Branson Scenic Railway

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Passengers boarding the train at the depot in downtown Branson.
A view of the EMD F9 A unit powering the northbound end of the train.

The Branson Scenic Railway is a heritage railroad in Branson, Missouri. The trains depart from a historic depot in downtown Branson and operate in the scenic Ozark Mountains for an approximate 40-mile (64 km) round trip.

As the underlying rail lines are owned by the Missouri and Northern Arkansas Railroad (MNA) and are still in use as an active railroad, MNA traffic determines whether a particular trip will operate northbound from Branson to Galena, Missouri, or southbound from Branson to the Barren Fork Trestle in Arkansas.

Equipment[edit]

The railroad operates a variety of vintage railroad equipment, including two dome cars, a dining car, and several coaches built by the Budd Company.

Motive Power:

On the Northbound end, EMD F7 A unit, built in January 1951 for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad as their number 369 in order #6161 with a serial number of 12668 and frame number 6161-A23. The locomotive also served in Maryland with MARC before becoming the Branson Scenic 98.
On the Southbound end of the train is an EMD GP30. This locomotive was built in January 1963 for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad as their number 6973 in order 7631 with a serial number of 27690 and frame number 7631-46. This locomotive also worked for the CSX Railroad before becoming the Branson Scenic 4265 before being renumbered to 99.
This arrangement makes it possible to make the return trip without having to use a wye junction or a passing siding.:

Passenger Cars:

"Silver Garden"
Built by the Budd Company on job 9657-112 ordered by the Chicago Burlington & Quincy Railroad in March 1951 and delivered in December 1952. It was built as Dome, Buffet, Lounge number 320 for the Kansas City Zephyr. In addition to the 24 dome seats, there was a coffee shop that seated 17 passengers in front of the dome and, under the dome was a 6 seat lounge with buffet. A 24 seat coach section was behind the dome with a conductor's seat. With the Burlington northern merger the car was to be assigned BN 1100 but, was sold to Amtrak and became their 9800. It was retired in 1977 and, sold to Gerome Bulock of Building Leasing Corporation and, then in 1987 was sold to Tom Johnson of Rail Dome Corporation becoming the RDCX 320 (AMTK 800287) and now operates on the Branson Scenic Railway.
"Silver Terrace":
Built by the Budd Company in 1952 for the Chicago Burlington & Quincy Railroad as their number 365 for the Kansas City Zephyr. It is a blunt end Observation Dome Parlor car. After the 1970 merger into the Burlington Northern it was to be numbered BN 1192, it became Amtrak 9320. After retirement from Amtrak it was sold and, eventually came to the Branson Scenic as their #9320.
"Westport"
Build for the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad as their 251, a blunt end Observation Tavern car, the Westport became the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad 5830 and, then Amtrak 3330 before being purchased by the Heritage Rail Corporation.
"Silver Lake"
This car was built for the Pennsylvania Railroad as a parlor car and, after purchase by Amtrak was remodeled into a lounge. After being retired from Amtrak it found its was to the Branson Scenic.
"Silver Chef"
This car was built for the Chicago Burlington & Quincy as a diner by the Budd Company on Job 9624-169, ordered in February 1955, delivered in October 1956. The Budd Job was for two diners for the CB&Q's Denver Zephyr, number 201, named the SILVER CHEF, and number 202, named the SILVER TUREEN. The 201 was to become the BN 1165 after the merger. It was sold to Amtrak becoming their 8054. After conversion to HEP it was renumbered 8503. It was retired and came to the Branson Scienic as their 8503.
"Silver Island"
This car was also built by Budd for the CB&Q possibly for the California Zephryr. It ended up as Amtrak 9540 before coming to the Branson Scenic.
"461"
Appears to be a Budd car. Unknown history but, possibly was Southern Pacific due to the round window in side.
"1617"
A smooth side Baggage Dorm car built by Saint Louis Car company in 1953 for the US military as Ambulance car USAX 89558. Served on Amtrak as 1420 prior to being converted to HEP and renumbered 1617 before coming to Branson Scenic.
"1627"
This car was built by Budd for the Atlantic Coast Line as ACL 107. It became SCL 5020. After it was sold to Amtrak it became their 1520 and, after conversion to HEP was renumbered 1627 before retiring and,coming to the Branson Scenic.
"1433"
This car was built in 1986 by Thrall for Amtrak as a Material Handling Car (MHC), akin to an Express Boxcar for higher speed trains up to 79 MPH. All the cars were retired from Amtrak and sold off. This one landing here.

History[edit]

The railroad was originally built as the White River Railway between 1902 and 1905. Because of the rugged terrain of the Ozarks, a number of trestles and tunnels were required in order to create a level railroad grade. The lines later became part of the Missouri Pacific Railroad, and in 1992 were sold to MNA.

References[edit]

Coordinates: 36°38′37″N 93°12′54″W / 36.64370°N 93.21488°W / 36.64370; -93.21488