Eureka Springs and North Arkansas Railway

The Eureka Springs & North Arkansas Railway is a for-profit passenger tourist railway established by the late Robert Dortch, Jr. and his wife Mary Jane in 1981 in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. The railway offers excursion tours, a catered luncheon train and a catered dinner train - each lasting a little less than one hour, from April through October. [ Eureka Springs & North Arkansas Railway website] ] It operates along convert|2.5|mi of restored track right-of-way formerly belonging to the defunct Arkansas & Ozarks Railway Co - the last incarnation of the North Arkansas Line.Cragon (2005), p. 0] [Fair (1969), pp. 3, 35, 61, 189, 244]


The original railway chartered at the site in 1882 was the Eureka Springs Railway, extending from Seligman, Missouri, to Eureka Springs. In 1899, it became the St. Louis & North Arkansas Railroad Co.; in 1906, the Missouri & North Arkansas Railway Co.; in 1935, the Missouri & Arkansas Railway Co.; in 1949, the Arkansas & Ozarks - which closed in 1961. At the height of the North Arkansas Line's career, it extended convert|360|mi from Joplin, Missouri to Helena, Arkansas.

Robert Dortch, Sr. had established the Scott and Bearskin Lake Railroad as part of the Plantation Agriculture Museum near Scott, Arkansas, in the 1960s and after his death in 1978, his son closed it and began moving steam locomotives, rolling stock and trackage to the Victorian tourist destination Eureka Springs. [ [ Plantation Agriculture Museum - Encyclopedia of Arkansas ] ] [ [ News & Featured Releases: Arkansas Media Room ] ] He and his wife, Mary Jane, and sons David, John, and Robert set about restoring the historic stone depot, and re-building several trestles over Leatherwood Creek on the pike. A steel water tank was added, as well as a few outbuildings and a commissary adjacent to the old ice house/electric plant building to prepare meals for the luncheon and dinner trains. A 20-hp turntable from the Frisco railroad was installed near the original location of one used by the North Arkansas Line;Tolle (1992), p. 8] a wye at "Junction, Arkansas" enables the turning of a locomotive at the far end of the route.


#No. 1, a 2-6-0 (Mogul), built 1906, Baldwin Locomotive Works, Philadelphia, PA; serial #29588; wood-burner; convert|75000|lb|abbr=on; convert|200|psi|abbr=on; convert|12000|lb|abbr=on tractive effort. [Tolle (1992), pp. 4-6] 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.
#No. 201, a 2-6-0 (Mogul), built 1906, American Locomotive Company, Patterson, NJ; coal-burner converted to oil; convert|185|psi|abbr=on; convert|21000|lb|abbr=on tractive effort. [Tolle (1992), pp. 6-8] It is one of two known surviving locomotives that worked on the Panama Canal; originally built to 5-foot gauge. [ [ American Locomotive Company ] ] Retired early in the 21st century because a boiler re-build was mandated by the state boiler inspector.
#No. 226, a 2-8-2 (Mikado), built 1927, Baldwin Locomotive Works, Philadelphia, PA; coal-burner converted to oil; convert|180|psi|abbr=on (superheated); convert|200000|lb|abbr=on with tender. Has always been a "display" engine at the ES&NA; never restored to operating condition.
#No. 4742, an 0-4-4-0 first-generation diesel switcher, built 1942, Electro-Motive Division of General Motors, LaGrange, IL; serial #1379; diesel; convert|34000|lb|abbr=on tractive effort. The only remaining functional locomotive on-site; now handles both passenger excursion and luncheon/dinner trains.
#(un-numbered), an 0-4-0 narrow-gauge (24-inch) switcher, built 1935, Buescher & Sons, Berlin, Germany; coal-burner converted to oil. Used atop a sometimes-rotating sign to advertise the railway.At one time, the railroad owned and displayed #8, a two-truck Shay engine (serial #2977) built by the Lima Locomotive Works in 1918. It now resides as a static display at the Railway Historical Society of Northern New York, Croghan, NY, awaiting a boiler re-build. [ [ Welcome to the Railroad Society of Northern New York ] ]

Rolling stock

Six arch-roofed former Rock Island P-70 passenger coaches are used on-site. They are convert|80|ft long and weigh convert|92000|lb, originally designed to seat 100 people.Tolle (1992), p. 9] Two are static displays (a light-gray one - No. 2515 - used as a snack bar; a Tuscan red one -No. 2523 - used as an office). Two Kelly-green coaches - No.1, The Eurekan; and No. 2 - are dining cars. Two are excursion coaches; one maroon - No. 2560 - and the other Kelly-green - No. 2585 - (at one time, white with dark red trim). Another 80 ft Tuscan red clerestory-roofed combine is used for storage. A formerly-luxurious convert|75|ft|sing=on Georgia Northern passenger coach has fallen into disrepair in the yard.

Three cabooses, one wooden, are displayed. There are two tank cars, a pair of flat cars, a coal hopper, a cage car suitable for transporting and displaying circus or zoo animals, and five box cars - one of which is used as a commissary car on the luncheon/dinner trains.

There are at least three motorized yellow speeder maintenance cars (one still functional) on-site, as well as a 1951 Chevrolet track inspector's car.


The working yard - with many switches, lights, outbuildings, a functional electric-powered convert|75|ft|sing=on turntable and water tower - is punctuated with dozens of static displays: two steam-powered tractors, early gas-powered tractors, compressors, pumps, wheelsets, and assorted railroad paraphernalia - a two-man handcar, "tricycle"-type one-man handcar, bells, signals, and luggage carts. An engine house was planned and never built; a shed built to shelter the restoration of engine #226 was recently dismantled (2007).

The owners have long had hopes to extend the line east convert|3|mi to the old Missouri & North Arkansas tunnel and/or west convert|5|mi to Beaver, Arkansas through the Narrows, a gap in the rocky ridge short of the old railroad river bridge there.

Built in 1913, the depot is a repository for dozens of railroadiana items, including props which helped disguise the two Moguls as 1860s 4-4-0 American engines for the filming of scenes from the 1982 television mini-series "The Blue and the Gray."



*Tolle, Edwin R. (1992). "The Eureka Springs Railway: A Short-Line Railroad to a little town", 9 Deer Lane, Eureka Springs, AR 72632. (Viewable free in digital form at [ "The Eureka Springs Railway"] , accessed April 24, 2008.)
*Cragon, Harvey (2005). "The Eureka Springs Railway: An Automobile Tour Into the Past", 8600 Skyline Dr. #1102, Dallas, Texas 75243. ISBN 0-9743045-1-4.
*Fair, James R. (1969). "The North Arkansas Line", Howell-North Books, P.O. Box 3051, La Jolla CA 92038. ISBN 8310-7077-3.
*Hodge, Michael (2008). "The Encyclopedia of Arkansas", [ "Railroads"] , accessed April 18, 2008.
*State of Arkansas (2008) "The Encyclopedia of Arkansas", [ "Plantation Agriculture Museum"] , accessed April 18, 2008.
*Jason Parrie (2008) "The Arkansas Media Room", [ "Cotton History Rooted in Plantation Agriculture Museum"] , accessed April 18, 2008.
*Digital Creative Services (2002). [ "Eureka Springs & North Arkansas Railway site"] , accessed April 18, 2008.
*Cales, Paul. [ "NW Arkansas Rail Line: A nostalgic journey … Seligman, MO to Harrison AR"] , accessed April 24, 2008.
*McLaughlin, William P. (1999). [ "ICC Locomotive 201, Eureka Springs, Arkansas"] , accessed April 24, 2008.


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