St. Louis–San Francisco Railway

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) 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.[2] Despite its name, it never came close to San Francisco.

St. Louis–San Francisco Railway
St. Louis and San Francisco Railway Logo, October 1940.png
St. Louis-San Francisco Railway system map (1918).svg
Frisco system as of 1918; the Fort Worth and Rio Grande in central Texas was sold to the Santa Fe Railway in 1937
HeadquartersSpringfield, Missouri[1]
Reporting markSLSF
LocaleAlabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas
Dates of operation1876–1980
SuccessorBurlington Northern
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge


Preserved wooden caboose on display in Missouri
Preserved Railway Express Agency car, along with Kiamichi EMD F7 slug No. SL1, at the Frisco Depot Museum in Hugo, Oklahoma

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. This land grant line was one of two railroads (the other being the M-K-T) authorized to build across Indian Territory. The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, interested in the A&P right of way across the Mojave Desert to California, took the road over until the larger road went bankrupt in 1893; the receivers retained the western right of way but divested the ATSF of the St. Louis-San Francisco mileage on the great plains. After bankruptcy the Frisco emerged as the St. Louis and San Francisco Railroad, incorporated on June 29, 1896,[3][4] 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, terminating more than 1,000 miles (1,600 km) from San Francisco.

The St. Louis–San Francisco Railway had two main lines: St. LouisTulsaOklahoma City-Floydada, Texas and Kansas CityMemphisBirmingham. The junction of the two lines was in Springfield, Missouri, home to the company's main shop facility and headquarters. Other lines included:

From March 1917, through January 1959, the Frisco, in a joint venture with the Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad, operated the Texas Special. This luxurious train, a streamliner from 1947, ran from St. Louis to Dallas, Texas, Ft. Worth, Texas, and San Antonio, Texas.

The Frisco merged into the Burlington Northern Railroad on November 21, 1980.[2]

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[5][6] (giving rise to Frisco High School's mascot, the Fighting Raccoons).

Passenger trainsEdit

The Sunnyland at Birmingham Alabama's Union Station on April 15, 1963

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

  • Black Gold (Tulsa–Dallas/Fort Worth overnight)
  • Firefly (Kansas City–Tulsa, originally on to Oklahoma City)
  • General Wood (Originally between St. Louis and Springfield, Missouri from May 1941; truncated in June 1942 to service between St. Louis and Newburg, Missouri; and, discontinued entirely in the fall of 1946.)[7]
  • Kansas City–Florida Special (Kansas City–Jacksonville)
  • Memphian (St. Louis–Memphis)
  • Meteor (St. Louis–Tulsa-Oklahoma City by night with connecting train Monett-Fort Smith-Paris, TX)
  • Oil Fields Special (Tulsa–Dallas/Ft. Worth by day)
  • Oklahoman (Once connected Kansas City–Tulsa but was later rerouted between St. Louis–Oklahoma City.)
  • Southland (Kansas City–Birmingham) (truncated successor to the Kansas City–Florida Special)
  • Sunnyland (Kansas City/St. Louis–Atlanta/Pensacola/New Orleans)
  • Texas Flash (Tulsa-Sherman-Dallas by day)
  • Texas Special (St. Louis-San Antonio)
  • Will Rogers (St. Louis–Oklahoma City/Wichita by day)
  • "Chadwick Flyer" (Branch line from Springfield to Chadwick, Missouri)

Former Frisco lines todayEdit

1899 poster showing a boy and a girl in a SLSF waiting room

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
  • Fredonia, Kansas to Cherryvale, Kansas to Columbus, Kansas: Operated by South Kansas and Oklahoma Railroad
  • Cherokee, Kansas to Pittsburg, Kansas: Operated by South Kansas and Oklahoma Railroad
  • Fredonia, Kansas to Ellsworth, Kansas: Abandoned
  • Cherokee, Kansas to Cherryvale, Kansas: Abandoned
  • Monett, Missouri to Fort Smith, Arkansas: Operated by Arkansas and Missouri Railroad
  • Lakeside, Oklahoma to Hope, Arkansas: Operated by Kiamichi Railroad (Genesee & Wyoming Inc.)
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma (Sapulpa) to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: Operated by Stillwater Central Railroad
  • Oklahoma City to Snyder, Oklahoma: Operated by Stillwater Central Railroad
  • 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)(two routes): 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

Surviving equipmentEdit

Steam locomotivesEdit

Diesel locomotivesEdit


The following companies were predecessors of the Frisco:

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


Frisco 1522 has been preserved and restored. In this picture the locomotive is sitting in Arkansas City, Kansas.

