Facebook Page

Southern Kansas & Oklahoma Railroad 4/24/2010

by Chris Guenzler

I found the Excursion Train and parked my car only later having to move it to a street.

SKOL 4123 would be on the east end of our train.

RDC Kaleigh Ann SFKR 9201.

RDC Afton Leigh SFKR 9202.

RDC Fallyne Marie SFKR 9203.

Two views of RDC Fallyne Marie SFKR 9203. The SKOL 4135 would be on the west end of our train. I called Lets Talk Trains and found Randy Jackson and his loving wife.

A mural on this building across the street from the tracks.

Gambino's Pizza is located in the former Winfield, Kansas Main Street Santa Fe Station.

A Brief History

The Southern Kansas & Oklahoma Railroad operates over 511 miles of former Santa Fe Railroad and Missouri Pacific Railroad tracks. These lines include: Cherryvale to Oxford, Cherryvale to Sherwin to Liberal, MO., Cherryvale to Coffeyville, Sherwin to Columbus, KS., Owasso to Catoosa, OK. and Tulsa, OK. to Oxford, KS. The railroad traffic base includes grain, grain products, cement, chemicals, steel and plastic. In July 2000, WATCO merged two short lines, Southeast Kansas Railroad Company and South Kansas & Oklahoma Railroad Company with the SKOL being the surviving shortline. The SEKR started service in 1987 with the line purchased from the MP from Coffeyville to Nashua Jct. This line was built in the 1880's. The only active former SEKR Sherwin to Liberal, MO. with all other former Missouri Pacific lines abandoned. In 1990 the SKOL was formed when it purchased 287 miles of rail lines from the Santa Fe. The SKOL current lines consist of: The Humboldt Line built by the Southern Kansas Railway in the late 1870's; The SKRY leased to the Santa Fe before the turn of the century; The Tulsa Line, completed in 1905; The Oxford Line, completed in the 1880's; and the Tulsa Port Authority Branch, completed in 1968. The Santa Fe Railroad sold the line to the SKOL on December 28, 1990.

The Trip

Our train backed to the loading area.

After it had cleared the switch it pulled forward where we all boarded. After they went through the trip rules and our train received its orders we departed Winfield.

We departed Winfield heading out of town passed the homes along our route.

Union Cemetery.

An interesting tree.

Out into the open landscape with trees and fields.

Looking down an open road, Route 18.

You point the camera at a stream and you get this image.

The difference between planted and unplanted fields.

Always keeping one eye on the sky.

Cattle pens.

Rolled hay.

The train begins its trip through the Flint Hills.

I have always liked how trees adapt to their surroundings.

The train crossed this stream before we reached New Salem.

Train chasers Kansas style.

Unique views along our route.

The train crossed another stream.

A little pond along our route before we reached Burden.

Views along our route before Cambridge.

I enjoyed not only the countryside but also the clouds.

The clouds are a building on a beautiful Spring afternoon.

Views at Cambridge.

Climbing the 1.4% grade to Grand Summit.

We start out trip down from Grand Summit.

Rock structure in the Flint Hills.

Another small pond along our route.

The Flint Hills have their own beauty.

The Santa Fe built arch bridges across many of these streams.

Due to many slow orders east of Grenola, eastbound trip ended here instead of Moline. This building has a nice mural painted on it. Here our engineer would switch ends and most of the passengers switched sides of the RDC for a different view coming back west.

Storefront in Grenola.

The former Santa Fe sign from Grenola as we started back to Winfield.

The flying saucer water tower in Grenola must had through the years have drunks late at night seeing it and calling the police.

Rocks and clouds in the Flint Hills.

Oil wells in the Flint Hills.

Cattle grazing along our route.

Grain elevator at Cambridge.

The Cambridge Cemetery.

Another stream.

A field with a line of rolled hay.

The sky was a building as we returned to Winflield. After I detrained I headed to the front of the train for a picture.

SKOL 4135 had powered our return to Winfield. It had been a wonderful trip aboard this passenger train ran by the Southern Kansas & Oklahoma Railroad.

The Drive back to Parsons

Back into my rental car I headed south down US Highway 77 to Arkansas City first stopping at KFC for a Chicken Breast Filet. Then I found why I came here.

The former Santa Fe Arkansas City Station. With a major storm super cell to the north I was glad to be going east on US Highway 166. At one point I called home and had my Mother check the Weather Channel to see if there was any severe weather in my neck of the woods. With the Mississippi Tornado at Yazoo City they were not concerned about any place else but she did see Kansas and nothing. That big storm to the north fizzled out and other than an occasional sprinkle I had a mostly dry drive back to Parsons.

Life is a highway!

I pulled off the highway for this picture of a rainbow that looked neat! My last stop of the day would be in Coffeyville.

Union Pacific 844 and train at Coffeyville, Kansas.

The beautiful UP 4-8-4 844.

Two more views of this wonderful steam engine, the UP 844. From Coffeyville I drove back north on US Highway 169 and then east to Parsons on US Highway 400 returning to the Best Western for the night. Tomorrow the chase of the UP 844 before I head back to La Plata.

Click here for Part 4 of this story