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Thread: Arkansas & Missouri and other South-Central Shortlines

  1. #1

    Default Arkansas & Missouri and other South-Central Shortlines

    Last summer - June and September 2005 - I had to head out to Memphis for a couple weeks. So, I figured I'd just drive - skip the hassle of flying and hit up some interesting railroads on the way there and back. Of course the big objective was the Holy Grail of Alcos - the A&M. Despite my love of Alcos, I'd never made it down to the A&M. So, between the two trips, I put in about five days down there. Three days with the Monett Turn and a couple on the south end with passenger trains and one Fort Smith Turn. The A&M stuff itself consists of about 91 shots covering most of the line that's accessible by road, both regular road jobs, and all of the road's regularly scheduled summer passenger trains.

    As I started to put the trip report together, I realized I had a huge backlog of shortlines from the south-central region of the US - Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Most of it wasn't good enough or large enough to warrant its own trip report, but what if I threw it all together into one big one? So, this monster is the result. Six chapters of A&M action and eight more of fifteen other roads. Included are the Arkansas-Oklahoma, the Arkansas Midland, the Austin, Todd, and Ladd in Oklahoma, the Blacklands Railroad in Texas, the Dardanelle & Russellville in Arkansas, the Eureka Springs & North Arkansas, the Fredonia Valley Railroad in Kentucky, the Fort Smith Railroad, the Fort Worth & Western across Texas, the Kiamichi in Oklahoma, the Little Rock & Western in Arkansas, the Mississippi Central, the Mississippi Delta Railroad, the Mississippi & Skuna Valley, the Tennessee-Kentucky Railroad, various Watco bits around Coffeyville, KS, and the West Tennessee Railroad.

    (Apologies, while I did a cursory proofread, I've been working on this thing for almost a week and just wanted to get it posted last night at about 1:30am. So if you find any glaring stupidity or omissions in it, please let me know...)

    First, the link to the full thing:
    A&M and South-Central Shortlines Trip Report


    And now, a few highlights to whet your appetite from the A&M portion of things:

    The Monett Turn running very late out of Monett, MO, on 3-Jun-2005:

    The southbound Springdale to Van Buren passenger run just past Mountainburg on 4-Jun-2005:

    The returning Fort Smith Turn at Johnson:

    A returning Monett Turn about to pass under the highway at Butterfield:

    A Monett Turn on 11-Sep-2005, with eight (yup, count 'em!) Alcos/MLWs on the front, including two of the new M420Ws:

    A few highlights from the non-A&M parts:

    Here's an Arkansas Midland train on its way between West Helena, AR, and Lexa in mid-June:

    Ex-L&SI / West Tennessee RSD12 1851 at Trenton, TN, back in May 2003:

    A westbound Kiamichi in the RailAmerica era crossing Lake Raymond Gary just outside Fort Towsen, OK:

    The AOK's Super 7s (B23-7SR) switching around at Wilburton, OK:

    And as a final teaser photo, the Fort Worth & Western down near the Brownsville end of the line, headed back for Dublin in early Feb 2004:

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    Oh Man!!! Great Stuff!!!

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    Looking through your website... What happened to A&M 44's nose? Looks a bit crinkled... Grade crossing accident?

  4. #4


    Quote Originally Posted by finchpl
    Looking through your website... What happened to A&M 44's nose? Looks a bit crinkled... Grade crossing accident?
    I'm not sure, but that would be my guess. Both corners of the nose are crunched up a bit. Looking through photos on the web, it looks like it's happened within the last two years, but I can't find anything about what caused it.
    Last edited by NDHolmes; 01-19-2006 at 11:14 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Gambrills, MD


    Awesome pics Nathan. I'm especially loving those A&M photos. Great locos captured in great scenery!
    Tommy Warshaw III

    On Twitter: @EasternRailfan | My Flickr: T-3 Photography

    Canon 5D Mark II |17-40mm f/4L, 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS, 50mm f/1.8

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    Nathan, Sitting in a really boring meeting (thanks to wireless and a laptop), I got a chance to read your trip report... I enjoyed it throughly, and want to personally thank you for your writing and photo skills... Most enjoyable!!! Thanks!

  7. Default

    Thanks so muchh Nathan for sharing this terrific photo essay. I really enjoyed the Also images. The shot of the returning Fort Smith Turn at Johnson is truly spectacular.

    One question: Will A&M set up the ex-CN M420's to lead at some point?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Downers Grove, IL by the BNSF RaceTrack


    Great Catches!!!! A good way to see Alco's is go down South.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Plano, TX


    Great stuff! Thanks for sharing.

    A couple small nitpicks on your FWWR photo page--

    1. The west end of the FWWR Dublin Sub trackage is at Ricker, near Brownwood...not Brownsville. Brownsville is on the extreme southern tip of the state of Texas.

    2. Dublin is not really the "home" of Dr. Pepper -- Waco claims that honor. Dublin is the site of the first Dr. Pepper bottling plant, and it is the last one to still use cane sugar instead of corn syrup to sweeten the beverage. As a result, "Dublin Dr. Pepper" is much sweeter than the Dr. Pepper you pick up off the shelf anywhere else. (And once you try it, it's tough to go back to corn syrup!)

  10. #10


    Glad all of you have enjoyed it, and I appreciate the corrections and nitpicks both on here and back-channel. Changes made appropriately. That's what I get for writing and editing in the wee hours of the morning.


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