Howard Branch Abandonment - Tulsa Terminal

Discussion in 'Tulsa Terminal' started by mark, Oct 20, 2009.

  1. mark

    mark Member

    The Howard Branch located within the Tulsa Terminal is in the process of final abandonment and will very soon be removed.

    Unfortunately another cool piece of the Frisco will soon be no more. Contracts are in the process of being let for removal of rails, ties and other material for salvage or disposal.

    Glenn if you or others in or near Tulsa can document and post photos before the removal I and others would be in your debt. Unfortunately, I am not currently in a position to get to Tulsa to document the branch before the contractors will do their dirty work.

    Please get those pictures now! Do not delay.

    Hope this helps.


  2. tboyne

    tboyne Frisco Employee

    What is the Howard Branch at Tulsa? I'm not familiar with that.
  3. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Supporter

  4. Sirfoldalot

    Sirfoldalot Supporter Supporter

    KARL .. What a memory, WOW :)
    With all the history stuff from your Dad, you never cease to amaze me. :cool:
  5. TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020)

    TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020) Passed Away July 15, 2020 Supporter

    Karl--I guess the Howard Branch was how the Frisco 4500 was originally brought to Tulsa and placed at the fair grounds, correct?
    Also Karl, on your map: The wye between the MV and Santa Fe, north of the interlocker--Is that where the Santa Fe trains were turned? Or at some other place?

    Thanks, Tom
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 21, 2009
  6. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Supporter

    The 4500 was displayed at Mohawk Park, and not the fairgrounds. I am unfamiliar with ATSF operations in Tulsa. Perhaps someone can fill-in this detail.

  7. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Supporter

    In this case, the Boonville St flea markets in Springfield yielded this item.

  8. mark

    mark Member


    The Howard Branch was an industrial branch or industry lead that left the Frisco main at Dawson. It ran south from the main forming a shape similar to an inverted "T".

    The Howard Branch starts at a wye on the main line just north of East Pine Street and runs south to approximately East 15th Street. It is located between the primary roads of North Yale Avenue (to the west) and North Sheridan Road (to the east).

    Karl, the ever resourceful, was kind enough to post a great map in the link above from 1955.

    You can also zoom in and follow the line on this link:,-95.91279&spn=0.039914,0.097504&t=h&z=14

    Hope this helps.


  9. mark

    mark Member


    The Santa Fe turned their passenger trains at their wye just to the north of their Tulsa yard.

    Unfortunately "urban renewal" and expansion of the interstate highway system in the area has largely removed most all of the Santa Fe's facilities and industries in the area.

    The ghost of the Santa Fe's wye can be seen in this satellite image:,-95.976219&spn=0.009977,0.024376&t=h&z=16

    It also shows in this view from|tulsa|ok|

    Hope this helps.


    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 21, 2009
  10. TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020)

    TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020) Passed Away July 15, 2020 Supporter

    Mark--Is that anywhere near their Elgin St. building? Or can you give an intersection where that would be near--since these are mainly city street maps?

    Thanks, Tom
  11. mark

    mark Member


    Coming in from the northeast the Santa Fe first crossed the Frisco, then it immediately crossed the Katy and the Midland Valley within the Tulsa interlocking tower limits.

    The line then turned west crossed East 1st Street and branched through a series of switches as it crossed South Greenwood Avenue before crossing South Frankfort Avenue.

    These split into 4 tracks that served the south side of the Santa Fe freight house. The Santa Fe freight house address is 101-107 South Elgin Avenue (southeast corner of East 1st Street and South Elgin Avenue). Three other tracks, one pair and a single, to the south formed team tracks. All of these tracks ended at South Elgin Avenue. All of these tracks were north of East 2nd Street.

    Sanborn Fire Insurance maps dated 1925 indicate that they served a couple of industries in the alley east of South Frankfort Avenue. These industries included a farm machinery sales and service company at 201, and industrial supply company at 301-303 and a furniture warehouse at 315-325 South Frankfort Avenue. I do not believe these industries lasted after WW II.

    The balance of the Santa Fe's industries were north of the Tulsa interlocking tower.

    Hope this helps.


    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 22, 2009
  12. TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020)

    TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020) Passed Away July 15, 2020 Supporter

    Where was the Santa Fe wye in relation to the interlocker? The Santa Fe trains left Tulsa headed out (From Union Depot and later Elgin Ave.) to the North. Did they back in or were they turned after they headed in? Someplace before arriving or between arrival and departure, the train and engines were turned. I was trying to figure how that was done.

    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 22, 2009
  13. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Supporter

    A photograph of the MV-SLSF-MKT-ATSF Interlocker and Train 118 with 2008 on the point may be found on page 23 of Kalmbach's "The Modeler's Guide to Junctions" by Jeff Wilson.

    It's a good read with regard to prototype practices, and it will guide the reader in the steps required to build a model version of a true mechanical plant. It's a worthy addition to the modeler's and fan's library.
  14. Frisco2008

    Frisco2008 Member Supporter

    I have set of downloads from Google maps covering the entire branch from the "wye" South.

