Monday, August 18, 2014

The Scenic Arkansas & Missouri

Arkansas & Missouri; Winslow, Ark.; June 10, 2014
The 2014 Convention of the National Railway Historical Society was based out of Springdale, Ark., in early June, with most of the activity centered on the Arkansas & Missouri Railroad. Trips covered almost every inch of the line, but perhaps the most impressive was the afternoon trip on the convention's first day, June 10. Two of the A&M's diesels built by the American Locomotive Company led a mixed freight/passenger train south from Springdale, with several photo stops made in the scenic heart of the railroad between Winslow and Mountainburg.

The trips were planned by NRHS rail operations coordinator Bart Jennings, who really picked some good locations. Your writer assisted in keeping the photo lines organized. Despite a day that was 95 percent cloudy, most of the photo stops had the sun pop out at just the right time to make for some well-lit scenes.

The first stop of the trip was at Winslow Tunnel just south of its namesake town. Alco No. 44 led the train, a C420 built in May 1965 for the Louisville & Nashville Railroad. The train was spotted in three different locations to give different perspectives of the train and tunnel (below).
Arkansas & Missouri; Winslow Tunnel, Ark.; June 10, 2014
The second photo stop was at the first of three large bridges below Winslow. The sun came out nicely for this shot (top photo). As the passengers were reboarding the train, the clouds moved in and a slight drizzle started. By the time the train was moving, it was a full-blown gully washer. But as the train slowed for the next photo stop, at the second large bridge, the rain slowed to a drizzle. It stopped as passengers unloaded and by the time the train was backed into position on the bridge the sun was back out again.
Arkansas & Missouri; Winslow, Ark.; June 10, 2014
All the photo stops up to this point had been just that -- stops for still photography. But with videographers on board, there was a need to do a full-blown runby with the train moving. This was accomplished at the location known as Schaberg, north of Chester. The first runby was zoinked by a cloud, but with plenty of time in the schedule a second runby was held in nice sunlight.
Arkansas & Missouri; Schaberg (Chester), Ark.; Juen 10, 2014
Not done with bridges yet, another stop was made at a lower bridge north of Chester. This was a "going away" view that allowed trailing unit No. 68 to be seen better. No. 68 is a C420 built in November 1964 for the Lehigh Valley. After the stop, the train was backed up for yet another video runby.
Arkansas & Missouri; Chester, Ark.; June 10, 2014
The train continued on to Mountainburg where some passengers were dropped off and others added for the return trip. The train pushed back to Chester, where the locomotives ran around the consist so No. 68 could lead north. With darkness falling, a night photo opportunity was held at Winslow Tunnel with No. 44 poking out of the south portal.
Arkansas & Missouri; Winslow Tunnel, Ark.; June 10, 2014
The train then proceeded through the tunnel, with the final stop of the day just north of the north portal in Winslow. No. 68 posed next to a retaining wall for the final scene. From here, all the passengers were put on a bus for the return to Springdale.
Arkansas & Missouri; Winslow, Ark.; June 10, 2014
Thanks to the folks at NRHS and the A&M for making this trip possible. It was a great chance to capture scenes that are well off the beaten path. More photos from the trip can be found here.

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