The following railroads were acquired or merged into the Frisco:

Asset absorptionsEdit

The following is a list of partial or full asset absorptions, many times through bankruptcy courts or creditors. In some cases the Frisco was a creditor. Assets can include mineral rights, property, track and right of way, trains, bonds, mortgages, etc.

Frisco 1621 on display at the Museum of Transportation outside St. Louis, Missouri

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Patrick Hiatte, Springfield, Missouri: The Heart of the Frisco, 1955, Trains magazine, December 2003
  2. ^ a b "About the Frisco Railroad". Retrieved March 6, 2020.
  3. ^ "History of the Frisco". Springfield, Missouri: Springfield-Greene County Library District.
  4. ^ "Corporate History: St. Louis – San Francisco Railway Company". The Truman Area Community Network. Henry County Library. June 2, 2008. Archived from the original on July 22, 2012.
  5. ^ "FRISCO INTERNATIONAL WIDE VISION CABOOSE #239". Canadian Model Trains Inc. March 12, 2009. Retrieved 2012-03-18.
  6. ^ "'100 Years of Service'". Frisco Veterans' Reunion via Springfield-Greene County Library. Retrieved 2012-03-18.
  7. ^ "Building the Railroad to Fort Leonard Wood" (PDF). Old Settlers Gazette. Retrieved February 12, 2019.
  8. ^ "1910 Steam Locomotive". Frisco Heritage Association. Retrieved February 26, 2020.
  9. ^ a b Archived 2017-06-11 at the Wayback Machine, Retrieved 6-11-15.
  10. ^ "Collierville's Resident Steam Engine Gets Its Own Special Day". Town of Collierville. Retrieved February 8, 2020.
  11. ^ Frisco 1352
  12. ^ "SLSF 1350 #1355". Retrieved February 26, 2020.
  13. ^ "Frisco Railroad". Retrieved February 8, 2020.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h "1501". Retrieved February 26, 2020.
  15. ^ "Railroad Museum of Oklahoma, On Track for Railroad History!". Railroad Museum of Oklahoma. Retrieved February 8, 2020.
  16. ^ "Railroad Museum of Oklahoma". Retrieved February 8, 2020.
  17. ^ a b c "The Frisco Park Steam Engine". City of Amory, Mississippi. Retrieved February 8, 2020.
  18. ^ "1926 St. Louis-San Francisco Railway #1522 Locomotive (Frisco)". The National Museum of Transportation. Retrieved February 8, 2020.
  19. ^ "Frisco 1526 (photo)". Museum of the Great Plains. Retrieved February 8, 2020.
  20. ^ "A Walk in the Park- Langan Park, aka Municipal Park, Mobile, AL". Retrieved February 8, 2020.
  21. ^ a b "SLSF #1615". Retrieved March 4, 2020.
  22. ^ "Eagle-Picher St. Louis-San Francisco Railway #1621". The National Museum of Transportation. Retrieved February 8, 2020.
  23. ^ a b Railroad, Museum of the American. "Steam Locomotives".
  24. ^ "Frisco 1630's 100th birthday Celebration September 15th". Illinois Railway Museum. Retrieved February 8, 2020.
  25. ^ "St Louis-San Francisco RR No. 4018". Retrieved February 8, 2020.
  26. ^ a b c d e "St. Louis - San Francisco Railway Company ("Frisco") 4501". Museum of the American Railroad. Retrieved February 9, 2020.
  27. ^ "Route 66 Historical Village". Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  28. ^ "Old Smokie, Frisco Engine 4516, Sedalia, Missouri". Retrieved September 29, 2019.
  29. ^ "Railroad Historical Museum". Springfield-Greene County Park Board. Retrieved September 29, 2019.
  30. ^ a b "OKRX 814 – EMD F9A". Oklahoma Railway Museum. Retrieved February 28, 2020.
  31. ^ "St Louis - San Francisco (Frisco) All-Time Diesel Roster". The Diesel Shop. Retrieved February 28, 2020.

External linksEdit