Old 03-19-2018, 09:27 PM   #1
mowingman
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Default Arkansas Midland - Hot Springs line

While on vacation last week, I had time to make a quick visit to check out the Arkansas Midland Hot Springs line.
In the 90's, when Pinsly took over this operation, there was a lot of business along the line,all the way to Mountain Pine, Ar., where a big sawmill was located. I had not been back there since the mill closed, taking probably 1/2 of the railroads business with it.
G&W has run this line for a number of years now, and while car loads have seriously decreased, they seem to be doing pretty well. The headquarters is at the old Reynolds Alum. mill at Jones Mill, Ar. One rather large building has been turned into a loco and car repair shop. The building is big enough to hold 6 or 8 engines, but through the open doors, I could see 2 that were being rebuilt. One was #3860, in M&NA red and gray paint, and the other had no numbers in the number boards, and was in primer. Looks like the shop is well equipped for heavy repairs.
In the yard at the mill, there are 2 or 3 reload operations I could see. One is loading lumber from trucks, onto centerbeam flatcars for outbound shipment.
Three GP ? locomotives were working in the small yard, all 3 in spotless clean G&W orange and black. Engine #2503, 2076, and one too far to read number.
The line seems to operate every day, Mon. - Fri. not sure about weekends. Operations start around 7:00 AM at the shops.
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Old 03-19-2018, 09:29 PM   #2
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Sorry about the sideways photos. They looked ok in my preview and I do not know how to turn them.
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Old 03-23-2018, 08:03 PM   #3
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I can't do anything about the photos and not sure what to suggest, but regardless, thank you for posting the great report. That 2076 is one of the former AKMD GP35s rebuilt into a GP38-3 by the Jones Mill shop forces. It was surmised the whole fleet may get that treatment, but the other GP35s seemed to just get an "Imron overhaul" and continue life in orange.

The AKMD has one more substantial customer which is likely the lifeblood of the line-- the rock quarry in Butterfield. AKMD crews take UP-powered rock trains into and out of this significant facility. I have also seen AKMD power used for switching rock hoppers around the storage tracks just east of the quarry.

There is also the large sawmill right at the junction in Malvern, and could be another customer or two there, as well. The line has some decent traffic, but as you note, it's pretty much all within the first few miles of the line these days.
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Old 03-24-2018, 03:59 PM   #4
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As a follow up, a friend who tracks locomotive doings believes the unit in primer should be 3859, a GP38 in New England Central paint that served on the DGNO for years before frying its main generator and heading to Jones Mill for rebuild.

If you track reporting marks for your photos, the last reporting mark 3860 was wearing was TNER.
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Old 03-26-2018, 12:30 AM   #5
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Thanks for that roster info.
Two more quick bits of info. AMKD also serves an Acme Brick Co. plant, at the far south edge of Malvern. The track past the Malvern lumber operation winds it's way south to finally end at the brick plant. When I worked for Acme in the 90's, we shipped a couple of boxcars of brick, on a weekly basis. Not sure how much goes by rail now.
Reynolds Aluminum also has a large finishing plant north of Jones Mill, that receives lots of covered coil cars. It is a major user of the rail service.
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Old 03-26-2018, 02:09 PM   #6
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Good to hear about Reynolds. When I was on the line, my time was pretty brief and I was under the impression the old Reynolds plant that is now the shop was it for Reynolds. Was what now comprises the shop area any sort of aluminum-making facility that was phased out, or did Reynolds just move to its present location because it had the room for a larger facility?
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Old 03-26-2018, 05:21 PM   #7
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Jones Mill was a large aluminum smelter/refinery. They melted Bauxite ore in electric furnaces, and made pure aluminum metal from it. Many of these alum. mills in the U.S. are closed now, and the alum. metal comes from foreign countries. The existing Reynolds plant that uses rail, is a much smaller facility and makes some type of semi-finished product from the big rolls of alum. that come in by rail. Other abandoned aluminum smelters I have been to, are located at Hannibal, Ohio,(Ormet), (shortline-served transload site now), Rockdale, Tx.,(Alcoa) and at Ripley, W.Va.,(Kaiser Aluminum). T
You can see the size of these on Google Earth.
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Old 03-27-2018, 04:28 PM   #8
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Thank you for the further information. That was exactly the type of situation I was figuring it was, but nice to know for certain.
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Old 03-27-2018, 06:26 PM   #9
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I didn't have much sun (OK, any) on my visit, so the only shot I have posted to the net of my AKMD visit is on my Flickr. But I thought y'all might enjoy a shot of the classic scheme which has been replaced by G&W orange now. I really like the variation Pinsley did with their scheme for the Arkansas lines.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/133436...posted-public/
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