Lehigh to Chickasha

The Oklahoma Central Railway

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(Forwarded from the Ada Terminal Railroad)

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This abandoned trackage was once an old Frisco siding dating back to 1903. The Sante Fe depot is to the right of the photo. Photo by Terry Hall.

The Oklahoma Central Railway was incorporated in 1904 as the Canadian Valley and Western Railway Co. Construction commenced in Lehigh, OK, (Coal County) in 1905 and was completed to Chickasha, OK, in 1908. The route was primarily constructed to transport coal from the mines at Lehigh to Purcell in order to service steam locomotives on the Santa Fe. Primary sources of revenue included passengers and express, coal, cotton and its by-products, livestock, and building material.

Towns served by the OCR were thriving communities in the early days of Oklahoma statehood. Cities along the route included Lehigh, Frisco, Stonewall, Vanoss, Byars, Rosedale, and Stratford.

According to Meade's Manual, the City of Ada was reached by backing down a 1.8 mile spur. Trains were turned on the Frisco wye at $1.00 per train. The OCR depot (later Santa Fe) still stands at the corner of Main and Johnston.

The OCR was merged into Santa Fe in 1918. Much of the line was dismantled in the 1930s, but the line from Byars to Ada was operated as a branch until September, 1971.

Thanks to Terry Hall for contributing information about this route.

Historic ICC Abandonment Filings

ATCHISON, TOPEKA & SANTA FE RAILWAY
Docket Number: 9776 Date: 12/23/1932 Section: 1
Application of Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway and Oklahoma Central Railway for certificate to abandon lines of railroad extending from Lehigh, Coal County, Oklahoma, to Ada Junction, Pontotoc County, Oklahoma, a distance of 39.88 miles; and from Byars Junction to Purcell, McClain County, Oklahoma, a distance of 21.11 miles; a total length of 60.99 miles.
Length: 60.99 miles Citation: 193 ICC 793  
ATCHISON, TOPEKA & SANTA FE RAILWAY
Docket Number: 26356 Date: 9/23/1970 Section: 1(18)
Application for authority to abandon a line of railroad between Ada, Pontotoc County, Oklahoma, MP 86/4053 and Tupelo, Coal County, Oklahoma, MP 103/4957, a distance of approx. 17.17 miles.
Length: 17.17 miles Citation:  
ATCHISON, TOPEKA & SANTA FE RAILWAY
Docket Number: 26397 Date: 10/22/1970 Section: 1(18)
Application for authority to abandon a line of railroad between Pauls Valley, Garvin County, Oklahoma, MP 183/88.8 and Ada, Pontotoc County, Oklahoma, MP 40/2969 3, a distance of approximately 39.78 miles.
Length: 39.78 miles Citation:  
Also under this filing: Shawnee to Pauls Valley   

I grew up in Blanchard and remember many of the "oldtimers" talking about the OCRR and the towns depot. Some of the foundation stemwall of the depot is still visible. I'm delighted to see any information on this fine old road. Thanks!

Bob Kemper
Oklahoma City, OK
6/30/2011

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I recently found a photo of Harper's Camp on the OC & CV RR. Not sure where Harper was.

Paula Trahan
Taloga , OK
4/18/2013

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I have 2 maps of Blanchard,1st one is 1906 Blueprint of Dorset Carter President of Central Ok. Railway Co.requesting permission to build 10 miles of rail thru Blanchard, (Indian Territory)from the Dept of the Interior; 2nd is 1926 blueprint of where every building and all tracks were in town of Blanchard,down to smallest detail, pipelines,water,gas,etc.

Sonny
Blanchard, OK
6/27/2013

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Used to see abandoned RR tracks between Ada and Atoka when traveling to granny's house. Always wanted to know the history. Thanks

FRED S
OKC, OK
4/16/2015

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I used to hike the A A and SF tracks from the switchback switch area going West. It went East for a bit from the switch and then went to just ties and then nothing. The tracks went under a high bridge which carried the Frisco track and then over another bridge that crossed the highway that went to Sulfur. We found an abandoned set of bridge posts back in the woods south of where the highway now runs.

Does anybody have any photos of the turning wye or steam engines on these tracks? I can remember when I was a small boy seeing a Baldwin steam locomotive at the station off of Main Street. I can also remember a steam switcher going across the high bridge where Mississippi Street goes under it. Has anybody done a historical book of the trains of Ada Pre 1960s?

Kent Meyer
Ada, OK
2/6/2017

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Just went to town and found the old concrete slab where the train station was and what looks like some old refueling tanks or water tanks not sure u can also tell from the cutout in the hill where it was just so everyone knows its on the hill east of the high school football field very very cool. I'm guessing the city knows about it that's why its still there but no signs posted saying what was there or anything

Daniel
Blanchard , OK
2/9/2017

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Does anyone have any information on where the depot was in Blanchard, and if tracks were laid, where the location is? Very fascinated.

Stacey
Blanchard , OK
3/16/2017

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Stacey, I'm not from OK but have some information that might help you a little. Here's a site you can go to for old maps and aerial photos of Blanchard - https://www.historicaerials.com/

Just click on the button "show me some aerials" and type in "Blanchard, OK" on the next page for location. A list of available Topo maps and aerial photos will display on the left. For Blanchard, the oldest Topo dates to 1966. On it you can clearly see the old RR grade noted, running generally NW to SE through the SW part of town. I then selected the 1962 (oldest) aerial and could clearly see the abandoned grade as it wound through the area. Doesn't really answer your question about the depot but you can see exactly where the tracks used to be.

David Earp
Mechanicsville, MD
3/17/2017

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David, thank you so much for the lead to the aerial maps! It actually was a big help, and the only official mapping I have seen online to trace out where the railroad ran through Blanchard. For the longest time, I didn't think one ever existed through here, and even though it was so long ago, it was interesting to find out otherwise. A mural on an old building in town included a railroad, but I always questioned it, since visibly there are no tracks. The place where the depot is suggested only holds a brand new concrete slab and some odd-looking pumps, but I couldn't visibly see any signs of the old foundation. Doesn't mean it wasn't there, but any remanants are long gone. I really appreciate the lead on the aerial maps. Hopefully, I'll find some sort of artifact that I can snap a photo of--one of my new favorite hobbies--finding and photographing old abandoned bridges and railroads. Thanks again!

Stacey
Blanchard , OK
3/17/2017

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Stacey, I'm glad that aerial site was very helpful to you in your research. It's like an aerial photo time machine the way you can view the same location at different time periods to see how it changed. I've used it to find other rural abandoned lines where the right of way has since disappeared by being built over with developments or turned back into farmland over the years.

David Earp
Mechanicsville
3/17/2017

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Shortened Link: http://a-r.us/p0b

Do you have any pictures or information about The Oklahoma Central Railway? Please . You will get credit for anything you contribute.