Ozarks Family Vacation

Discussion in 'Ft. Smith Subdivision' started by trainchaser007, Apr 9, 2014.

  1. trainchaser007

    trainchaser007 Passed away September 22, 2017

    I've been to Eureka Springs, AR 4 times. My parents took me when I was 3 to ride the ES&NA excursion. My wife has been with me on my last 3 visits, once with me and my parents while we were dating, once on our honeymoon, and once more on our 10th anniversary. Needless to say, Eureka Springs is special to us.
    This summer, we plan on taking out kids to Eureka Springs (their first time). We plan on taking them to see The Great Passion Play, Silver Dollar City, and the ES&NA. In addition, we'll be taking an excursion on the A&M (first time for all of us) from Van Buren to Winslow and back on our way home. Having grown up on the former B'ham sub, I'm very excited to be taking my first ride on (former) Frisco rails.
    I have 2 questions about the ES&NA & the A&M. 1. Was the ES&NA's ROW just a former M&NA spur from the wye north of town that dead ended at Eureka Springs, or did the M&NA actually go through Eureka Springs from the Frisco connection at Segilman to reach Harrison and beyond? 2. Is Winslow Tunnel north or south of Winslow?
    If there is anything else anyone can tell me that might make our trip more enjoyable, please reply or PM me... especially Frisco or RR railroad related info. Thanks - Brandon
    P.S. - I know this part is way off topic, but if anyone knows if I can still get $30.00 Thursday tickets for Silver Dollar City at the Country Mart in West Branson or any other way, please let me know.
  2. tomd6

    tomd6 Passed Away February 11, 2018

    The ES& NA operates on what was the Eureka Springs Railway main line. The ST Louis & North Arkansas acquired the 18-mile Eureka Springs Railway in May 1899. It then built an additional 48 miles east from Eureka Springs, AR to Harrison, AR. Construction then headed southeast an additional 58 miles to Leslie, AR. where the railroad ran out of funds in 1903. The stretch between Eureka Springs, AR and Leslie, AR was very expensive to construct because of the many expensive cuts through the rocky terrain. The STLNA served an area that was lightly populated and had limited agricultural prospects. The road apparently hoped to survive by carrying bridge traffic between other railroads. This hope ended when the St. Louis & Iron Mountain Railway began construction of its White River Railway between Joplin ,MO and Newport,AR line in 1901.The White River Railway eliminated the prospect of significant bridge traffic from the largest railroad in Arkansas..

    The St. Louis & North Arkansas could not meet interest payments on its bonds. It was reorganized as the Missouri & North Arkansas Railroad in March 1906.
  3. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member


    The tunnel at Winslow is just south of town, around the last curve leaving Winslow. The tunnel can be viewed easily by entering the small park that's on the hillside above and east of the rails. The park overlooks the rails and the tunnel entrance.

    Have fun!
  4. William Jackson

    William Jackson Bill Jackson Frisco.org Supporter

    The tunnel is neat, but the bridges South of the tunnel is the real show. Its scary to go over, i've traversed it several times on MOW cranes and I can tell you it really makes you bite the seat. Once before I really knew how to use air brakes, I was just lucky, and was glad to get to the bottom, seven miles down to Rudy.
  5. tomd6

    tomd6 Passed Away February 11, 2018

    The bridges south of the Winslow Tunnel are trestles , not bridges, A trestle is composed of connected spans supported by bents: A Pile bent was driven into the ground normally by a steam operated driver. A frame bent normally rests rests on a concrete foundation.The Winslow trestles rest on steel frame bents.
  6. trainchaser007

    trainchaser007 Passed away September 22, 2017

    So... is that "18 miles" the segment from Eureka Springs to Segilman? Since the ES&NA operates on what was a mainline, are there any places on the south/east/SE end of Eureka Springs where the old RR bed is visible by car. If so, where exactly? Is the ES&NA's wye a genuine part of the old RR or did the ES&NA install it simply for turning around. If it was already there, where did the other east bound branch end?

    Did I read somewhere that the ES&NA uses a former Frisco diesel?
    Does the M&A still use ALCO's for excursions? I sure would like to see their RS-1 in action.
    I'm looking forward to riding the little Frisco train at Silver Dollar City also. Thanks for the replies so far.
  7. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Frisco.org Supporter

    The excursion line to Eureka Springs uses the original ES Rwy Main line. When the St & North Arkansas extended to the Southeast, it left the original line north of Eureka Springs at a point called Junction. Junction is the site of the present wye. Once the line was extended, the original line to Eurkeka Springs became a stub. A drive to Beaver is worth the effort for a view of the Narrows and the old steel bridge. The M&A RS-1 is now at the museum of transport in St Louis. The last M&A excursion train that I saw was handled by a C-420.

