Dardanelle and Russellville Railroad
ALCO S-3 #19 undergoing maintenance in 2011
|Dates of operation||1883–|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)|
DR operates a 4.8 mile line in Arkansas from Russellville (where it interchanges with Union Pacific) to a point beside the Arkansas River, across from Dardanelle, Arkansas. Current DR traffic generally consists of pulp board, plastics, and forest products. DR is currently owned by Arkansas Shortline Railroads, Inc., a short-line railroad holding company.
The line was initially chartered as the Dardanelle & Russellville Railway, and train operations began in August 1883. After undergoing reorganization in 1900, operations continued as the Dardanelle & Russellville Railroad. When originally constructed, the railroad carried cotton and other agricultural products. The predominant traffic shifted to coal by 1900, thanks to extensive semi-anthracite coal production along the railroad. Coal production along the D&R ended in the mid-1950s when the last underground mines of McAlester Fuel Company were closed.
At one time, the railroad owned the Dardanelle Pontoon Bridge and Turnpike Company, which operated a pontoon bridge (for wagons and later automobiles, not trains) across the Arkansas River at Dardanelle. The D&R was also a leader in the trend for railroads to branch into other transportation modes, owning a highway subsidiary from 1919-1960. The highway subsidiary, Dardanelle Transfer Company, operated both bus and truck service over an expanded territory much larger than was served by the railroad itself.