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Missouri and North Arkansas Railroad


Missouri and North Arkansas Railroad

The Missouri and North Arkansas Railroad was a regional carrier from 1906 to 1946, which at its peak strength joined Joplin in southwestern, Missouri with Helena in Phillips County in eastern Arkansas.

Few railroads experienced more misfortunes than the M&NA: storms, economic difficulties, labor problems, rough topography, and numerous fires. Ultimately, the company failed because Its service territory could not produce the revenue essential to the support of the railroad. The M&NA faced regional competition from two routes of the Missouri Pacific Railroad. Poor rail construction led to infrastructure failures during times of flooding. The M&NA was initially launched as a connection from Seligman in Barry County in southwestern Missouri, located on the St. Louis–San Francisco Railway, popularly known as the "Frisco".[1]


In 1883,

  1. ^ a b c d e f
  2. ^ Not to be confused with the Eureka Springs and North Arkansas Railway
  3. ^


Among the absentee owners of the M&NA was Frank Kell, the entrepreneur from Wichita Falls, Texas, who was also affiliated with the Wichita Falls and Northwestern Railway, Wichita Falls and Southern Railroad, and the San Antonio, Uvalde and Gulf Railroad.[3]

In 1949, two sections of the former Missouri and Arkansas Railway Company returned to service under new ownership. That section from Seligman to Harrison was operated from 1950 to 1960 by the diesel-powered Arkansas and Ozarks Railway. The route from Helena to rural Cotton Plant in Woodruff County, Arkansas, operated with steam equipment from 1949 to 1951 as the Helena and Northwestern Railway. A six-mile link of the Helena and Northwestern from Cotton Plant to rural Fargo in Monroe County was operated by the Cotton Plant-Fargo Railway, which joined with the St. Louis Southwestern Railway, popularly known as the Cotton Belt. This short line existed from 1952 into the 1970s, when it became the last portion of the old M&NA to be abandoned.[1]

[1] Prosperity seemed near when the

Missouri and Arkansas Railway Company motor car

[1] In 1913, the main office and shops of the M&NA were located in Harrison, Arkansas. Though the railroad was by then in first-class condition, a head-on collision caused by faulty communication occurred in August 1914 near


In 1908, M&NA service was extended northward to Pullman sleeping car availability on the line. Because the M&NA was frequently late, some joked that its initials really stood for "May Never Arrive". After repeated deficits, the railroad entered receivership in April 1912.[1]


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