Frisco Run-Through Operations

Discussion in 'Freight Operations' started by Gabriel G., Apr 12, 2021.

  1. Gabriel G.

    Gabriel G. Member

    As the topic of run-throughs and pooled power has come up several times in various threads, I thought it would be a good idea if we had a thread dedicated exclusively to the topic of run-throughs and pooled power. I have compiled a brief list of railroads the Frisco operated run-through trains with, along with their accompanying symbols.

    Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe:
    CTB (Clovis-Tulsa-Birmingham; San Francisco/Los Angeles-Birmingham), QLA (Quanah-Los Angeles; Richmond-San Francisco/Los Angeles), QSF (Quanah-San Francisco; Tulsa-Barstow), 666 (Barstow-Tulsa)

    Union Pacific: FSE (Florida South East; Seattle-Miami), FSE-2 (Second Florida South East; Seattle-Memphis), NWF (North West Forwarder; Memphis-Seattle), KCX (Kansas City Express; Jacksonville-North Platte)

    Burlington Northern: 131 (Portland-Hamlet)

    Seaboard Coast Line: QLA (Quanah-Los Angeles; Richmond-San Francisco/Los Angeles), FSE (Florida South East; Seattle-Miami), KCX (Kansas City Express; Jacksonville-North Platte), 131 (Portland-Hamlet)

    While these were the only run-throughs I was able to find listed in the 1975 and 1980 operating data sheets, it is possible the Frisco also operated run-throughs and/or pooled power with the following railroads as well.

    Southern Pacific: Until the Burlington Northern merger, the Southern Pacific was Frisco's primary connection to the Texas Gulf Coast. According to the 1975 and 1980 operating data sheets, Frisco operated three trains to Sherman. These were the 430 (Sherman-Tulsa), 530 (Tulsa-Sherman) and 531 (Tulsa-Sherman). The Frisco also operated 33 (Texas Special; St. Louis-Irving), which seemed to be dedicated exclusively to Espee traffic. All four of these trains connected to Espee trains either originating or terminating at Espee's Englewood Yard in Houston. Photographic evidence confirms Espee power was known to operate into Cherokee Yard on occasion, though there is no comparable photographic evidence of Frisco power making its way down to Englewood Yard.

    New York Central/Pennsylvania/Penn Central/Conrail: During the mid-1960s, the New York Central inaugurated run-through service with Frisco competitors MoPac and Cotton Belt from North Little Rock and Pine Bluff to its Big Four Yard in Indianapolis. The Pennsylvania followed suit shortly thereafter, beginning run-through service with MoPac and Cotton Belt from North Little Rock and Pine Bluff to Conway. MoPac and Cotton Belt continued operating these run-through trains with Penn Central and Conrail. To my knowledge, the Frisco never operated comparable run-through trains with the New York Central, Pennsylvania, Penn Central or Conrail. However, operating data sheets published in 1980 list train 30 (Oklahoma City-St. Louis) as handling tonnage from Tulsa bound for Conrail at St. Louis.

    Southern: Southern locomotives were known to operate on Frisco lines from time to time, though in general, it seems as though the Southern preferred MoPac over Frisco. According to a 1979 Southern freight schedule, Southern 154 (Birmingham-Potomac Yard) received traffic from the Frisco at Birmingham and Southern 173 (Potomac Yard-Memphis) handled traffic bound for the Frisco at Kansas City and Memphis.

    Norfolk & Western: A 1973 Norfolk & Western freight schedule lists train DS-11 (Detroit-St. Louis 11) as a run-through with the Frisco, connecting to Frisco trains 37 (St. Louis-Tulsa) and 437 (St. Louis-Fort Worth). Operating data sheets list train 34 (Fort Worth-St. Louis) as handling tonnage from Tulsa bound for the Norfolk & Western at St. Louis. It is unknown if Norfolk & Western power ever operated on Frisco rails, though it has been confirmed Frisco and Norfolk & Western locomotives mingled while in pool service on the Union Pacific.

    Missouri Pacific: The 1980 operating data sheets list trains 38 (Fort Worth-Kansas City) and 39 (Kansas City-Fort Worth) as originating and terminating at MoPac's Centennial Yard in Fort Worth. There is ample photographic evidence of MoPac power on Frisco rails and I've found at least one source that says MoPac and Frisco pooled power.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 18, 2021
  2. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    Thank you for putting this together. I've been looking for a good summary like this for a long time.
  3. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    In the early 80's, one would see MoPac power and Frisco power tied together on the coal train that came across from Thebes northbound to the Rush Island power plant. There was a makeshift re-fueling area in the Frisco yard tracks in Cape. Unfortunately, I did not take any pictures of such.
  4. Gabriel G.

    Gabriel G. Member

    No problem. Run-throughs and motive power pools have always been an interest of mine, especially in the pre-megamerger era. This list is far from complete and I would appreciate other people's input to improve its accuracy.

