• Arkansas Railroad Museum

  • General discussion related to all railroad clubs, museums, tourist and scenic lines. Generally this covers museums with static displays, museums that operate excursions, scenic lines that have museums, and so on. Check out the Tourist Railway Association (TRAIN) for more information.
General discussion related to all railroad clubs, museums, tourist and scenic lines. Generally this covers museums with static displays, museums that operate excursions, scenic lines that have museums, and so on. Check out the Tourist Railway Association (TRAIN) for more information.

Moderators: rob216, Miketherailfan

  by byte
 
I'm going on a trip to Arkansas in a week or so, and one of the things I'd like to check out is the Arkansas Railroad Musuem in Pine Bluff. Their website isn't very informative, however I know they have the Cotton Belt 819 and at least one other (non-operational) steamer. Can anyone tell me what this museum entails, how big it is, and if/when rides are given? Thanks!

  by u25b
 
Hey, did you do this trip? I thought they also had an ex Cotten Belt GP30. Any photos?

Wes

  by byte
 
I did go on the trip, and it was the highlight of my week on vacation. The museum is in an old Cotton Belt shop building, owned by the UP but lent to the Cotton Belt Historical Society. The building is the same where the 819 was built. Since it's a shop building, there's a transfer table outside for moving equipment around. The diesels I can remember are as follows: The Cotton Belt GP30, a UP C630, two Alco "alligators" (one RSD15 and one RSD12, IIRC), and a GE U-boat which was parked outside on the day of my visit. Supposedly they also own a small GE switcher, but I don't remember seeing it. There are no rides or regularly operating equipment - the location is surrounded by only UP-owned tracks - but as soon as we walked in a volunteer gave our group (three people) a grand tour, giving us access to locomotive cabs and such along with a wealth of information.

The building is pretty huge, so along with the rolling stock there is also some model railroad equipment, a display of different types of rail, a retired CTC board, and probably some other things I can't remember. The first railway museum I had ever been to was IRM, and since it's so huge, the first thing I usually think when I've been to a smaller one is usually "oh, this is it?" That never really happened at the Arkansas museum - it's small but extremely interesting. Plus it's indoors so you can go in the rain.

Oh - and about pictures. I did take some, but unfortunately my scanner is not capable of scanning slides very well. Hopefully I'll have them online sometime in the future but right now I only have the images on slides.

  by SSW9389
 
byte: Ya got most of it right. The building is the old Cotton Belt Backshop and it is owned by the Arkansas Railroad Museum. The Museum is operated by the Cotton Belt Rail Historical Society (CBRHS). It is the land under the building that is still owned by the UP. The CBRHS and the Museum are working to purchase the land from UP. The two six-axle ALCOs are a Santa RSD-15 that will soon be repainted in original colors and an Espee RSD-12, paint plans are pending on this one. The Uboat is the first U23C built and was an LS&I locomotive. There are two small GE 25 Ton swicther used to move equipment around the museum.

As for photos the lighting inside the old shop building is not good. However on Saturday April 14th all the equipment that is capable of being moved will be outside while the CBRHS and Museum put on their Annual Railroadiana and Model Show. The equipment will be placed back inside the Museum on Monday the 16th.

There are many other interesting exhibits at the Arkansas Railroad Museum. I would like to invite anyone visiting Arkansas to give Pine Bluff a visit and see this Museum. Rumor control has it that Ed Bowers will be placing more ALCOs at this Museum in the very near future, but hey that is just a rumor. But when it happens remember you heard it here.

Ed Cooper
CBRHS #111 :wink:
byte wrote:I did go on the trip, and it was the highlight of my week on vacation. The museum is in an old Cotton Belt shop building, owned by the UP but lent to the Cotton Belt Historical Society. The building is the same where the 819 was built. Since it's a shop building, there's a transfer table outside for moving equipment around. The diesels I can remember are as follows: The Cotton Belt GP30, a UP C630, two Alco "alligators" (one RSD15 and one RSD12, IIRC), and a GE U-boat which was parked outside on the day of my visit. Supposedly they also own a small GE switcher, but I don't remember seeing it. There are no rides or regularly operating equipment - the location is surrounded by only UP-owned tracks - but as soon as we walked in a volunteer gave our group (three people) a grand tour, giving us access to locomotive cabs and such along with a wealth of information.

The building is pretty huge, so along with the rolling stock there is also some model railroad equipment, a display of different types of rail, a retired CTC board, and probably some other things I can't remember. The first railway museum I had ever been to was IRM, and since it's so huge, the first thing I usually think when I've been to a smaller one is usually "oh, this is it?" That never really happened at the Arkansas museum - it's small but extremely interesting. Plus it's indoors so you can go in the rain.

Oh - and about pictures. I did take some, but unfortunately my scanner is not capable of scanning slides very well. Hopefully I'll have them online sometime in the future but right now I only have the images on slides.