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Excursion Train Runs Early With Rides Set for March 23

Posted: March 12, 2019

The popular “Bartlesville Oil Flyer” excursion train is arriving a little early this year for three trips from the city depot on Saturday, March 23. Normally scheduled in late spring, the event has been moved up so passenger views won’t be obscured by heavy foliage along the right-of-way.

Tickets for the hour-long experience are on sale at the Visitor Information Center on the North end of the downtown depot at 201 SW Keeler Ave..

The train ride is part of the annual Whistle-and-Ride celebration, which provides train lovers of all ages the chance to blow the whistle of steam locomotive No. 940 and tour the restored Santa Fe caboose on the depot display track, beginning at 9 a.m.

About 675 seats are available for the three rides, which have sold out early every year. The event is organized by local volunteers of the Locomotive No. 940 Work Crew and operated by the railroad preservation group Heart of the Heartlands.  

A portion of the fare will be donated to the ongoing restoration work and maintenance of the Bartlesville Depot Train Display and to the Heart of the Heartlands Railway Museum in Corona, KS.

Pulled by a diesel locomotive, the train will consist of three air-conditioned passenger cars, which are not handicapped accessible. The train will travel north through Dewey or south toward Ochelata.

Whistle-and-Ride visitors, whether or not they ride the train, will have access to the cab of the112-year-old locomotive No. 940, which is the sole survivor of 332 similar engines built for the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railway. 

Coupled to this historic steamer is a 1914 “Flying A” oil tank car and long-retired Santa Fe caboose, both restored to their original appearance. A Santa Fe cattle car, currently under restoration, will also be available for inspection.

The event is made possible through the support of the South Kansas & Oklahoma Railroad, which in addition to owning the rail equipment and track also provides the locomotive and crew.

Bartlesville-related train keepsakes also will be available for sale, including Santa Fe locomotive No. 940 caps, T-shirts, depot candles and draftsman-quality prints of the locomotive and caboose.

The “Bartlesville Oil Flyer” is named for the popular rail passenger service that ran between Bartlesville and Tulsa from the 1930s through the late ‘60s. The last passenger train to operate through Bartlesville occurred in 1970.

The Bartlesville depot, which is home to the Visitor Information Center, was constructed in 1909 as a classic example of the Santa Fe “mission style” architecture. It served both the Santa Fe and Missouri-Kansas-Texas (Katy) Railroads.

For more information, go to www.BartlesvilleLocomotive.org or contact the Visitor Information Center at 918-336-8709.

Excursion Train Runs Early With Rides Set for March 23 News Photo - Bartlesville, Oklahoma