Looking north at Douglas, OK. The line most likely lost service after the BN and AT&SF merger in 1995 when mainline freights were rerouted. Photo by Mike Palmer, April 2011.
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I remember reading in TRAINS magazine a few years back of plans to make this a tourist line.
The old AT&SF line from Guthrie to Fairmont was sold by the State of Oklahoma to Montoff Transportation, LLC in the spring of 2010. The terms of the sale were never publicly disclosed. To date, the only noticeable work on the line has been the removal of a bridge immediately north of Guthrie and some clearing of trees and brush from the roadbed, especially in Crescent. Since Montoff is noted for buying rail lines and scrapping the rails (http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/abandonedrailroadsoftheus/message/3060), it is likely that the fate of this historic line will be the same. One of the principals in the company, Charles Montange, is "an attorney who specializes in law concerning railroad abandonments, rail banking, and right-of-way preservation" (http://www.americantrails.org/trailtracks/Fall96TT/RTbattle.html) and was instrumental in helping form the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (http://www.railstotrails.org/ourwork/promotingtrailuse/trailrecognition/railtrailchampions/rtchampions_profiles.html). I believe the handwriting is on the wall and it is only a matter of time before this historic rail line disappears.
According to an STB filing (http://www.stb.dot.gov/decisions/ReadingRoom.nsf/UNID/72120F15624C381285257A47004DCE39/$file/42514.pdf) on July 26, 2012 by Montoff Transportation Company, LLC with the Surface Transportation Board, Montoff may have the authority to scrap the Guthrie to Fairmont line by the end of September. According to the filing, "If BNSF does not timely file a notice of consummation [to reinstate its abandonment exemption authority] and there are no legal or regulatory barriers to consummation, the railroad's abandonment authority will automatically expire." If anyone wants to take photos or video of the line before its demise, time appears to be running out for the venerable old tracks as they go the way of the northern alignment from Enid to Kiowa, KS.
Crews subcontracted by Montoff Transportation have begun demolishing the line immediately north of Guthrie. I'm not sure how far north they've gotten or what their timetable is for completion. It looks like the rails and related salvageable materials are going to a place called The Tie Yard (http://www.tieyard.com/) in Omaha, NE. I'd sure like to know how much money Montoff will be making to destroy this piece of Oklahoma's history.
Cool pictures!! I would've loved to have seen this line in action. I can just picture a couple of ATSF/BNSF GP30s, '35s, or '38s, in Yellowbonnet paint, kickin' around covered grain hoppers. Would've made great short line material, too. Begs to be modeled in HO Scale....
I used to see the line in operation in the 70s. My family are wheat farmers in the Marshal and Douglas OK area. I used to cross the tracks with farm equipment when moving from farm to farm. There was a big accident at the rail diamond in Fairmont in the fog when a santa fe ran a red signal and a bn hit the second unit. They Never really used it any more after that also due to the washing out of the line out of Guthrie were the bridge crossed the river were it left the main north south line.
Do you have any pictures or information about Guthrie to Fairmont? Please