RI Could The Choctaw Route Survive As A Regional Today?

TGIrwy Jun 30, 2020

  1. TGIrwy

    TGIrwy New Member

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    I hope this is the appropriate place for this thread...

    Looking at the success of so many regional railroads today, do you guys think The Rock’s old “Choctaw Route” would make it as a Class II today if the unused portions hadn’t been allowed to deteriorate to their current conditions? It seems there are quite a few miles of the route that are still making money for various operators. On the other hand, I’ve read that much of the western portions of the line went through some very remote country that would probably offer little revenue today. How is the terrain where it crosses the Arkansas/Oklahoma state line? I know much of that area is pretty mountainous, and I wonder how well the “Choctaw” was engineered through that location. Had the “Choctaw” survived as a regional, it would put it in size similar to Montana Rail Link; Rapid City, Pierre & Eastern; etc.

    What kind of traffic do you think would primarily exist if it were a Class II? Lots of grain I’d bet. Maybe even some regional intermodal between Memphis and Oklahoma City?

    It’s fun to speculate.
     
    gmorider likes this.
  2. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    An interesting question. How much of it is still there today?

    Aside from Memphis and Little Rock, no major metropolis on the line. Toward the west end of that map, El Reno, where as I recall history there was a yard, busy at one time interchanging with the north-south CRI&G.

    Commodities, surely agriculture such as grains and ethanol. Is/was there any petro-chemical activity out in Oklahoma? I wonder if any sort of industry list/reciprocal switching book exists for the last decade or two of the RI?
     
  3. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    I think Oklahoma City counts as major metropolitan, and am slow to discount Amarillo. Yes, there is major agriculture and shale oil production. Opportunities to interchange are numerous.

    Through traffic is also possible. But is it likely? Some of the hottest freights in the world operate through Memphis and Amarillo, but they run through Springfield, MO, Tulsa, and Avard, OK where they join the old Santa Fe main. That route is longer, but crosses the north end of the Ozarks, which is easier. It's also BNSF all the way. The UP, likewise, has old MoPac routes to funnel traffic from Memphis to their Rio Grande and SP routes with sufficient efficiency. So as attractive as it looks for direct through traffic, it's unlikely to be used that way.

    The Kiamichi does all right, but not so well that it's begging for relief from some of its traffic. Nonetheless, that route does compete with it, as the AOK between Howe and McAlester and the UP to OKC. Like so much of the old Rock Island, the Choctaw is useful, but it has plenty of stiff competition.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020
    Hardcoaler likes this.
  4. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Sorry I missed OKC. My senior vision does not read small map details as well as younger folks.
     
  5. gmorider

    gmorider TrainBoard Member

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    Yes.
     
  6. ddm502001

    ddm502001 TrainBoard Member

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    Did a little Google Earth reviewing where much of the line Shawnee OK West is still in use, roadbed back into McAlester can be found but is pretty well non restorable, cutting into Arkansas it all but disappears.
     

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