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Don's Rail Photos

Oklahoma Railways

Oklahoma City Railways

Metropolitan Street Ry.

 

One of the finest small city railways could be found in Oklahoma City in the 1920s. The population was only 125,000 at the time, but Oklahoma Railways operated an extensive city line, plus interurbans to Norman, Guthrie, and El Reno, plus a very heavy freight operation. After a reorganization in 1927, the company improved its operations with new cars and more trackage. But bigger plans ended with the crash in 1929. The company went thru the depression trying to maintain quality service, but went into bankruptcy again in 1939. After reorganization the next year, several lines were abandoned and replaced with buses. All new expansion was to be by bus. A number of relatively new used cars were purchased during the 1930s to replace older cars. And then came Pearl Harbor.

Two Navy bases were established in Norman and more cars were needed. The Navy purchased 8 interurban cars and leased them to ORC. Freight cars were rebuilt back into the passenger cars from which they had been converted years earlier. Business was great. But the management which came in just before the war had decided that rail would go. The major freight lines were sold to the Santa Fe and Rock Island who operated their diesel in place of the electrics. And then came peace.

The Naval bases reduced their operation and gasoline became available. Traffic took a nose dive. In the fall of 1945, the company was purchased by Oklahoma Transportation Co., an intercity bus operator. They proposed conversion of all rail lines. There was much opposition from Norman because of the University. Guthrie and El Reno were abandoned on November 9, 1946. By April, 1947, the last of the city cars quit rolling when new buses became available. Early in September, 1947, OT put additional buses on the Norman run just as talk of new freeways replaced interest in keeping the rail line. On September 27, 1947, the last car made its run.

Equipment was varied and very interesting. Here are examples.

4 was built by American Car Co in 1903, #450, as Metropolitan Street Ry 4.  It became Oklahoma City  Ry 4 in 1904 and became Oklahoma Rys 4 in 1907.

72 was built by St Louis Car in January 1917, #1139.

73 was built by St Louis Car in January 1917, #1139.

116 wase built by St. Louis Car in February 1929, #1508.  It was sold as Servicio de Transportes Electricos del Distrito Federal 175 in 1947.

117 was built by St. Louis Car in February 1929, #1508. It was sold as STEDF 176 in 1947.

124 was built by St Louis Car in March 1930, #1535.  It was sold as STEDF 183 in 1947.

146 was built by Kuhlman in 1927, #931, as Eastern Michigan Rys. 3255. It was purchased as ORys 146 in 1936.

149 was built by Kuhlman in 1927, #931, as EMRys 3258. It was purchased as ORys 149 in 1936.

218 was built by St. Louis Car in May, 1916, under order 1106.

221 was built by St Louis Car Co in May 1923, #1314A, as Ft. Wayne Van Wert & Lima Traction Co. 92.  It was sold as ORys 92 in 1932.

223 was built by St Louis Car Co in May 1923, #1314A, as FWVW&LT 94.  It was sold as ORys in 1932.

224 was built by St Louis Car Co in May 1923, #1314A, as FWVW&LT 95.  It was sold as ORys in 1932.

226 was built by American Car Co in 1927, #1445, as Rockford Public Service Co 302.  It was sold as ORy 226 in 1936.

228 was built by American Car Co in 1927, #1445, as RPSCo 304.  It was sold as ORy 228 in 1936.

229 was built by American Car Co in 1927, #1445, as RPSCo 306.  It was sold as ORy 229 in 1936.

234 was built by St Louis Car Co in February 1925, #1361, as Springfield & Xenia Ry 50.  It was transferred as Dayton-Xenia Ry 164 in 1934 and returned to St Louis Car Co in 1937.  It was sold to the United States Navy in 1943 and leased it as ORys 234.

401 was built by Niles in 1910 as part of a group of 10 center door interurbans numbered 121 thru 130. In 1913 it was rebuilt as a freight motor. With wartime traffic needs, it was again rebuilt as a passenger motor which was practical in spite of being less than attractive.

402 is said to be also one on the Niles cars, but it appears to have been only a wood box car rebuilt as a passenger trailer.

Oklahoma Rys. created a group of locomotives which outlived the line. All were built in their shops.

600 was built in 1910 and rebuilt in 1929. In 1946 it became Mason City & Clear Lake 50. After a short time on the Iowa Terminal, it was scrapped in April, 1963.

601 was built in 1907 and rebuilt in 1929. It was scrapped in 1947.

602 was built in 1918 and scrapped in 1947.

603 was built in 1929. In 1946 it was sold to Union Electric in Kansas as 603. In 1948 it became Cedar Rapids & Iowa City 72. In 1954 it was sold to the Chicago Aurora & Elgin as 4005. It was scrapped in 1963.

604 was built in 1929. In 1946 it went to UE in Kansas as 604. In 1948 it became CRIC 73. In 1954 it was sold to the CA&E as 4006. It was scrapped in 1963.

605 was also built in 1929. It was sold to American Aggregates Co as 605 and was dieselized. It was later renumbered 5095, and was used at Green Oaks, MI.

606 was also built in 1929. It was sold to the Niagara Junction Ry as 12 in 1946, and it was scrapped in 1952, when they got their new locomotives.

Here are a few pictures of the Oklahoma Railways city and interurban operations.

 

 

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10/11/2011

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