G.C.&S.F. NORTHERN DIVISION - RINGLING DISTRICT
The Ringling district and branch to Healdton were constructed by the Oklahoma, New Mexico, & Pacific. Apparently Ringling gets its name from the brother of Ringling of circus fame. The circus fared much better than the railroad. The lofty goals of the corporate title were never realized. The Santa Fe realized that the oil fields would be a good source of revenue and purchased this line and the branch to Healdton in ???. The Santa Fe operated this line for many years as a broken down oilfield branchline following its purchase.
One town which is of great intrest on this line is Healdton. Healdton is synonomous with oil in Oklahoma and the Santa Fe apparently saw value in this venture. The oil fields around Healdton were rich with black gold. The railroad has been nick-named many times. Two of the names were the Oil Fields Railroad and the Ringling Railroad. As a further note of trivia, Healdton is also known as the home of Chuck Norris.
The branch to Healdton made the operation of this line interesting. A mixed train, No. 311, would leave Ardmore at 8:00AM and run to Cobalt Junction westward (timetable Southward.) The train would then run Northward (timetable Southward) to Healdton as No. 315. After switching Healdton the train would return Southward (Timetable Northward) to Cobalt Junction as No. 314. The train would then continue west to Ringling as Southward No. 311. The train would then turn in Ringling and run Eastbound (timetable Northbound) to Ardmore as No. 310.
Many of the other towns on this line are in decline due to the decline of the oil industry in the state of Oklahoma. There may be upto three depots left on this line. Ringling and Ardmore are still in place on their original site. Healdton is reported to still be standing.
The line was abandoned on December 21, 1976. The last train was photographed at Cobalt Junction and is included in Joe McMillian's 1998 Santa Fe calendar.
Timetable from November 29, 1942