Please understand that a career as a railroader is something not
everyone can handle. Working in the industry requires one to be able to
cope with criticism well and, especially in the case of operating the
trains themselves, an ability to deal with stress.
This, of course, doesn't even include the constant fatigue issues and
long hours away from home one must also deal with. If you are lucky
enough to hire on with a smaller railroad, such as a shortline or
regional, given their smaller size the hours and schedule will probably a
little more predictable. However, they cannot match the pay that Class
Is offer (which is partly just due to all of the hours you work). In the end you will need to make the decision yourself on whether
being a railroader is truly a career you are interested.
Short Lines And Regionals
South Kansas & Oklahoma Railroad: The SK&O is owned
by the Watco Companies (which owns a large number of small railroads),
and operates more than 400 miles of track (originally Missouri Pacific)
north of Tulsa through southeastern Kansas, and into Liberal, Missouri.
|It's a quiet evening at the Katy shops in Parsons, Kansas as GP40 #176 and SD40-2 #617 rest for the night on September 17, 1983.|
Arkansas-Oklahoma Railroad (A-OK Railroad): This railroad began operations in
1996 over former Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific (Rock Island)
trackage east of Oklahoma City. Overall, they own just over 70 miles of
Arkansas Southern Railroad: Another short line owned by Watco,
this railroad operates over 60 miles of branchline trackage between
Ashdown and Nashville, Arkansas and between Heavener, Oklahoma and
AT&L Railroad: Owned by the Wheeler Brothers Grain Company,
this railroad, started in 1985, operates about 50 miles of former Rock
Island grain branch. To contact the AT&L; P. O. Box 29, Watonga,
Blackwell Northern Gateway Railroad: This privately-owned
shortline operates just over 35 miles of track Blackwell, Oklahoma and
Hunnewell, Kansas which is owned by the state of Oklahoma. The railroad
has interchange connections with both BNSF and UP.
Cimarron Valley Railroad: This shortline has been in operation since
1996 and is owned by the Western Group. It currently operates nearly
250 miles of track (originally owned by the Santa Fe) from Dodge City,
Kansas to Boise City, Oklahoma and Pritchett, Colorado.
Farmrail: As its name implies, this shortline serves
agricultural interests in western Oklahoma connecting such towns as
Clinton, Weatherford, Erick, and Elmer. The railroad also runs
excursion trains for the public during the summer months.
Grainbelt: This shortline is also operated by Farmrail and
connects Enid (where it interchanges with the Union Pacific and BNSF
Railway) with Frederick. For contact information please visit
Farmrail's site listed above.
Hollis & Eastern Railroad: The H&E dates back to the
late 1950s when local business owners took over trackage owned by the
Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad. Today, the railroad is owned by Eagle
Materials, Inc. and operates about 13 miles of trackage. To contact the
company; P. O. Drawer C, Duke, Oklahoma 73532.
Kiamichi Railroad: The Kiamichi Railroad is owned by Genesee & Wyoming, and operates more than 260 miles of track between Hope,
Arkansas and Lakeside, Oklahoma with branches reaching Antlers as well
as Paris, Texas.
Northwestern Oklahoma Railroad: This railroad is based in
Woodward, Oklahoma. For contact information; 923 12th Street, Woodward,
Sand Springs Railway: The historic Sand Springs Railway dates
back to 1911 and was once an interurban and electrically powered
although it switched to diesel locomotives in 1955. Today, the railroad
is owned by Gerdau Ameristeel and still operates between Sand Springs
and Tulsa, its original main line. To contact the railroad; 1650 South
81 West Avenue, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74127-4833.
Stillwater Central Railroad: Another Watco property this large
shortline operates more than 275 miles of track between Tulsa, Duke,
Pawnee, and Stillwater.
|Santa Fe GP60M #119, Burlington Northern SD40-2 #6778, and a BNSF C44-9W power a southbound mixed freight through a rural grade crossing and past a local grain elevator at Newkirk, Oklahoma on July 20, 2003.|
Texas, Oklahoma & Eastern Railroad: The TO&E is a
historic shortline dating back to 1910. Today, the railroad operates
between Valliant, Oklahoma and De Queen, Arkansas, where it is
headquartered and is owned by Patriot Rail Corporation. Currently the
railroad owns about 87 miles of track.
Tulsa-Sapulpa Union Railway: Another of Oklahoma's historic
railroads, the Tulsa-Sapulpa Union connects its namesake cities and
dates back to 1907.
Wichita, Tillman & Jackson Railway: The WT&J is
currently owned by the Rio Grande Pacific Corporation, running on trackage in
Texas and Oklahoma once owned by the Rock Island and Union Pacific.