McKeen Cars on the Frisco

Discussion in 'Motorcars' started by tomd6 (Tom Duggan RIP 2/11/2018), Jul 27, 2009.

  1. tomd6 (Tom Duggan RIP 2/11/2018)

    tomd6 (Tom Duggan RIP 2/11/2018) Passed Away February 11, 2018

    I am reading a biography of Rudolph Diesel. He visited Fayetteville, AR in 1912 to examine the "McKeen" cars that were used on the St Paul branch and the Muskogee subdivision between Fayetteville and Okmulgee. I cannot find any information that the Frisco owned or used McKeen cars so I am guessing that Dr. Diesel actually rode in GE gas-electric cars purchased by the Frisco between 1911 and 1912.
    If you have any Frisco McKeen info it would be appreciated if you could share it.
  2. On p. 134 of "Polk County Classics", a pictorial local history book published by the Historical Society of Polk Co., Missouri, there is a photo of a McKeen car numbered M-18. The caption states that "the Shopper's Special motor train ran from Weaubleau to Springfield early in the morning and returned in the late afternoon. It was discontinued in the 1920s. The train was run by a gasoline engine."

    I am skeptical of this caption, for a couple of reasons. (1) I've never heard of the Frisco having any McKeen cars. (2) The car number M-18 matches one of the Union Pacific's McKeen cars, and the car in the photo appears to be a close visual match to a couple of Otto Perry photos of the UP M-18 that have been digitized and put online by the Denver Public Library. I wonder if a photo of the UP M-18, collected by some long-ago railfan or traveler, could have come into the hands of the historical society and then been mistakenly identified with the gas-electrics that did, in fact, operate on the High Line and the Leaky Roof.

    Like the original poster, I would be interested in hearing if others have any verifiable information about McKeen cars on the Frisco.
  3. Wasn't there another McKeen car(not Frisco owned) that used to run between Rogers and Bentonville? I read about this somewhere, but I'm not exactly sure where.
  4. Oldguy

    Oldguy Member Supporter

  5. SteveM

    SteveM Member Supporter

    Thanks for the link. I had not seen a couple of those. My mother says they called it "Big Red." Besides remembering the old hotel and its swimming pool, I once had one of the Corinthian plaster capitals from one of the columns. It appeared only slightly damaged from the hotel's demolition, but gradually gave up the ghost before I could figure out how to preserve it.
    There's only a little other information about the operation in general circulation, although others may have found more.
  6. Be nice to see a replica McKeen car travel that route today. The A&M only has but one train a day on the Branch and with Northwest Arkansas expanding so much it would make a cool way to commute people around.
  7. tomd6 (Tom Duggan RIP 2/11/2018)

    tomd6 (Tom Duggan RIP 2/11/2018) Passed Away February 11, 2018

    The Arkansas Northwestern operated between Rogers and Bentonville using Bentonville Branch track between the two towns. The ANW Mc Keen car came from Okmulgee ( repo?) . The ANW operated for four years and shutdown in 1916 (unpaid track rental charges and debt to a fuel supplier). The Mc Keen car went to a new home in Wyoming.

    The Nevada Sttae Railroad Museum in Carson City (?) began eseasonal operation of their newlty restored Mc Keen Car in July 2013.

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