Wichita, Kansas to Rock Island, Oklahoma

The Midland Valley Railroad

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Map submitted by Joseph Loop.

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Driving north into Wichita, KS, drivers on nearby I-35 would hardly notice the remains of a former railroad grade; however, the former Midland Valley's crossing of the "Big Ditch" is much more conspicuous. This picture, facing south, shows the concrete girders once used to convey a line that ran as far southeast as Fort Smith, AR. Photo by Bob Shick, September 2006.

You are looking south in this view. Just behind you, the Kansas Turnpike (I-35) goes over the old right-of-way where the railroad took a bend to the north-north-west.

Darrel
Bunch, OK
2/24/2010

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am interested in contracting removing ties/rails, etc., from abandoned railways. who would I need to contact to start the process of attaining the permission from railroad companies to accomplish this. any and all help would be greatly appreciated. thank you.

David Schooley

David Schooley
Wichita , KS
6/11/2013

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I don't think all of the line shown on this map is abandoned. The portion from 23rd Street in Tulsa, south to just past 131st Street in Jenks, is still in use. This line starts at a connection with the BNSF near 17th Street and I-244, heads under I-244, and then curves south. It serves the ex-Sinclair (now Holly) refinery, a Pepsi bottling plant on the southwest corner of I-44 and the river, the Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) power plant on 116th Street, and the Kimberly-Clark plant south of 131st Street. The track ends right before Posey Creek, southeast of the Kimberly-Clark plant. At least in 2008, this line was in fairly bad shape, and trains would operate at 10 mph or so through Jenks.

The segment north of downtown Tulsa, from I-244 to Pine Street, is also still in use, mostly for car storage; it has a connection to the live rails just north of I-244.

The part from the wye at Sinclair, east across the Arkansas, and north to at least Skiatook is indeed abandoned and has been for a long time. The railroad gave the river bridge to the city of Tulsa, I think in the 1980s, and they constructed a pedestrian walkway on the lower level. A rail-trail followed the ROW east and north to the south edge of downtown.

More recently (early-mid 2000s), Tulsa continued the rail-trail north towards Skiatook. The trail doesn't follow the ROW exactly in downtown Tulsa, but it's on top of the ROW from Pine Street north. Currently the trail ends near downtown Skiatook.

Matt Roberds
Blue Springs, MO
11/4/2013

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David you might contact the Prairie Travelers organization here in Wichita. They might be able to steer you in the right direction. www.prairietravelers.org

Randy
Wichita, KS
12/10/2013

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The Pawhuska depot still exists, bad condition but could be restored. Located south of downtown Pawhuska.

Tom Wheeler
Olathe, KS
6/30/2014

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Regarding the MV depot in Pawhuska. There is absolutely no way the depot could be restored and it's been that way for a number of years. The roof is virtually all gone/caved in on itself and some of the brick wall on the north side has caved in. Maybe 10 or so years ago, but it is way too far gone for any kind of restoration, now.

Eric Miller
Tulsa, OK
3/3/2015

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Another portion of the Midland Valley is used. This one is east of the UP (MKT) in Muskogee. Some industries as well as a yard still exists. Track continues south of Muskogee for a few miles terminating near Davis Field Airport on Hiway 64.

Also portions of the MV in Warner and Stigler OK have been put to use as recreational trails.

A review of the aerial Google Maps shows that the ROW by-in-large appears in very decent shape all the way to Panama OK with many bridges intact. One wonders if someone is preserving it for eventual trail conversion.

Charles Munson
Omaha, NE
4/3/2015

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My father-in-law helped build the tracks between Barnsdall and Witchita and one of the old bridges next to Bird Creek can still be seen just North of here. I'd like to find some art ( emblems or of engines/trains ) if anyone knows where it is available.

larry j carter
Nelagoney, OK
2/4/2016

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My grandfather, Seth Crampton worked for the MVRR around 1925 - 1932. He ran a store in Adamsville, Kansas also, during part of these years. Can you tell me if the tracks went through Adamsville?

Cissy Crampton Rose
Fort Smith, , AR
3/9/2016

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There is a book titled Midland Valley, Rails for Coal, Cattle & Crude by Lloyd E. Stagner copyright 1996. It was published by South Platte Press and printed by Services Press. I think I got my copy thru Indiana Press?

Brian
Heber Springs, AR
8/2/2016

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Is this railway north of Skiatook open for mountain bike/hiking? Is any part of the rail bed now privately owned and not accessible? Thanks!

Todd
Tulsa, OK
8/19/2016

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Between Barnsdall and Pawhuska, I believe, is all private. It is getting hard to see where the rail bed was now.

Any word on art or artifacts?

Larry Carter
Nelagoney, OK
8/20/2016

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