ATSF Anyone Know Anything About OU/Texas Football Specials?

acptulsa Jan 1, 2019

  1. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

    I was having a fine time browsing Mike Condren's fascinating page when I stumbled on this page:

    Now I'm caught in the throes of confusion! Help!

    That lower pic is a Kansas, Oklahoma & Gulf/Midland Valley switcher crossing the MV bridge. The Midland Valley in Tulsa passed through on the way from Muskogee to points north (Wichita was the intended terminus, but it reached no farther than Barnsdall, OK. in my lifetime). It connected with the Santa Fe in downtown Tulsa, where the two roads shared a crossing over the Frisco. The KO&G and the MV were related, so this switcher appearing on this bridge is no surprise.

    What is a surprise (shocking, even) is that it's hauling a few examples of the pride of the Santa Fe passenger fleet--Hi-Level coaches and a Top of the Cap lounge! What in the Sam Hill are these cars doing on that bridge?!

    Until now, I only knew of two uses of Hi-Level coaches in Oklahoma. The San Francisco Chief carried a couple through Waynoka in far western Oklahoma on its daily service over the freight route through Amarillo. That train used Big Domes, not the Top of the Cap. And every fall the Santa Fe ran a special to the OU-Texas football game at the Cotton Bowl. That train definitely did use Hi-Levels, as it was popular and that was slack season for the El Capitan. I've never seen a photo of a Top of the Cap on that train. Neither the Tulsan nor the Oil Flyer rated Hi-Levels.

    There isn't much on the west side of that bridge. The Midland Valley served a refinery, passed through old Red Fork and its industrial area, the MV's own little yard, then wandered east-southeast to Muskogee running parallel to an M-K-T line. Near the refinery, it connected with the Tulsa-Sapulpa Union, a light rail interurban running parallel to the Frisco.

    So what are these cars doing there? I don't know of any major car shops in the area. That has always been an area where many industrial heat exchangers are made, but I don't see Santa Fe steam injector air conditioning using oil field heat exchangers. If the Santa Fe were exhibiting their neat new equipment, why would they do it in an off-line industry in a not-so-pretty part of town when they had a freight house (a former and future passenger station) right in downtown?

    Could it have something to do with a football special? I assumed those originated in Norman or Oklahoma City, or maybe farther north like Guthrie. If they ran out of Tulsa, they'd have to have run over the Frisco out of Sapulpa, so why wouldn't they cross the river on the Frisco's own bridge?

    I'm starting the new year in shock! How could this have happened? Help!
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2019

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