Some Shots from Arkansas - 3-12-2019
Spring Break for our schools was this week. I was not able to get time off other than my rest days of Monday and Tuesday so my wife and I picked a close destination to go with our kids. Hot Springs, Arkansas it was! We drove there after my shift on Sunday and spent all day Monday in town looking around. Jacob and Kate had a blast! There were several hikes, tours of bath houses, hot springs, and great food. I even had a double Templeton Rye Whiskey neat at the Ohio Club, both favorites of Al Capone....
Tuesday was a leisurely departure from downtown Hot Springs. After lunch we went to the Garvan Woodland Gardens and spent quite a bit of time walking around. We would definitely go back! Of course I had made a list of railroad photo locations to see and managed to check two of them off the list on the way back home.
The above photos were taken at the Arkansas Midland (AKMD) shop and transload facility in Jones Mills, AR. Originally built as the Hot Springs Railroad in 1875, this line would become part of the Rock Island before becoming the Arkansas Midland which would incorporate seven isolated branch lines in Arkansas. One of these branches runs from the Union Pacific at Malvern, AR to Hot Springs and Mountain Pine. The AKMD was acquired by shortline giant Genesee and Wyoming in 2014.
It just so happens that the drive to Hot Springs follows this line! There are many photo locations that caught my eye. We stopped briefly at Jones Mills. There we found AKMD GP35s 2503 and 2504 along with recently painted LRWN GP38-3 2150. The Little Rock and Western (LRWN) is a separate Arkansas short line railroad that was picked up by Genesee and Wyoming in 2005. This place has great character!
Then it was onto the next stop--Malvern, Arkansas.
Still standing in Malvern is the 1887 roundhouse that was built by the Hot Springs Railroad. This 132-year-old structure was built as a five-stall narrow gauge roundhouse to service the locomotives of this railroad which branched off from the Iron Mountain (Missouri Pacific and later Union Pacific) and connected Hot Springs with the modern world!
It is simply amazing that this structure is still standing. From the looks of it, I would say its days are numbered. The button below will take you to a web page on the Arkansas Railroad History site with more information about the Malvern Roundhouse.
While I was photographing the roundhouse, eastbound Union Pacific Laredo, Texas to Yard Center, Illinois intermodal train ILDYC-10 passed by. Today the Arkansas Midland operates the branch and interchanges with the Union Pacific in Malvern. I took a few more shots around the yard before heading back home.