Northwest Arkansas Steam Locomotives

Northwest Arkansas is the home of Walmart, J.B. Hunt, Tyson Foods and no steam locomotives. However, if you drive about one hour in most any direction, you are able to see one.


Porland Cement #10 photo by Wes Barris.

Bellefonte - Rusty Wheels Old Engine Club

The locomotive displayed at the Rusty Wheels Old Engine Club was built by Baldwin in 1919 as number 10 for the Portland Cement Company in Petoskey, MI. In 1955 Portland Cement merged with Penn-Dixie Cement.

In 1965 the locomotive was sold to Kenneth Stanaback of Grand Rapids, MI. When Ken receive the locomotive, it may have been an 0-6-0T. He removed the saddle tank and added a pony truck. During the 17 years that Kenneth owned the locomotive, he refurbished it to like-new condition. He single-handedly, reflued the boiler and it retested perfectly. He replaced all the old water lines with new piping. He found some used trucks and built a coal tender for it (he received it sans tender). He removed the old dilapidated cab and built a new one. He never got the chance to build a proper-looking cow-catcher. The red one seen in this photo was added by a subsequent owner. Ken had plans to run the locomotive on excursions to a suburb of Grand Rapids. However, because of the difficulty in obtaining insurance, those plans never materialized.

In 1982, because of a lack of space, Kenneth had no choice but to donate the locomotive to Reat and Dreat Younger of Springfield, MO (other brothers Cleat and Gleat were not part of the railroad operation) for use on the Eureka Springs and Beaver Railroad in Beaver, AR where it was renumbered to #4. The Eureka Springs and Beaver Railroad had one other steam locomotive: a Davenport 0-4-0T which is now displayed at the About Faces Photography studio in Springfield, MO. Around this time (March, 1981) the Eureka Springs & North Arkansas Railway began operations out of Eureka Springs, AR. The competition from the ES&NA and flooding in 1985 which wiped out the White River bridge caused operations to stop on the Eureka Springs and Beaver Railroad.

What happened next is a little bit unclear. The locomotive may have been obtained by the Boone County Historical Society of Harrison, AR. In 1987 they leased #4 and much of the equipment to what was going to be the Krazy Horse Ranch and Railroad Park near Branson, MO. That theme park never materialized. #4 was stranded in Branson and a set of trucks somehow ended up in a river. An agreement was finally reached with the Rusty Wheels Old Engine Club who moved the locomotive to their property located just south of Bellefonte (which is just south of Harrison). This is where the locomotive sits today.

Twice a year (Spring and Fall) the engine club hosts a show where many old engines and tractors are displayed and run. In the past they have fired up this locomotive and moved it back and forth on the very short track on which it is displayed. They don't try to run it any more because the boiler condition is unknown.

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ES&NA Railway

Eureka Springs - ES&NA Railway

The Eureka Springs & North Arkansas Railway began in 1980 when Bob Dortch Jr moved his three steam locomotive from his Scott & Bearskin Lake Railroad in Texas to Eureka Springs, AR. The three locomotives were:

  • Cabbage stack wood burning 1907 Baldwin 2-6-0 #1 from the W.T. Carter and Brother Lumber Company
  • Oil burning 1907 Baldwin 2-6-0 #2 from the W.T. Carter and Brother Lumber Company
  • 1922 ALCO 2-6-0 #201 built for the Panama Canal construction but later brought to the Moscow, Camden & Augustine Railroad in Texas

Baldwin 2-6-0 #1 was moved in the late 2000s to Reader, AR where it is still operational. Baldwin 2-6-0 #2 ended up at the Orange Blossom Cannonball in Tavares, FL where it is undergoing restoration. The ES&NA acquired another locomotive in 1988 from the city park in Benton, AR. It is Dierks Lumber & Coal #226, a Baldwin 2-8-2 built in 1927. I believe it was intended to restore this locomotive to operation but that takes a lot of time and money. In 1983 the ES&NA bought Crosby Lumber & Manufacturing 2-truck Shay built by Lima in 1918. It was displayed on their property until 1989 when it was sold to the Lowville & Beaver River Railroad in Lowville, NY. One other steamlocomotive displayed at the railway is a 600mm Orenstein & Koppel 0-4-0T mounted on a pedestal. This locomotive came from Marco Polo Park near Bunnell, FL which existed between 1967 and 1975.

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Saint Louis - San Francisco 4003 photo by Wes Barris.

Fort Smith - Trolley Museum

SLSF 4003 was built by ALCO in 1919 as a USRA Light Mikado for the Pennsylvania Railroad. The PRR rejected many of the locomotives in this order and the locomotives were reassigned to the St. Louis - San Francisco Railway. It was retired in 1952, donated to the City of Fort Smith and placed on display in Kay Rodgers Park in 1954. It was moved from the park to the Fort Smith Trolley Museum in the early 2000s.

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Just west of Northwest Arkansas live a few steam locomotives in Tulsa.

St. Louis - San Francisco 4500 photo by Wes Barris.

