OK Historic Train Depots & Sites

Ada, OK, United States; Antlers, OK, United States; Ardmore, OK, United States; Bartlesville, OK, United States; Blackwell, OK, United States; Boise City, OK, United States; Bristow, OK, United States; Checotah, OK, United States; Chickasha, OK, United States; Cushing, OK, United States; Davis, OK, United States; Sulphur, OK, United States; El Reno, OK, United States; Enid, OK, United States; Guthrie, OK, United States; Idabel, OK, United States; Elk City, OK, United States; Muskogee, OK, United States; Norman, OK, United States; Oklahoma City, OK, United States; Pauls Valley, OK, United States; Pawhuska, OK, United States; Ponca City, OK, United States; Sayre, OK, United States; Shawnee, OK, United States; Stillwater, OK, United States; Stilwell, OK, United States; Tulsa, OK, United States; Waynoka, OK, United States; Yukon, OK, United States; Arkoma, OK, United States; Drumright, OK, United States
Est. 6,286.8km / 5 days

OK Historic Train Depots & Sites - Cya On The Road

This guide presents a partial list of historic and a few current passenger train depots across the state that exist in Oklahoma. The majority of them have been taken over by local historical societies and/or chambers of commerce. The only passenger train service operating in Oklahoma today is the Amtrak Heartland Flyer servicing OKC, Norman, Purcell, Pauls Valley, and Ardmore within Oklahoma.BackgroundThe arrival of the railroad to Oklahoma in 1886 rapidly pushed Oklahoma into an era of new settlement, statehood, and the dissolution of the Native American sovereign nations that had been removed to Indian Terrority up to that time.This era started with the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway (Frisco) in 1886–87 by building a line from Arkansas across the southeastern corner of Oklahoma into Texas. Next came the north-south line of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe, opened in 1887 and running partly through the Unassigned Lands past Guthrie and to the future Oklahoma City. The Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific crept slowly south from Kansas toward El Reno, especially after the opening of the Unassigned Lands in 1889, and reached the Red River in 1892. Most of these lines followed old, established trade routes or cattle trails such as the Texas Road and the Chisholm Trail.In the 1890s other main lines, such as the Kansas City, Pittsburg and Gulf (later Kansas City Southern) passed through the Twin Territories. A few local branches were also built, but the Panic of 1893 put a temporary stop to most railroad construction. European (Dutch, German, British) investors were instrumental in the financing of most of these railroad companies. In the later regional development of Oklahoma, both in railroads and in oil, foreign capital continued to play an important role. The great boom in railroad building only started circa 1897 when regional companies, generally sponsored by the existing mainline companies, started new construction. Between 1897 and 1907 Oklahoma was covered with a dense network of branches, often paralleling each other. Every company tried hard to get its share of the wealth, which led to a lot of over-construction. However, the gradual opening of the land to settlers from elsewhere, huge growth in agriculture (wheat) and the discovery of oil in several places mandated regional transportation. From a mere 289 miles in 1880, the Oklahoma network had grown to 6,572 miles by 1920. But it is illustrative of the overbuilding that, of all railroads abandoned in the state before 1940, a full 75 percent had been built between 1897 and 1907.More branches were being built into the oil fields, as these were successively discovered and developed, some as late as the 1920s. Even later, in the late 1930s the Santa Fe constructed lines in the Oklahoma Panhandle, chiefly for tapping the wheat-growing districts there. However, decline began with the advent of road transportation, followed by the Great Depression. Many lines, and some that should never have been built, were abandoned. World War II saw a brief growth with the establishment of military bases, renewed working of oil and coal reserves, and the curtailing of road traffic through gasoline rationing.However, after the end of the war, Americans turned again to the private automobile, and passenger trains were soon abolished all over the state. In the 1950s and 1960s many branch lines were abandoned and lifted when even revenues from freight were insufficient to maintain the track structure. Apart from local and regional passenger trains, some prestigious name trains either passed through or had their destination in Oklahoma. Early 20th century passenger train companies merged and then closed. In 1971; Amtrak assumed all long-distance passenger trains in the country. Lack of patronage caused its discontinuance in 1979, making Oklahoma one of the few states without passenger train service.This situation lasted until 1999 when Amtrak introduced a daily run from Oklahoma City to Dallas over the Santa Fe line through Purcell and Pauls Valley.Source: https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=RA004

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