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The St. Louis-San Francisco Railway was incorporated in Missouri on September 7, 1876. It was formed from the Missouri Division and Central Division of the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad. This land grant line was one of two railroads (the other being the M-K-T) authorized to build across Indian Territory. The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, interested in the A&P right of way across the Mojave Desert to California, took the road over until the larger road went bankrupt in 1893; the receivers retained the western right of way but divested the ATSF of the St. Louis-San Francisco mileage on the great plains. After bankruptcy the Frisco emerged as the St. Louis and San Francisco Railroad, incorporated on June 29, 1896, which also went bankrupt. On August 24, 1916 the company was reorganized as the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway, though the line never went west of Texas, terminating more than 1,000 miles (1,600 km) from San Francisco.
The city of Frisco, Texas, was named after the railroad and uses the former railroad's logo as its own logo. The logo is modeled after a stretched-out raccoon skin (giving rise to Frisco High School's mascot, the Fighting Raccoons).
The Sunnyland at Birmingham Alabama's Union Station on April 15, 1963
While the Texas Special was the most famous passenger train the Frisco ever operated, it also had an entire fleet of named trains. These included:
1899 poster showing a boy and a girl in a SLSF waiting room
The core of the former Frisco system continues to be operated by BNSF Railway as high-density mainlines. Other secondary and branchlines have been sold to shortline operators or have been abandoned altogether.
Kansas City – Springfield – Memphis – Birmingham: Operated by BNSF
St. Louis – Springfield – Tulsa – Dallas: Operated by BNSF
Fort Scott, Kansas to Afton, Oklahoma: Operated by BNSF
Springfield to Kansas City (via Clinton)(two routes): Abandoned
Monett (Pierce City) to Carthage, Missouri: Out of service
Carthage, Missouri to Wichita, Kansas: Mostly abandoned
Chaffee, Missouri to Poplar Bluff, Missouri to Hoxie, Arkansas (Hoxie Sub): Abandoned
Frisco 19, a 2-8-0 Consolidation-type built in 1910 and on static display on in Frisco, Texas (Note: This locomotive is lettered Frisco, but it did not actually operate on the SLSF. It is the former Lake Superior and Ishpeming Railroad 19. It was purchased by the City of Frisco, Texas, as a static display, and is representative of a typical Frisco locomotive. Frisco operated a number of Consolidations as Frisco-series 1306 engines.)
Frisco 1351, built in 1912 as a 2-8-0 Consolidation (Frisco 1313), and converted by Frisco to a 2-8-2 Mikado in November 1943. Now on static display in Collierville, Tennessee.
Frisco 1352, built by Alco in 1912 as a 2-8-0 Consolidation, and converted by Frisco in the WWII timeframe to a 2-8-2 Mikado. Disassembled in Taylorville, Illinois; awaiting restoration to operating condition.
Frisco 1355, 2-8-2 Mikado, displayed on Garden Street, Pensacola, Florida, near the site of the SLSF passenger depot demolished in 1967.
Frisco 1527, 4-8-2 Mountain-type, built by Baldwin in 1926. Static display in Langan Park, Mobile, AL since 1964.
Frisco 1529, 4-8-2 Mountain-type, built by Baldwin in 1926. The train hosted President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1934, and was eventually the last steam engine to make a passenger run for Frisco. Now on static display in Frisco Park in Amory, Mississippi.
Frisco 1615, Russian Decapod, built 1917, purchased by Eagle Pitcher Industries Inc, and used to haul lead and zinc from the Pitcher Field to the E-P mill in Miami, Oklahoma until 1954. Acquired by the City of Altus, Oklahoma on October 22, 1967, and remains on static display there.
Frisco 4524, another wartime 4500-series 4-8-4 Northern-type on static display at Grant Beach Park in Springfield, Missouri, wearing the "Frisco Fast Freight" paint scheme. It was the last steam locomotive built for the Frisco.
The following companies were predecessors of the Frisco:
The following is a list of partial or full asset absorptions, many times through bankruptcy courts or creditors. In some cases the Frisco was a creditor. Assets can include mineral rights, property, track and right of way, trains, bonds, mortgages, etc.