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Arkansas Short Line Railroads

Published: April 19, 2023

By: Adam Burns

Guide Information

Arkansas & Missouri Railroad

(reporting mark, AM):   The large A&M has been independently owned since it began service in 1986 over former Frisco property. 

The railroad currently operates nearly 140 miles between Fort Smith, Arkansas and Monett, Missouri.  It was long regarded as a haven of classic Alco road-switchers but has since acquired new Electro-Motive SD70ACe models. 

To the general public the A&M is a popular excursion railroad offering rides throughout much of the year.  The company's traffic base is highly diversified ranging from paper and lumber to food products and steel.

Arkansas-Oklahoma Railroad

(reporting mark, AOK):  See Oklahoma.

Arkansas, Louisiana & Mississippi Railroad

(reporting mark, ALM):  The AL&M is another G&W property, operating about 53 miles of track between Crossett, Arkansas and Monroe, Louisiana. 

The route's history dates back to 1906 and was for years owned by lumber interests, lastly by Georgia-Pacific.  In 2004 G&W purchased the AL&M and the railroad currently moves forest-based products as well as chemicals.

Arkansas Midland Railroad

(reporting mark, AKMD):  The Arkansas Midland was a long-owned Pinsly short line that operates seven disconnected corridors across the state totaling 125 miles in conjunction with allying-roads the Prescott & Northwestern and Warren & Saline River.  

In November of 2014 the road was acquired by Genesee & Wyoming.  The AM began in 1992 and its traffic base includes forest products, agriculture, aggregates, aluminum, chemicals, and building materials.

Arkansas Southern Railroad

(reporting mark, ARS): The Arkansas Southern is a Watco property that began service in 2005, leasing 61 miles from KCS via two disconnected lines (Waldron, Arkansas-Heavener, Oklahoma and Ashdown-Nashville).  Its traffic base is unknown.

Bauxite & Northern Railway

(reporting mark, BXN):  The small Bauxite & Northern can trace its history back to 1906 serving the area around Bauxite, Arkansas. 

For many years it was owned by the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa) but was acquired by RA in 2005.  Today, it is a G&W property operating 6 miles of track and hauls primarily alumina while it also handles a range of other tasks.

Dardanelle & Russellville Railroad

(reporting mark, DR):  This historic short line traces its roots back to the Dardanelle & Russellville Railway of 1883.  The system acquired its current name on January 13, 1900. 

It is currently owned by Arkansas Shortline Railroads, Inc. and operates about 5 miles from a Union Pacific interchange at Russellville to Dardanelle.  Its traffic base includes pulp-board, plastics, and forest products.

De Queen & Eastern Railroad

(reporting mark, DQE):  Another historic system, the De Queen & Eastern was first chartered on September 22, 1900.  It would eventually connect Perkins, Arkansas with Valliant, Oklahoma via De Queen. 

This main line is still operated today under Patriot Rail, which acquired the railroad from Weyerhaeuser in 2010 albeit now split as two separate railroads.  In total there currently about 91 miles in service (the DQ&E operates as far as the Arkansas state line) with traffic consisting of paper, forest products, grain, and gypsum board (drywall).

Delta Valley & Southern Railway

(reporting mark, DVS):  This small, independent short line operates just 2 miles of trackage around Wilson.  The property was originally built to serve the timber industry and later was owned by the Frisco. 

Today, it is under the direction of Lee Wilson & Company, of which DV&S is a subsidiary.  Just one locomotive is used, GE 45-tonner #50 that switches a local cotton processing plant whereby processed cottonseed is interchanged with BNSF.

East Camden & Highland Railroad

(reporting mark, EACH):  Also known as the EACH Railroad this operation has been in service since 1971 when it was incorporated to serve the Shumaker Ordnance Depot at East Camden, Arkansas. 

In total the railroad owns slightly more than 47 miles of track, interchanging with UP at Eagle Mills.  Its traffic consists of lumber, paper products, rubber, and chemicals.  The EACH also operates the Louisiana Army Ammunition Plant at Doyline, Louisiana.

El Dorado & Wesson Railway

(reporting mark, EDW): The historic ED&W traces its roots back to incorporation in 1905.  The road would eventually operate about 10.2 miles from El Dorado to Wesson but nearly 5 miles was abandoned back to Newell in 1959.  

Passenger service ended in 1953.  Today, the short line operates 5.5 miles with traffic consisting of petroleum products, chemicals, and medium density fiberboard.