    This was "my" Frisco growing up...the run from Pine down to Admiral used to be bordered on the West by strip mining pits and overburden. And on the East by Independence Street.

    We were absolutley forbidden to play in the strip, of course we spent all of our time there!

    This was from 1952 when I moved here from Michigan, until 1960, when I moved to LA.

    Glenn in Tulsa
  15. WindsorSpring

    WindsorSpring Member

    What is the land use plan after abandonment?
    Do they contemplate rail-to-trail conversion and transportation landbanking?

    Some of the territory looks nice enough backdrop for that since it goes through some residential areas. The upside is the biker/blader/hiker can at least imagine himself at the throttle of a GP-7 (or a 3800 0-6-0).
  16. Steve40cal

    Steve40cal Member

    We have a new crossing on Pine Street on the Howard Branch (new as in less than 10 years old) but the crossings south of Pine have been taken out of service with Admiral being paved over. Admiral and 11th Street crossings were still old DC track circuit crossings until they were taken out of service. I have the prints for the Admiral crossing including the test sheets from 1955 when it was placed in service.
    The locals that service Dawson and the airport use the wye at Dawson to turn around their trians and they cross the Pine street crossing if their train is long enough. It would seem at least the first half mile or so of the Howard Branch will stay in service but it is already out of service south of that point.
    The Frisco had three shifts of locals servicing the branch back in the day. I'm not sure there is much more business left in the area that the railroad can run off.
    I'll try and get some photos of the crossings before they are all gone. Ship it on the Frisco! Steve BNSF Railway
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 27, 2015
  17. sapulpadanny

    sapulpadanny Member

    The Howard Branch jobs were the jobs to have. But only the oldest heads held them. I caught the jobs that went to the Howard Branch off the extra board when the old heads would lay off.
    We would go all the way to east of Sheridan Rd. south of 11th St. and between Yale Ave. and Harvard Ave. to 15th St. Had a good diner to eat lunch at 15th St. Ah those were the days.
    The FRISCO had several industry jobs back in the day. One went out east all the way to Tiger Pass which switched the cement plant, Wolf Point, Bomber Pass, several junk yards. Trinton St.
    storage. Their were alot of industeries back then. Had another 3 jobs that switched Sun Refinery. Job 206 was the job that I worked the most. Had a real good crew, loved that job.
    Mayhem likes this.
  18. tmfrisco

    tmfrisco Member Supporter

    Danny reminds me of what an adventure it was to cross the crossings at Sheridan and Pine. They had to be protected from the ground, and I can tell you that it was a dangerous adventure for the switchman. I was in the cab of the switch engine, and even in that protected environment, I was nervous. We did have a few wrecks, but amazingly, not as many as one would expect. One story told was of a switchman who became very angry at a motorist who nearly hit him, so he threw the fusee at his car. Somehow the car was leaking gasoline which caused the fusee to ignite the gasoline trail on the road. The man drove his car away trying to out run the fire that was chasing him. I don't remember if he was successful or not. Maybe Danny or someone else familiar with the story can answer that question. It is a funny story, but, at the same time, one that could have ended in tragedy. It shows how frustrated a switchman could become trying to protect a crossing and have motorists ignore them.

    Job 18 was the regular job that worked the Howard Branch (the 600 industrial zone), and was held by the old heads as Danny said. I worked Job 17 which delivered the three connections (Sand Springs , Katy, and the ATSF). We then worked the 300 and 400 main line zones and would also work the brick plant just east of East Tulsa if needed. We had a lot of work (not as much as in the past) to do, and one day I counted 21 spots and connections that we serviced. Job 18 would take all of the cars for the 300, 400, and 600 zones with them when they left the yard while we had the connection cars. After delivering the Santa Fe which was the last of the three connections, we would cross over at the interlocker and leave the main traveling east up the house lead to get our 300 yard cars which Job 18 had switched into storage track 2 at Trenton St. After working the 300 yard, we would proceed east on the main and switch out our cars from storage track 1 for the 400 yard and would work the south main before crossing over at the Lewis St. crossover to work the north main. Job 18 would leave their pull offs in the dep0t and the Santa Fe would deliver some time during the day in the depot. We would gather all the cars together and take them all to the yard. That job was probably my favorite job of all the jobs I held on the Frisco. Danny brought back memories, and I hope I haven't bored you with them. I have more to share if there is any interest in them.

    Joe Lovett and Mayhem like this.
  19. Joe Lovett

    Joe Lovett Member

    Terry, Please tell us more about the Howard Branch! One question I always had was did the Frisco deliver materials and pick up loads at the brick plant on 15th street? I know that the south leg ended in what is now the AEP storage yard on the south side of 15th.

    Last edited: Oct 26, 2015
  20. Joe Lovett

    Joe Lovett Member

    Karl, would you Please tell us what thread you were referring to in the third post? My connection says "we are having trouble finding this page".


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