    In a sense, they were operating on home rails since the bridge at Thebes had been built by the Frisco to connect with the Chicago & Eastern Illinois back when the C&EI was part of the Frisco system. Given that MoPac eventually acquired both the Chicago & Eastern Illinois and the Gulf Coast Lines, it could be argued MoPac was the main beneficiary of the collapse of Yoakum's empire earlier in the century. I'm sure Frisco wishes they'd kept both given how profitable they were for MoPac.
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  5. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    I would like to add to the list. Two trains that weren't in the regular schedule, but I have found discussion on in the forums.

    UPL. Union Pacific run through coal trains to Rush Tower. See discussion here:

    ATL. Santa Fe run through coal trains to Rush Tower. See discussion here:

    Anyone know of other coal train activity before the merger? I've looked before, and at least one of the power plants in Alabama that BNSF now serves came online in 1978, I've wondered if between 78 and 80 the Frisco had delivered any coal traffic down there from ATSF, UP or even the BN or DRGW.
  6. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    I would like to know more about UP train KCX and BN train 131.

    For starters, here is a Norther Division 1979 ETT that I will be referencing in this post.

    131 from the BN is listed Portland - Hamlet. I'm assuming that's Hamlet, NC on the SCL, right? Anyone know if BN and or SCL units ran through with this train in Frisco territory? Also, 131 is just one direction, shouldn't there be a return train listed? Looking at the Northern Division ETT from 1979, 134 would fit the description for this assignment, I'll explain my thinking on that below.

    KCX from the UP is like the 131 from the BN, there's no return train listed. Looking at the same ETT, train 135 would best fit for this assignment.

    I am basing my guess on trains 134/135 process of elimination. The Ash Grove sub listed 8 daily trains total. The NWF/FSE as discussed already. The 61/62 which handles traffic between Kansas City and Springfield, 131 and KCX as discussed above, and 134/135 which I don't have information on yet. The other interesting note is that 131 is south bound and KCX is north bound.

    Additional info would be greatly appreciated.
  7. Gabriel G.

    Gabriel G. Member

    Ethan, most of the D&RGW's eastbound coal traffic traveled over MoPac or BN (C&S/FW&D) rails. MoPac even had a fleet of SD40-2s fitted with dynamic brakes and Gyralites for use in coal service with the D&RGW.
  8. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    More questions that I have: what kind of traffic made up these run through trains (typically)?

    I found some discussion about the QLA here:,4273965
    Summary: the QLA/CTB were originally made up entirely of various goods loaded into box cars that would be unloaded for distribution at their destination. Overtime, the traffic was changed to TOFC and Containers. Any idea if the NWF/FSE were a similar arrangement?

    Anyone have info on what kind of traffic made up the QSF/666, KCX and 131 trains?
  9. Gabriel G.

    Gabriel G. Member

    Ethan, I know FSE and FSE-2 handled Pacific Fruit Express traffic bound for points in the Southeast. Both trains also carried lumber from the Pacific Northwest.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 13, 2021
  10. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    Great. Luckily, I picked up a couple PFE cars recently so now I know for sure where to assign them to.
  11. tferk

    tferk Member Supporter

    I have been working 12 hour days and not looking at forums, so missed the start of this discussion but was glad to see this subject come up. I am the one who posted the train consists for coal trains ATL and UPL. There is also a discussion about the Cuba-St Louis Local with consist in another thread. Freight train schedules and consists are my main research emphasis, and I have a selection of consists for Frisco. Nick Molo and myself tried to gauge interest in freight traffic several years ago with some threads in this forum of individual cars interchanged between MP and SLSF, and there did not seem to be much interest at the time.

    I respectfully submit that this is incorrect. The Frisco was not involved in the construction of the Thebes Bridge, other than during the later part of construction it had gained control of the C&EI. The bridge was constructed by the Southern Illinois & Missouri Bridge Co. (SIMBCO), incorporated in December 1900 by owner railroads Missouri Pacific; St Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern; Illinois Central; St Louis Southwestern; and Chicago & Eastern Illinois. An act of Congress granted approval to build the bridge in January 1901. In November 1901, SIMBCO granted trackage rights to C&EI from Thebes, IL, to Illmo, MO, connecting directly with the Cotton Belt - although the bridge was not yet built. At this time, the majority of C&EI through-traffic was via Cotton Belt. Frisco gained control of C&EI in October 1902. In January 1905 the Cotton Belt granted trackage rights to Frisco between Illmo and Rockview, MO - the Frisco then assigned those rights to C&EI. The Thebes Bridge was completed in April 1905. It was not until August 1906 that Frisco granted C&EI trackage rights from Rockview to Chaffee, MO, in order that C&EI trains could run directly into the division point yard at Chaffee.

