Arkansas and Missouri Railroad
|Dates of operation||1986–|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
The A & M, as it is known, operates 139.5 miles (224.5 km) of line from Fort Smith, Arkansas to Monett, Missouri. The railroad interchanges freight cars with Kansas City Southern Railway at Fort Smith, with Union Pacific Railroad at Van Buren, Arkansas and with BNSF Railway at Monett, MO. A branch line connects Bentonville, Arkansas, with the main line at Rogers, Arkansas. A & M also leases 3.2 miles (5.1 km) of track (locally known as "the Bottoms") from Union Pacific at Van Buren, and provides haulage services for Union Pacific between Van Buren and the Fort Smith Railroad in Fort Smith.
Operations are based out of the headquarters location in Springdale as well as Fort Smith. Freight customers are predominantly located in those two geographic areas. The rail line was substantially upgraded between 2002 and 2005 and features continuous welded rail across its entire main line. The line handles 286,000 lb (130,000 kg) railcars and has vertical clearances sufficient for double-stack intermodal cars throughout. Most traffic is handled in scheduled freight trains although shuttle trains of corn make regular appearances in the Springdale area using locomotives from Union Pacific. Freight services operate seven days per week.
The company also operates seasonal excursion trains between Springdale, Winslow and Van Buren, Arkansas. Trains generally operate Friday and Saturday from April to November. The route features a tunnel and several major trestles as it passes through the Boston Mountains. Additional trains operate Sundays between Springdale and Fort Smith, Arkansas in the summer. Special trains operate in the October - November fall foliage season and at other times of the year.
On October 16, 2014, an A&M locomotive and excursion train collided near Brentwood, Arkansas, injuring 2 of 44 people from both trains. Initial news reports were grossly erronous. Excursion train services resumed on October 23, 2014 and the 12th Annual Children's Christmas Train raised $48,000 for the Children's Safety Center in Springdale, Arkansas
The line was built between 1880 and 1882 by the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway ("Frisco"), a predecessor of Burlington Northern Railroad, and was leased by the latter to the Arkansas and Missouri in 1986. The company completed purchase of the property in early 2001. The lease of Union Pacific trackage in an area known as "the Bottoms" occurred in 2000. The railroad serves numerous warehouse and transload facilities, as well as port facilities on the Arkansas River in Fort Smith and Van Buren.
The company also used to use an all-Alco/MLW locomotive fleet for switching and excursion operations. The fleet consisted of C-420s, T-6s, C-424s, M-420s, and one each RS-32, HR-412, and RS-1 until 2013 when the railroad acquired 3 SD70ACe's from EMD.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Arkansas and Missouri Railroad.|
- Arkansas & Missouri Railroad Website
- BNSF Railway Website with A & M Details[dead link]
- Union Pacific Website with A & M Details
- http://www.amrailroad.com Arkansas & Missouri Railroad Website
- "Washington County Train Derailment Critically Injures 5", KARK-TV, 2014-10-16. Retrieved 2014-10-17