Midland Valley Railroad

The Midland Valley Railroad (MV) was incorporated on June 4, 1903 for the purpose of building a line from Hope, Arkansas, through Muskogee and Tulsa, Oklahoma to Wichita, Kansas. It was backed by C. Jared Ingersoll, a Philadelphia industrialist who owned coal mining properties in Indian Territory (now part of the state of Oklahoma).[1] The railroad took its name from Midland, Arkansas, a coal mining town in western Arkansas, which was served by the railroad.[lower-alpha 1] The Midland Valley gained access to Fort Smith, Arkansas via trackage rights over the Frisco from Rock Island, Oklahoma.

Midland Valley Railroad
Midland Valley R.R. map
Reporting markMV
LocaleArkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma
Dates of operation19031964
SuccessorTexas and Pacific
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
HeadquartersMuskogee, Oklahoma

In 1967, the Midland Valley Railroad was merged into the Texas & Pacific Railroad, which was absorbed by the Missouri Pacific Railroad in 1983. Midland Valley is now extinct.


MV reached Tulsa in 1904, and completed construction of its initial system in 1906 upon reaching Arkansas City, Kansas. The same year it opened a branch to the Glenn Pool oil field, which generated a lot of traffic and stimulated MV's revenues. MV extended that line as far as Kiefer, but closed the Glenn Pool-Kiefer section in 1936. Wichita, Kansas was reached in 1911, with the lease of the Wichita and Midland Valley railroad. Service to Wichita ended in 1966, and the northern section of the road was pared back to Barnsdall, Oklahoma. Passenger service ended in 1934. Competition from other railroads caused a decline in MV's fortunes, especially during the Great Depression.[2]

Muskogee, Oklahoma, was home to the Midland Valley's headquarters and shops. In 1925, the Midland Valley acquired the Kansas, Oklahoma and Gulf Railway. Both railroads were owned by the Muskogee Company, a holding company, which purchased a third railroad Oklahoma City-Ada-Atoka Railway in 1929. Muskogee Company was headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[2]

End of the line

All three railroads were operated as more or less common property by the Muskogee Company until sale of all three to the Missouri Pacific Railroad (MoPac) in 1964. The Midland Valley was merged into the Texas & Pacific Railroad (T&P), a MoPac subsidiary on April 1, 1967. MoPac merged into the Union Pacific Railroad (UP) in 1983.[1] Operated as branchlines for a number of years, most of the Midland Valley has now been abandoned.[2]

But much of the former route has been converted from rail to trail, such as the 14.5 mile Osage Prairie Trail between Tulsa and Skiatook.[3]


  1. The railroad also adopted the slogan, "Arkansas River Route," because much of its length paralleled that river between Wichita, Kansas and Fort Smith.[1]


  1. "Midland Valley Depot in Pawhuska, OK." Accessed May 11, 2015.
  2. Augustus J. Veenendaal, Jr., "Midland Valley Railroad," Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. Accessed May 11, 2015.
  3. "Osage Prairie Trail". Rails to Trails Conservancy (US). Retrieved October 23, 2019.

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