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Nostalgia & History > M&NA Railroad

Date: 06/26/13 21:00
M&NA Railroad
Author: flynn

Picture 1 is from the following website,

http://tompry.blogspot.com/2007_04_01_archive.html .

Picture 1, “These oxen are not supper-on-the-hoof for the M&NA track-laying crew but, rather, motive power for their work cars. (This was about 1907).”

Date: 06/26/13 21:01
Re: M&NA Railroad
Author: flynn

For a Zoomit enlargement click on http://zoom.it/hNom#full . Click on the + button in the lower right hand corner of the picture until the picture stops enlarging. Use the cursor and the left mouse button to move the picture.

Date: 06/29/13 13:26
Re: M&NA Railroad
Author: Arkrail

Interesting photograph, but I am curious how the author on the original website tied it to M&NA. The side seems to read Missouri Pacific and the reporting marks on end are definitely MoP.

Date: 06/29/13 15:37
Re: M&NA Railroad
Author: flynn

15 - WHEELS – Trains – Part 2
The star of the rail show in Searcy has to have been the Missouri & North Arkansas.
Envisioned originally as running from Joplin, MO, to Helena, AR, it ended up running from Springfield, MO, to Helena, AR, right on the Mississippi River. Along the way, it seemed to hit every wide spot in a very bumpy road: Pangburn, Crosby, Eureka Springs .. all told, about 40 towns and settlements. The first run in this area came about in 1907, out of Heber Springs to Searcy.
I say “.. a very bumpy road ..” because it cost a fortune to build that road; that being the case, it had been built on the cheap, with only light ballast (the gravel between the ties) and even lighter rail. Rumor has it that some passengers took the precaution of ingesting seasick pills before taking a trip on the line, since the trains had a tendency to swing and sway.
A fellow named “Bub” Harrison has been quoted as saying that trains were such a rarity that about 100 people turned out in Letona in 1907, waiting to see their first train, the one coming down from Heber Springs. Harrison said that many of the women were carrying parasols – “the best thing on earth to scare a horse.” As the train neared the station, “.. some crackpot hollered, ‘You women better close them parasols. You’ll scare that engine!’” It is reported that, at that warning, about half the parasols closed.
The M&NA quickly acquired a canard claiming the letters actually stood for the “May Not Arrive,” because that was the case all too often. One major bridge was shoddily built, and a bad storm dumped it in the drink. A number of bridges were burned, especially in a very vicious strike that took place in the early 20s, that took the railroad out of service for almost a year, before hungry strike breakers got the wheels turning again. They didn’t turn at all for eight months.
My partner in cockeyed history, the late and missed Ernie Simpson, faintly remembers taking excursion rides out to Crosby, on something he remembers as “the Moose,” a self-powered single unit. Turns out, it was the “Blue Goose,” a blue locomotive and two cars, one for passengers, one for freight.
But, as Searcy’s only through railroad, the M&NA acquired a certain amount of fame. Probably the high point of its history was in early 1937, when the very first automatic railroad safety gate in the entire southwestern United States was given its sendoff right at the corner of Beebe-Capps and Elm Street, here in town. Even the governor came up to give a speech for the occasion, no small thing, considering the condition of the roads between Little Rock and here.
In 1943, right in the middle of the war, the railroaders went on strike again. Despite a change of name to “The Missouri and Arkansas,” and a new owner acquiring it in 1945, that railroad never ran again. One piece is used by the excursion line in Eureka Springs, the rest of it has been dug up and built over. Unless your memory’s good, you can find few, if any, signs of it anymore.
In the spring of 1946, I saw one of the last vehicles to come down the line. It was what is called a “hi-railer,” a pickup/utility truck that can swing down steel wheels to ride on the rails, leaving the rear tires to just supply motive power. I’d guess that it was surveying the route to see if it could still handle rail cars, so that rail could be picked up and placed on flat cars as the Last Train came through, a work train.
There are few people around who remember the M&NA and where it ran, even though a lot of people here duplicate a big chunk of the local route every day.

Date: 06/30/13 21:15
Re: M&NA Railroad
Author: Arkrail

I read all that in the website link that you originally provided, and still didn't see anything tying this photo of a MP boxcar to the M&NA. That's not to say that its not, I was just curious as to whether the photo itself had some writing or other identification on back that specifically identified it as some point on the M&NA.

The website quotation gets a lot of stuff wrong.... the Blue Goose ????? was a single unit ACF motorcar, painted blue and white -- no such thing as one car for psgrs and one for freight. The strike which killed the railroad started in September 1946, not "1943 in the middle of the war", etc.

In any event, it is still an interesting photo, thanks for posting it.

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