    I believe that the Frisco offered some technical expertise a to build the amusment park ride at Steal Your Dollar City. The Frisco also donated the rail and OTM as I recall. The park reciprocated by using the Frisco coonskin on the equipment.
  8. SteveM

    SteveM Member Frisco.org Supporter

    For more info on the various incarnations of the "original" M&NA, the museum in Harrison has a lot and might direct you to some parts of the ROW. Development has pretty well wiped out any trace of the old shops and yards in Harrison. The "new" M&NA serves Tysons at Bergmann, just to the north.
  9. FriscoFriend

    FriscoFriend Passed Away April 12, 2018 Frisco.org Supporter

    If you go to Eureka Springs definitely go to Beaver and see the Narrows. In fact if you want you can actually stay at the old market there which is now a B&B called The Beaver Town Inn. http://beavertowninn.com/. Many years ago a man named Reat Younger relayed track across the bridge and around the cliff on the west side of the road. That area was called "Poker Bluff" in the day and is a hiking trail now. The RR owned a small steam tank loco and a couple of old MP drovers cabooses. If you look carefully on the road going from Eureka Springs you can still see some of the small trestles. There was talk of connecting the two segments but there were too many landowners to deal with for one thing. The original Beaver depot is behind the Inn and was being used for storage the last time I was there.
  10. trainchaser007

    trainchaser007 Passed away September 22, 2017

    What exactly is "the Narrows?" By that do you mean the remains of the bridge I see on satellite view of google maps?
  11. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Frisco.org Supporter

  12. William Jackson

    William Jackson Bill Jackson Frisco.org Supporter

    OOP's, Karl, they are listing these as bridges, looks like a wood pile trestle, with a overhead through truss bridge. Ha Ha !
    gjslsffan and Karl like this.
  13. trainchaser007

    trainchaser007 Passed away September 22, 2017

    Nice images. I've never seen a cliff that tall AND that thin. That looks like something that could be restored and modified for a nice trail bridge... or trestle... or both:confused:, for pedestians, horse riding, bicycles, etc. We may go by there and check it out.
  14. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    Beaver AR is on Arkansas 187, which is a really neat, curvy road. It is very popular with motocyclists, and sports car enthusiasts. Some beautiful scenery.
  15. mvtelegrapher

    mvtelegrapher Member

    If you are interested in learning more about the original Missouri and North Arkansas I highly recomend reading "The North Arkansas Line" by James R. Fair, Jr. In my opinion one of the best railroad history books ever written. Also look at the thread on this site of the Arkansas and Ozarks railroad which was the name of the last operating section of the M&NA including the Eureka Springs branch. It was posted by Jeff Cooney and has some wonderful color photographs of the Narrows cut, White River bridge, etc. taken in the 1950's. My grandfather was a telegrapher for the M&NA and I still remember some of the stories he told of working for this railroad.

    John Chambers
  16. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    I wholeheartedly second what John said: "The North Arkansas Line" by Dr. James Fair Jr. is simply one of the best written, engaging rail histories I've ever read.

    The North Arkansas had it all! Some boom, a lot of bust, tragedy, humor, drama, conflict... even a lynching is in its history! The North Arkansas' history is almost like a Hollywood script. If you have ANY interest in the North Arkansas, you really owe it to yourself to find and purchase a copy of Dr. Fair's book. It's that good.
  17. Ozarktraveler

    Ozarktraveler Member Frisco.org Supporter

    For any wishing to drive the dirt road from Seligman MO to Beaver AR, which has views of the railroad r.o.w. and actually uses the r.o.w. as the road part of the time, know that flooding has washed out the road such that you can't go through all the way. (West of what is known locally as the Rock House and near the old John Sinclair place.) At least for now.
  18. Ozarktraveler

    Ozarktraveler Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Road has been restored and is open to traffic.
  19. FriscoCharlie

    FriscoCharlie Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    I love Eureka Springs. It's one of my favorite places in the world. Last year when I was there I was a little disappointed as I am not into gay pride celebrations or smoking dope. Too many good places are changing into things that I don't care for.
  20. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Ditto Charlie.

    Back in 2008 the wife and I returned to ES aboard our Harley. We hadn't really spent any time in ES since we lived at Huntsville, AR back in the mid-late 1980's. I spent quite a bit of time in ES during our Huntsville years for I worked extra for the ES&NA during that time. We had no idea the changes ES has undergone. Anyway, arriving at ES on our scooter in 2008, unbeknownst to us, it was a "diversity weekend". We saw more than we wanted.

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