Fordyce & Princeton Railroad

(reporting mark, FP):  The Fordyce & Princeton traces its history back to 1890 and currently operates 57 miles between Fordyce and Crossett.  For nearly its entire existence the F&P has moved forest based products and for years was owned by similar interests.  In 2004 Georgia-Pacific sold the system to G&W.

Fort Smith Railroad

(reporting mark, FSR):  This short line is a Pioneer Railcorp property, operating 18 miles between Fort Smith and Barling.  The line's history traces back to a Union Pacific branch, spun-off in 1991.  Its traffic currently includes iron/steel, frozen poultry, alcoholic beverages, sand, lumber, pulp board, peanuts, and military movements.

Kiamichi Railroad

(reporting mark, KRR):  This large short line operates 261 miles  of track (some of which is trackage rights) running from Hope, Arkansas to west of Durant, Oklahoma along the Red River.  There is also a north-south section running from Paris, Texas to Antlers, Oklahoma. 

The route's history traces back to the Frisco, when it was sold in 1987 by Burlington Northern.  RailAmerica acquired the property in 2002 from States Rail before being purchased by G&W in 2012.  Today, traffic consists of coal, lumber, aggregates, minerals, glass, paper, chemicals, cement, pulpwood, feed and food products.

Little Rock & Western Railway

(reporting mark, LRWN):  The LR&W operate on a section of the Rock Island's fabled Choctaw Route built by predecessor Choctaw, Oklahoma & Gulf.  It first began service in 1986 it currently operates about 79 miles from Danville, Arkansas to Little Rock.  Traffic includes animal feed, as well as food and forest products.

Little Rock Port Authority Railroad

(reporting mark, LRPA):  This locally owned operation has been in service since 1972 operating about 12 miles and connecting with the Port of Little Rock Industrial Park where several various businesses have rail service.  The railroad interchanges with both UP and BNSF.

Louisiana & North West Railroad

(reporting mark, LNW):  This historic line dates back to its founding in 1888.  The L&NW eventually grew to 124 miles between McNeil, Arkansas and Natchitoches, Louisiana but this was later cutback to Gibsland.  These 68 miles are still operated under Patriot Rail today, which acquired the property in 2008.

Missouri & Northern Arkansas Railroad

(reporting mark, MNA):  This regional system began in 1992, acquiring more than 102 miles from Union Pacific late that year.  For many years it was under RailAmerica before this company was purchased by G&W in 2012. 

Today, the M&NA operates nearly 600 miles of track, much of which is leased from UP and BNSF, extending from southeastern Missouri to northern Arkansas.  Its annual carloads exceed 100,000 and range from unit coal trains to general merchandise.

Ouachita Railroad

(reporting mark, OUCH):  This short line operates 26 miles between El Dorado, Arkansas and Lille, Louisiana.  It was originally a Rock Island branch, later operated by the South Central Arkansas Railroad from 1982 until the East Camden & Highland Railroad purchased the line in 1983. 

In 1990 it was sold to the Arkansas Short Line Railroads, which operates it as the Ouachita Railroad.  Its primary traffic includes lumber, chemicals, and particleboard.

Prescott & Northwestern Railroad

(reporting mark, PNW):  The historic P&NW was chartered in 1890 by the Ozan Lumber Company to serve timber interests north of Prescott. 

It eventually reached Daisy with branches serving Cheney and Martin.  Its primary traffic then was forest products but also carried perishables/agriculture and gypsum.  Today, only 5 miles of the original route are still in service and is a division of G&W.

Texas, Oklahoma & Eastern Railroad

(reporting mark, TOE):  The TO&E, also a Patriot Rail subsidiary, operates the other half of the original De Queen & Eastern main line from the Arkansas state line to Valliant, Oklahoma.  Its traffic base is predominantly forest products.

Warren & Saline River Railroad

(reporting mark, WSR):  This small short line dates back to 1920 and for many years was owned by the Potlatch Corporation.  Its traffic has always been forest-based (logs, lumber, etc.), which continues today.  

The road operates about 8 miles between Cloquet and Warren.  It was owned by Pinsly between 2010 and 2014 before the system was acquired by Genesee & Wyoming.

West Memphis Base Railroad

(reporting mark, WMBR):  This short line was launched after 2015 when a TIGER grant, worth 6.5 million, enabled 3.5 miles of track to be rebuilt to serve the Port of West Memphis. Current traffic includes steel, propane, non-hazardous and hazardous chemicals.  In addition, West Memphis Transload has tw0 terminals on the line.