Ft. Smith/Van Buren Railroaders

Frisco Ft Smith Light & Traction Kansas City Southern
Midland Valley Missouri Pacific
Contributed by
John Dill

Mike Condren Photo
MP Brakeman Oscar Whitson, March 27, 1960, his last trip north. Mr. Whitson lived in the apartment across the hall from us when I was a kid. At that time he worked as a brakeman on the local freight to Greenwood, AR. When that job was abolished and the line abandoned, he became the brakeman on the passenger train to Coffeyville, KS. On the last trip into Van Buren, he invited me to ride from the Van Buren station to the Yard Office. At the yard office, the crew had their photo taken, see below.

Mike Condren Collection
The last crew on a Missouri Pacific passenger train on the Central Division, Wagoner Subdivision, March 28, 1960. The photo was taken at the Yard Office, Van Buren after the completion of their last rip. Left to right: Earl Hollaway, engineer; Vernon Muck, fireman; Paul DuVal, conductor; Oscar Whitson, brakeman; and Emory May, porter. The position of porter on a passenger train fullfilled the Arkansas Full Crew requirement. North bound, the porter worked from Van Buren through Greenwood Jct.,OK to Ft. Smith and back to Greenwood Jct. This was a total distance of less that 20 miles. The porter would then wait for the next south bound passenger train, deadhead on a freight train, or call a taxi. For freight trains, the trip was shorter, more like 5 miles from the Van Buren Yard Office to Greenwood Jct.

Contributed by H. E. Huber
Although I do not believe either of these fellows ever worked for a railroad in Ft. Smith, they deserve to appear on this page for their contribution to the preservation of railroad history. Here we see life-long friends Charles Winters and Herb Huber. Charles worked for the Wabash Railroad in KC after returning from WWII.

Contributed by H.E.Huber
An earlier shot of Charles Winters in his office in Kansas City, apparently working on a Fort Smith & Western porject.

Kansas City Star death notices: Published in the Kansas City Star on 3/1/2006.
Charles Edward Winters, IV, passed away February 24, 2006, at Liberty Hospital, surrounded by his family and holding the hand of his beloved wife, Ann. He was born to Charles Edward Winters, III, and Janet Lamina Matlock on March 8, 1927. He married Ann Kathryn Pollard in 1947. Charles served in the Army during WWII, and worked as a switchman for the Wabash RR, which later became the Norfolk & Southern. Receiving his BA in history from UMKC. Charles was an avid opera buff. He photographed steam locomotives throughout the Midwest in the 30's, 40's, and 50's, and had an extensive collection of steam locomotive negatives and memorabilia. He has performed extensive research on the Ft. Smith and Western Railroad, and has authored scholarly treaties on steam locomotive and trolley history. Rail historians nationwide commonly reference his works and compilations of steam locomotive photos usually include at least one of his shots. He was a founding member of the Ft. Smith Trolley Museum. Charles was preceded in death by his parents; his son, Charles Edward Winters, V; his granddaughter, Elizabeth D. Winters; and his grandson-in-law, Nicholas Eugene Lane. He is survived by his wife, Ann; his daughter and son-in-law, Christine and Joe Garrett; his daughter, Carolyn W. Poulin; his grandchildren, Charles Edward Winters, VI, and wife Katie Lane of Kansas City, and Luke Garrett and his wife Crystal of Olympia, WA; and great-grandchildren, Tommy, Nickie, Mark, and Kelly. The family suggests contributions to the Ft. Smith Trolley Museum, 100 South 4th, Ft. Smith, AR 72901.

This site is maintained by the Arkansas Boston Mountains Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society located in Springdale, Arkansas
For questions, email arkyrail at outlook.com