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To Tulsa and the Fort Smith Trolley Museum

by Chris Guenzler

Bart Jennings sent me an announcement of a rare mileage trip he set up on the Arkansas & Missouri Railroad which he planned to do the whole railroad. This was a no brainer. I had such a fantastic time when I rode this railroad's regular train I would always come back here to ride it again. Tickets were sent for and then I got Southwest Airline tickets to Tulsa, a rental car and the hotels I needed for this trip. About two weeks before the trip I contacted the Fort Smith Trolley Museum about a visit and they said yes. I worked on my books called "Why a Train?" and was about to finish Volume 4 as the trip day approached. It was now time for a trip to relax and have a great time.

I got up at 4:30 AM and at 5:00 AM I drove the van with my mother to John Wayne Airport. I went through security where my computer got the full search and I didn't. I changed back into my shorts and went to Gate 2 where I got on the Internet as I waited for my flight.

Southwest Airlines 409 9/10/2010

The plane was loaded at 6:15 AM. We had a slight engine problem so we left the gate late. We got out on the tramac but had to wait for nine planes to leave before it was our turn. The plane took off and I saw the old Eagle Mountain Railroad and the old Phoenix Line before we landed in Phoenix. The two hour layover was spent with me walking from Gate D17 to Gate C17 where I waited for my next plane.

Southwest Airlines 44 9/10/2010

This plane left the gate early and once in the air I saw Globe, AZ, the VLA Telescopes, ABO Canyon and Amarillo before we landed at Tulsa. I went to the National Car Rental where I got a Dodge Caliber. I left Tulsa and took OK 51 The Muskogee Turnpike to Interstate 40 which I went east on to US 64 into Fort Smith. Following the directions from their web site, I soon found my prey.

Fort Smith Trolley Museum

I parked the car and went in finding two of my rare mileage riders and Robert Neufell talking. I gave Robert one of my cards before I started taking pictures.

Car 6 is a single truck arched roof 10-bench open car built by Brill in 1906 from Vera Cruz, Mexico under restoration.

Car 50 is a double-ended double truck built by the St Louis Car Company in 1904 from the Hot Springs Street Railway.

The line car.

Speeder and line car.

MKT Power Pullman 100186.

Union Pacific Caboose 25139.

The Car Barn at the Fort Smith Trolley Museum.

UP and BN Cabooses.

MKT Caboose 126.

The Trolley 224 which will give us a ride in a few minutes. The Car 224 is a double-ended single truck arched roof Birney built by the American Car Company in December of 1919 for the Fort Smith Light & Traction Company.

MP Box Car 251368.

MP Cushion Car 365387.

United States Air Force 44 Toner built by GE in January 1953.

Augusta Railroad 7 built by Vulcan in April 1942.

Frisco 2-8-2 4003.

MKT Diner Bunk 100162. I then went back into the Car Barn and we all walked out and boarded the Car 224.

The look behind the car from where we started shows the portion of the Fort Smith Trolley Line that we would not ride on this late afternoon.

Our trip started with us leaving the KATY Caboose behind.

We left the line of equipment behind as we made the curve away from the museum.

There is a very nice trolley mural on this wall.

The switch to the Car Barn.

Our route passed between these buildings.

Robert Neufell gave us a talk.

The trolley shelter along our route.

This building has other trolleys stored inside which someday they with time and money might one day be restored.

A passing siding will be put in one day in the future.

The old Fort Smith Foundations.

Bradley who assisted with my visit drove over to meet us on our ride.

The other end of that future passing siding.

Cars need to be careful parking when the trolleys run.

The trolley took the curve to start its run along US Highway 64.

The trolley ran along this old build front.

The trolley has reached the end of the line at South 2nd Street. We detrained for pictures.

Across US Highway 64 is a Ferris Wheel and a Diner.

Five views of Car 224 at the end of the line as the poles were changed.

The former Frisco Station in Fort Smith.

The trolley at the end of the line.

The end of track near the Frisco Station. I reboarded and we started the trip back.

The trolley went back by Ross Pendergraft Park.

Running along US Highway 64 before we took the turn to the south.

There is a siding for a station here when needed.

The switch to that siding. We stopped to let our two other riders off whose car was parked near here.

Two views looking back before we made a stop.

Two views of the trolley house.

Car 224 at the stop.

We ran back between the buildings then stopped to throw the switch to the car barn.

The switch was lined for our movement across it.

The trip down the car barn trackage.

The trolley is back in its barn for the night. I thanked Robert for the excellent trip and left going to get a few more pictures in Fort Smith.

Another view of the Trolley House.

I found the Nickel & Dime Diner.

The former Fort Smith Frisco Station. From here I started out of town but had to make another stop at the next grade crossing in Fort Smith

Fort Smith Railroad PREX 2038.

Alabama & Florida 1612.

Ex Santa Fe PREX 2031.

Another view of the Fort Smith Railroad's motive power. From here I headed north towards the Interstate 40. I caught up to that A&M freight at a grade crossing which stopped me just short of the Arkansas River Bridge. I got in front of it and found a grade crossing where I would get a picture of it.

The A&M freight lead by A&M C420 58. I took another road and got in front of the train again.

The A&M freight came by me again.

A&M C420 58.

A&M C420 56. From here I found Interstate 40 which I took to Interstate 540 which I took north. I stopped at Exit 81 for a KFC Dinner before I went to Exit 85 where I found the Best Western Castle in Bentonville and checked in for two nights. I worked on the story then called it a night.

Click here for Part 2 of this story