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A Short History of Arkansas Railroads and Train Picture Index

The Cairo, Arkansas and Texas Railroad built from the Missouri Arkansas state line to Newport in 1872, to Little Rock in 1873, and Texarkana in 1874. The railroad was converted to standard gauge in June 1879. It was merged into the Missouri Pacific in 1917.

The St. Louis Southwestern began as the narrow gauge Texas and St. Louis Railway. It built northeast from Texarkana and south from Malden, MO in 1882. The railroad closed the gap between Clarendon and Pine Bluff in 1883. The railroad was converted to standard gauge in 1886. The railroad was reorganized after bankruptcy as the St. Louis Southwestern Railway Company in 1891.

In 1926 MP added 171 GRS color light signals and 6 semaphore signals from Texarkana to Benton 112 miles. Also in 1926, it built a Saxby & Farmer mechanical interlocking with 29 working levers at Benton. In 1927 and 1928, it install signals from Bald Knob to Memphis, TN 91 miles, Bald Knob to Little Rock 56 miles, and Benton to Little Rock 23 miles. The MP's first CTC installation was Diaz, AR to FF 14 miles. The GRS machine was at Newport. In 1938 it completed the installation of CTC from Bradford to Bald Knob 9 miles. The GRS machine at Bald Knob had 9 levers to control 3 switches and 16 signals. In 1941, it installed GRS CTC between Hot Springs, AR and Etta. The GRS machine at Malvern had 29 levers controlling 13 switches on 25 miles of single track and three miles of double track. The addition of CTC from Etta to Gurden was completed February 1943. The addition of CTC from Knobel to Diaz was completed July 1943. The machine at Knoble controlled Hoxie to Knobel, while the machine at Newport controlled Hoxie to Diaz. The addition of CTC from Gurdon to Texarkana 60 miles was completed March 1944. The control machine was at Hope.

In 1931 the SSW started the first of its Blue Streak manifest freight trains. During World War II the SSW replace 85 pound rail with 112 pound rail between Illmo, MO and Mount Pleasant, TX. In 1943 SSW installed CTC between Illmo and Dexter. In 1945 it installed CTC between Fordyce and Lewisville 84 miles. The CTC machine was at Pine Bluff. As of July 1, 1946 SSW had no signals in the following areas where passenger trains exceeded 60mph and freight trains exceeded 50mph:
Dexter to Pine Bluff 233 miles 15-25 trains/day
Lewisville to Texarkana 29 miles 17 trains/day
Lewisville to Shreveport 62 miles 10 trains/day
Texarkana to Corsicana 202 miles 16-21 trains/day
Mt Pleasant to Dallas 133 miles 8-12 trains/day.
CTC continued to be added: between Lewisville and Gertrude in 1947, Brinkley to Pine Bluff in 1952, Pine Bluff to Gertrude and Dexter to Jonesboro in in 1953, Texarkana to Mount Pleasant, TX and Jonesboro to Brinkley in 1954, Mount Pleasant to Tyler, TX in 1955, and the last installation was Tyler to Corsicana in 1956. The SSW then had CTC in operation on over 752 miles of track from St. Louis to Corsicana. A hump yard was added at Pine Bluff in 1958. Pictures in this series are on disks 96 and 97.

MP train symbol HCZ at Homan

Bald Knob
UP at Texarkana
SSW at Brinkley
L&NW at McNeil
KCS at Texarkana

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