Chester, AR: Division Point Years?

Discussion in 'Ft. Smith Subdivision' started by Coonskin, Jul 9, 2012.

  1. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    It's been my understanding that originally Chester was the Division Point for the Fort Smith Subdivision. IF this understanding is correct, does anyone know what YEARS Chester was the Division Point?

    Would it have been the years prior to the opening of the Arkansas River Bridge at Van Buren, which would likely have ocassioned the moving of the Division Point to Fort Smith once the bridge was opened for traffic?

    Any input would be appreciated!


  2. tomd6

    tomd6 Passed Away February 11, 2018

    The division point at Chester, AR was moved to Fort Smith in 1897 according to the 1897 Annual Report. I would speculate the Chester division point started about 1882 when the Winslow Tunnel entered service.
  3. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Thank you very much Tom.

    Do you have any insight as to how the divisions were operated? Was a subdivision from Monett to Chester? If that's so, then from Chester to... ?? (Talihina?)

    The oldest Employee Time Table I have access to is 1898... one year after the change. Drat.

    Thanks again for your input... you're always so very helpful!

  4. tomd6

    tomd6 Passed Away February 11, 2018

    I do not have any ETT's of that vintage. However at one time Rogers, AR was division point complete with a round house. I am wondering if there might have been subdivisions of Pierce City -Rogers, Rogers- Chester and Chester -Fort Smith. I do know that all Central Division trains began to originate at Monett in July 1887. Perhaps the Frisco eliminated Rogers as a division point at that time. This would have made a run from Monett to Chester of 104 miles. I have always thought that in the days of steam the basis of pay was a run of 100 miles more or less.
  5. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Hi Again Tom:

    Once again, thank you very much for taking time to offer input and share from your findings. A few comments...

    "However at one time Rogers, AR was a division point complete with a round house."

    Wow. This is news to me. Very interesting. I would be inclined to agree with your reasoning in regards to the early sub divisions. Makes sense that as the Monett, MO - Paris, TX line continued to extend south, operational practices also changed.

    As for the basic 100 mile day. I am not familar with WHEN that begin to be adapted. I "think" it was Union-originated? I do know that early on during the explosive expansion periond in railroading (1870's on up until rules/laws begin to be enacted), there were no hours of service laws/rules, nor was there regard for seniority districts. (Meaning you could run end-to-end across subs.) I simply do not know when such things as the 100 mile "Basic Day", or 18/16 hour day "hours of service" laws went into effect.

    Thus far, most of my personal research/etc has been from about Fort Smith to Fayette Jct/Fayetteville, as well as south into the "Coal Belt" (Sebastian County, AR). I am enjoying learning more about the early Frisco north of Fayetteville to Monett. I'm also enjoying learning more about the expansion, and their operations, south of Fort Smith into Indian Territory. Shucks... I just enjoy learning about Frisco's Fort Smith Sub... and now the Arthur Sub!

  6. slsf580

    slsf580 Member

    I believe the roundhouse Tom mentions in Rogers belonged to the Kansas City & Memphis Railroad. I have never seen any evidence of a Frisco roundhouse in Rogers.
  7. tomd6

    tomd6 Passed Away February 11, 2018

    Rogers had two roundhouse:s the first being a Frisco roundhouse that existed from circa 1880 to 1887(?) as evidenced by a 1900 lawsuit between the Arkansas & Oklahoma Railroad and the Frisco(Federal Reporter, Volume 103 West Publishing Co -St Paul-1900) the second being a three stall roundhouse built by the Arkansas & Oklahoma Western, a predecessor of the Kansas City & Memphis Railway.
  8. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    A very interesting exchange!

    Right now, I'm laying track south to Talihina, I.T. (Currently, the rails are about 4 miles south of Wister, I.T.) When finished south, I intend to return to the north and lay the track at Rogers and head north. Thus, this is very timely information. Thanks!

    To give you an idea of just what I'm doing, click this link to a thread, and look at the picture in Post #7.!

  9. William Jackson

    William Jackson Bill Jackson Supporter

    In about 1981, the powers in charge divided the two steel gangs and sent gang two to Wister. They removed the spikes and the rail pickup machine was used to take up the rail between Antlers and Wister. I worked on part of the pickup.
    Bill Jackson
  10. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Hello Bill:

    Those were sad days indeed. I've never been on a train over the rails south of Poteau. I had the opportunity, but didn't have the ocassion. My loss. It was a sad sight to see a train of gondolas headed north with scrap rail from the South Line. I was on a scrap rail train (in the caboose) from Poteau to Ft. Smith around the early 80's... and again... a melancholy experience.


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