Tulsa - Route 66 Village

SLSF 4500 was built by Baldwin in 1942. It was assigned to pull the "Meteor" between St. Louis and Tulsa. 4500 was demoted to freight service in 1947. After only eight years in service it was retired in 1950. After cosmetic restoration in Springfield, MO, it was donated to the City of Tulsa and put on display in the Mohawk Park Zoo in 1954. In 1991 it was acquired by a railroad preservation group and moved to Owasso to be cosmetically restored. Work stalled on the locomotive around 2000. Another group called the "Save the Old Frisco 4500 for Tulsa Committee" acquired the locomotive and had it moved to the South Kansas & Oklahoma Lines (SKOL) Tulsa yard in 2004. This group continued the restoration process and restored 4500 to its original red, white and blue color scheme of the Meteor. In 2011 4500 was relocated to the new Route 66 Village park on Southwest Blvd.

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Dierks Lumber & Coal Co. 207 photo by Wes Barris.

Tulsa Fairgrounds

#207 was built by Baldwin in 1917 for the Texas, Oklahoma, and Eastern Railroad at Wright City, OK. It was then sold to Dierks Lumber & Coal Company. It was donated to the Tulsa Exposition Fair Corporation and placed on display near the Midway area in the Tulsa Fairgrounds in 1963. It was moved in 1970 to its present location near the intersection of 21st Street and Louisville.

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Tulsa Zoo

Tulsa Zoo

The Tulsa Zoo operates two 24" Chance locomotives. These are relatively new (2009) C.P. Huntington replicas. One is named "Safari Train". The other is named "Bear Express".

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Just north of Northwest Arkansas is the entertainment town of Branson, MO. Branson is the home of Silver Dollar City -- a beautiful, well run theme park set in a heavily wooded area just west of the city.

Silver Dollar City

Branson - Silver Dollar City

Silver Dollar City has five 24" steam locomotives. Currently three are operational, one is out of service, and one is on display as a derelict locomotive that supposedly crashed while going too fast around a curve.

The locomotive that is out of service was the first steam locomotive at Silver Dollar City. It was a 1922 Davenport 0-4-0T that was acquired in 1961 from Adventure Town in Alexandra Bay, NY. It was converted to a 4-4-2 with a tender for operation at SDC. Some report it as a 2-4-2 and yet others say it is a 2-4-0. It was retired from operation at SDC in the 1980s. It is currently stored so it is difficult to get any current information on it (including the wheel arrangement).

Two 1934 Orenstein & Koppel 0-4-0Ts were purchased from Peter Buescher & Sohn of Mueater, Germany in 1965. They were both converted to 2-4-0Ts. One, #43 is still in service today. The other, #7 is displayed as a derelict locomotive beside the tracks.

Another 1938 Orenstein & Koppel 2-4-0T, former Kies and Schotterwerke Nordmark, #13 was acquired and is also in use today.

Finally, a 1940 Ceskomoravska Kolben Danek 2-4-0T was acquired and is also in use as #76.

There are reports of a sixth locomotive at SDC. It has been reported that a 1918 Henschel 0-4-0T is in storage. Its construction number is 15918 and is named Feldbahn. However, I have heard from one reliable source that SDC never had such a locomotive.

Long Bell Lumber #3 photo by Wes Barris.

Springfield - About Faces Photography

The steam locomotive at About Faces Photography has an interesting history. It was built by Davenport for Western States Portland Cement and later sold to Long-Bell Lumber in Joplin. In 1964 it was acquired by the Ozark Mountain Scenic Railroad which I believe was in Springfield. In 1975 it was acquired by the Eureka Springs and Beaver Railroad in Beaver, AR. It operated there as #3 until 1985 when that tourist railroad ceased operations. In 1987 #3 was sold to the Krazy Horse Ranch and Railroad Park near Branson, MO. I have no information on when or why it was moved to About Faces Photograph. Apparently, it is now used as a photo prop. Looking at the locomotive today, and the deplorable condition that it is in, it is hard to believe that it operated only 25 years ago.

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H.K. Porter 2-4-0 photo by Wes Barris.

Branson - World's Largest Toy Museum Complex

I found this H.K. Porter 2-4-0 on a trip to Springfield, MO in 2012. It is displayed in one of the more unlikely places next to a Signature Commercial Real Estate office near the intersection of South Campbell Avenue and West Walnut Lawn Street. It is a somewhat recent addition to its location according to street (not shown) and arial (shown) views in Google maps. The side of the cab is lettered Cannonball Express and a number 9 plate is on the front.

It is a 1919 H.K. Porter locomotive that once worked for Roden Coal. More recently it was owned by George Morrison of Maryville, TN and then Jim D. Morris. Since this photo was taken this locomotive was moved to the World's Largest Toy Museum Complex in Branson.

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St. Louis - San Francisco 4524 photo by Wes Barris.

Springfield - Grant Beach Park

After retirement, in 1953, Frisco 4524 was placed in Grant Beach Park. Through the years, 4524 lost many of its parts to vandals. In the spring of 2011 a cosmetic restoration effort that lasted a number of years was completed. Many of the original gauges that were stolen in the 70s and 80s were somehow recovered. The locomotive is now beautifully painted and is under a cover.

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Wes Barris