The Cattle Car Has Landed!

The partially restored Santa Fe cattle car is set in place on the depot display track on January 17, 2018.

The train display at Bartlesville’s downtown depot has been expanded with the January 2018 arrival of a cattle car dating from the 1920s.

The car, which is in the process of being restored, had been located on the grounds of the Osage County Historical Society (OCHS) in Pawhuska since 1969.

The Friends of the 940, the local volunteer group responsible for the depot display, arranged for the City of Bartlesville to obtain the car under a 25-year renewable lease with the OCHS.

The goal is to restore the car as closely as possible its original appearance, according to Dan Droege of the Friends group. The project is expected to be completed by the end of year.

The 40-foot-long car was first built as a box car in the period 1923-25. Around 1947 it was converted to a stock car, basically by replacing the solid wood sides with wood slats to allow ventilation for the animals inside. The car’s ends and roof are steel.

Before the move to Bartlesville, the car underwent expensive metal repairs in Pawhuska so it could safely make the 25-mile journey to Bartlesville, which was handled by Taylor Crane & Rigging of Coffeyville.

The one-day move went smoothly, and the car has been placed for the time being at the north end of the display track, where restoration will continue behind a temporary chain link fence.

According to Droege, the next restoration steps will be replacing the wooden car floor, followed by the car’s wood slat sides. Painting and lettering the car will follow.

Randi Olsen, another volunteer with the project, noted that “nothing is simple” with restoration projects of this nature.

“The wood for the floor, for example, had to be custom-cut because the 74 boards needed are not of a standard size,” he said. “Consequently, we’ve invested about $4,000 in the lumber alone to make sure the new floor is nearly identical to the original.”

Randi and Clarice Olsen were among first to examine the 1920s vintage railroad car just added to Bartlesville Depot Train Display.

When restoration is completed, the train will be uncoupled just behind the locomotive’s tender, separated and the cattle car moved into place by crane.

Joyce Lyons, OCHS president, said, “The society is grateful that the Friends of the 940 came to us with the expertise and the means to restore this vintage railroad car and place it in a location where so many people will be able to enjoy it,” said

As part of the lease agreement, a large information panel will be placed next to the cattle car acknowledging the generosity and cooperation of the OCHS.

At one time, large cattle loading pens were located both in downtown Pawhuska and Bartlesville served by the Santa Fe and Missouri-Kansas-Texas railroads. Thousands of cars were loaded annually with cattle and other livestock from area ranches.

The Friends of the 940 spearheaded the relocation of Santa Fe steam locomotive No. 940 from Johnstone Park to the Bartlesville Depot in 2009. Since then the group has purchased and restored the Santa Fe caboose and the “Flying A” Associated Oil tank car now on the display track.

New Benches Ready for Use!

Three custom-made benches have been installed at the Depot Train Display. One bench is in front of the video kiosk, another alongside theMichele B. with Bench locomotive and the third next to the caboose. The benches, designed and built by Iron Horse Metal Works of Bartlesville (in photo), are partially constructed of old railroad spikes that were discarded and found along the railroad right-of-way through the city. The backs of the benches feature the logos of the two railroads that once provided both major passenger and freight service to the community — the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe (ATSF or “Santa Fe”) and the Missouri, Kansas and Texas (“M-K-T” or “Katy”).

The benches provide ideal spots to sit and enjoy the video at the kiosk or to watch children and grandchildren play in the cab of ATSF steamer No. 940 or the platform on ATSF caboose No. 2259.



Unveiling of the Depot Train Display Donor Recognition Bricks — May 23, 2015.

Tax-deductible donations can be made anytime to the Depot Train Display through the Bartlesville Community Foundation. Gifts of $250 or more will receive a brick with the donor’s personalized inscription placed in a new Donor Recognition Area directly in front of the locomotive. All contributors of $100 or more also will receive a 940 T-shirt. Contributions can be made online through the BCF direct donation website.

Donors will be acknowledged in the following manner:

  • Donations of $250 or more receive a 4×8-inch inscribed brick.
  • Donations of $500 or more receive an 8×8-inch inscribed brick. 
  • Donations of $1,000 or more receive a 12×12-inch inscribed brick. 
  • Each donor of $250 and above also will receive a T-shirt bearing a photo of locomotive No. 940.
  • Any contributor giving $100-$249 will receive the locomotive No. 940 T-shirt.

Contributions also can be mailed to the “Friends of AT&SF No. 940 Fund” at the Bartlesville Community Foundation, 208 E Fourth St., Bartlesville, OK 74003.