for rail installation to builders Herzog and Stacy and Witbeck, with construction planned to begin in early 2017 and continue for about two years. The formal groundbreaking for the project took place on February 7, 2017. The project was expected to cost a total of $131.8 million in 2017, but this had increased to $136 million by 2018.

The first streetcar arrived on February 12, 2018 (and was unloaded onto the rails the following day),[24] and by March 12, three of the seven on order had arrived. Three different color schemes are used, with three cars in a "redbud" color, two in blue and two in green, along with white for a portion of each car. By the end of September 2018, six of the seven cars had been received.


Service commenced on the morning of December 14, 2018, followed by three days of city-funded celebrations. At a reported total installation price of $136 million, the cost was $29.6 million per mile (including purchase of the vehicles).

Service was free until February 1 (extended beyond an original plan for three weeks of free service, through January 4), to promote the new service. Embark began charging fares on February 2, 2019, the base fare being $1, with discounts for senior and disabled riders and with 24-hour and multi-day passes available.

At the time of the line's opening, it was tentatively planned that the line would not have regular Sunday service, and would operate only on Sundays when events were scheduled. However, Sunday service was scheduled for the system's first seven weeks, through late January, and Embark planned to monitor Sunday ridership during that time, to determine whether Sunday service should be made a permanent part of the schedule. In late January, Embark announced that Sunday ridership had been better than expected, and that consequently, Sunday service would resume on February 10 (after a one-weekend suspension) and be made a permanent part of the weekly schedule. Sunday service is scheduled to run from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. through the end of March and then expand to 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. starting April 7.


The streetcar system is one of the conventional type using steel rails embedded into city streets, with modern vehicles powered from overhead electric wires. The streetcars are planned to be in use with everyday traffic. Initially, five vehicles were slated to be ordered. A sixth car was slated to be purchased through MAPS 3 with options for six more vehicles beyond the initial purchase. The streetcar vehicles was required to operate wirelessly for several hundred feet under the existing Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway bridges that separate downtown Oklahoma City central business district from the Bricktown entertainment district.


The city has contracted with Herzog Transit Services to operate the line and provide day-to-day maintenance. The system has two routes, with the 4.8-mile Downtown Loop covering the full line and the shorter Bricktown Loop covering a 2-mile portion of the line, in the Bricktown district.


Service is provided seven days a week on the Downtown Loop, while the Bricktown Loop operates only on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Hours of operation are 6 a.m. (7 a.m. Saturdays) to midnight Monday to Saturday, extended to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays. Streetcars operate on a headway of 15 to 18 minutes.


The fare is $1, or $0.50 for seniors at least 65 or disabled or Medicare via Embark ID card, and all riders need a ticket. 30/7/1-day passes are available via ticket vending machines at stops. Children under 7 are free with a fare-paying rider; limit three.

My Ride

This entire trip would be new rail mileage.

The streetcar came into the Library stop and picked me up.

The inside of the Oklahoma Streetcar. The streetcar would stop at or bypass" Transit Center, Federal Courthouse, Broadway Avenue, Automobile Alley, Art Park, North Hudson, Dewey Avenue, Midtown, NW 10th Street, Law School, Memorial Museum, Business District, Century Center, Bricktown, Mickey Mantle, East Bricktown, Ballpark, Santa Fe Hub, Arena, Scissotail Park, and Myriad Gardens before returning me to Library.

Downtown Oklahoma City.

Route map inside the streetcar.

View of Midtown Oklahoma City.

View of the Oklahoma City skyline.

The streetcar has a display that tells you the next station.

The Oklahoma City skyline.

The Midtown Plaza Court.

The Oklahoma City skyline.

The Heartland Chapel.

The Santa Fe Oklahoma Station used by the Heartland Flyer Amtrak train.

The Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark opened in 1998 as home of the Oklahoma City Dodgers.

The Oklahoma City skyline.

The Bricktown water tower.

The Santa Fe Oklahoma Station.

The Oklahoma City skyline.

Chesapeake Energy Arena home of the Oklahoma Thunder NBA team and tonight's Ariana Grande Concert Tour.

The Oklahoma City skyline.

Chesapeake Energy Arena

My final picture of The Oklahoma City Streetcar. I made my way to Interstate 235 which took me to US 77 north which I exited at Hefner Lane and turn left onto May Avenue, taking me to my dear friend Bonnie Isbill's apartment. We visited for a few minutes then Bonnie, Leanne and I went to the Longhorn Steakhouse for dinner where I had a flat iron steak. Back at Bonnie's I showed her my OCRHS Utah trip which she enjoyed. I went to bed on her couch and slept like a log.