Trip to Arkansas, Sept. 2010
Eureka Springs & North Arkansas Railroad
Sept. 9

Photos by Dave Ingles

The rain let up and eventually quit after we entered Arkansas. Our target today was the ES&NA tourist line. After lunch at the "Route 62 Diner" (food was about a B+) in Eureka Springs, we adjourned downhill to the railroad, with plenty of time to look around. The train is one coach behind an ex-C&EI SW1, and they turn the unit at each end, on an ex-Frisco turntable at the Eureka Springs depot, and on the wye at the junction 3 miles north, where the line used to go on east to Harrison and eventually the Mississippi River at Helena, Ark. To the west and north, the old Missouri & North Arkansas (later the A&O when truncated) went to Joplin, Mo., including a stretch of Frisco trackage rights on the line we'd ride Sunday on the A&M train.

ES&NA depot, exteriors and interiors

Many of the displayed photos are from Louis Marre's collection, many taken by the late Charles Winters of Kansas City, a longtime friend of Lou's and Mike's whom Mike reminds me was originally from Ft. Smith, Ark.

Mike points out Lou's photo of Dardanelle & Russellville Mogul 9, now at Wisconsin's Mid-Continent RR Museum, on one of its last days of operation in Dec. 1960 that Mike attended.

No. 201 is the ESNA's Panama Mogul, seen in the outside equipment photos to follow. Note the models of Cotton Belt 4-8-4 819 and the 201 at the left.

ES&NA runs a dinner train, a 2-hour ride covering 6 round-trip miles (!), but the line is suffering in the recession and may not have life many more years, as ridership has plummeted.

The steam engines haven't run here in many years.

After we boarded, they detached the SW1, ran around, and turned it on the turntable, which may have come from Fort Smith's roundhouse.

I shot Mogul No. 1 from the coach window as we pulled out. A 2-6-0 built 1906 by Baldwin Locomotive Works, Philadelphia, PA; serial #29588. It is a wood-burner weighing 75,000 lbs operating at 200 psi with 12,000 lb tractive effort. Built as Lufkin Land & Lumber Co 1. It became Shreveport Houston & Gulf RR 1 and transferred as Carter-Kelley Lumber Co 1 in 1913. It was sold as Carter 1 in 1936 and donated to Grigsby Foundation in 1970, It was leased as Scott & Bearskin RR 1 and later sold to Eureka Springs & North Arkansas as 1 in 1981. Retired in the late 1990s because of the expense of burning 1-1/2 to 2 cords of wood each workday. An expensive boiler re-build was also mandated by the state boiler inspector.

At the junction, the daisypicker passengers detrained to place pennies on the track while the SW1 wyed. Mike, Rick and I stayed on board. The "conductor" gave a very thoughtful and educational commentary during the run, not onerous at all like on some tourist pikes. The ENSA schedule called for 3 runs on this Thursday (they run Thurs-Sun), but this 2 pm run was the only one they'd make this day, account sparse patronage.

Our seats happened to be looking thru the only forest opening as the SW1 returned on the wye.

From Eureka Springs we went on down to Springdale, where we'd spend four nights in the Residence Inn, in two two-bedroom suites, joined by Chuck Weinstock on Friday for the weekend, as mileage collectors from all over the country came to "tour the entire line" of the A&M, the old Frisco Monett, Mo.-Fort Smith, Ark., route. Photos continued in part 3.

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