    I have never found any indication that Frisco handled Western coal further south than Rush Island (Missouri). Frisco had captive coal moves between KS and Springfield City Utilities (2 plants). Frisco ran a joint unit coal move with ATSF between KS and OK mines to Missouri Public Service's Sibley (MO) plant. Frisco may have had captive moves in Alabama between local mines and the Birmingham area. There was a brief period of time in the late 70's where MP interchanged a unit coal train to Frisco at St Louis for Rush Island, having originated on the DRGW.
  12. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    Thanks for adding some clarity for us Ted

    Bummer, I was hopping to have some more activity to include on future layouts.

    There's discussion about the coal traffic between KS and Springfield here:

    I would like to know more about the joint traffic to the plant at Sibley. The mines in SE KS are very close to home for me, so I've been trying to learn as much as possible about their operations and where their coal was sent to. As mentioned in the other thread, the two power plants in Springfield were customers, as well as the Asbury power plant and I assume the Riverton power plant, but I haven't found positive confirmation on that yet. I've wondered if any coal was still being sent north to the KC area as late as 1980. If you have any more information on this movement to Sibley, let us know.
  13. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member Staff Member

    All great Frisco info. I have not seen many pics of RG run thru power on coal trains that terminated on the Frisco. As well as other carrier's run thru power on coal trains. Did the frisco put their own power on these trains for the short turn around trips?
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  14. tferk

    tferk Member Supporter

    Frisco power was mixed with ATSF and UP power on the coal trains to Rush Island. The only DRGW connection I know of was the short-lived MP move of Western coal for Rush Island - I will have to dig thru my files to see if I can confirm where this was loaded. Some of the old MP heads remembered interchanging that train at Pacific, MO.

    We have not dug into several subjects here: Frisco 38/39 using MP's Centennial Yard; traffic on FSE and other trains; coal to Sibley. As time allows, I will start new threads on these subjects.
  15. Gabriel G.

    Gabriel G. Member

    Duly noted, Ted. It seems as though I was misinformed.

    While I briefly touched on trains 38 and 39 in my post, I would love to learn more about them.
  16. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    An interesting sub topic I started looking into this morning: Foreign power that the Frisco's run through partners have leased, or have on loan from other run through agreements.

    In this thread, we looked at the possibility of NW and MP power bleeding in on UP run throughs:

    I would now like to look at the possibility of Chessie System (mainly B&O units, but C&O could sometime appear) power and NW power showing up in the Santa Fe pool. I started my digging on this topic with this photo:

    After a more little digging, I found some discussion here on the Chessie Units:,280060
    According to this, the Santa Fe in 79-80 leased some units from the NW and the Chessie System. It's theoretically some of these units could have been mixed in with the Santa Fe power on the 4 Santa Fe run throughs.

    Also here on the NW units:,4181577
    There's mention of even more roads out side of these two that leased units to the Santa Fe.

    This doesn't explain the GP40-2 in the picture though. With a date given of 3/27/80, I can't make heads or tails of why it would be on train 33. A year earlier it would make sense it was destined for the Santa Fe, and if it was going the other way, it would make sense it was going back home. Any ideas on this one?
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2021
  17. tferk

    tferk Member Supporter

    As would I. In 1980, MP had 3 pairs of regularly scheduled trains between KC and Ft Worth, plus several extras every day due to the booming economy of Texas at the time. The only reason I can think of for a Frisco KC-Ft Worth train to terminate at the MP yard would be that Frisco originated certain traffic somewhere on that route that moved via MP, and it was enough daily carloads to justify that end point. Unfortunately, the handful of consists I have were picked up at Springfield, so do not include trains not routed through there.
  18. Gabriel G.

    Gabriel G. Member

    While I don't know for certain, 38 and 39 might've been an attempt by MoPac to ease congestion on its lines. In the late 1970s, MoPac and Southern Pacific/Cotton Belt both struggled to handle a surge of traffic originating in Mexico and the Texas Gulf Coast.
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  19. Gabriel G.

    Gabriel G. Member

    Ethan, while I hypothesized B&O 4133 was on Frisco rails as a result of straying into the Frisco-Southern Pacific pool, further research has revealed this was probably not the case. I did a search for photos of B&O 4133 on and discovered it was one of the locomotives Chessie leased to the AT&SF. Eleven months prior to Bob Graham snapping his photograph of B&O 4133 on Frisco rails, John Huey photographed B&O 4133 in Los Angeles with three other locomotives leased by Santa Fe from Chessie System. Based on the evidence we have, it seems likely B&O 4133 was on loan to Santa Fe until at least mid-1980.

    On a side-note, it's a pity Chessie never operated a run-through train with the Frisco. Chessie operated GW-97 (Gateway 97; Cumberland-Pine Bluff) with the Cotton Belt, but never operated any such trains with the Frisco. As B&O 4133 demonstrates, Chessie and Frisco power looked nice together.
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  20. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    Good detective work. Athearn had a nice offering of these GP40-2s, with 2 of them numbered for ATSF lease units. Wish I could have scooped one up before they sold out.

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