Rich Mountain, Ark.

Kansas City Southern's crossing of the Ouachita Mountains
Rich Mountain is one of two sites in Arkansas profiled in Kalmbach's Guide to North American Hot Spots by TRAINS Senior Editor J. David Ingles. Read below for Rich Mountain information.

Site: Rich Mountain, Arkansas/Oklahoma

Nearest City: Fort Smith, Arkansas (50 miles north)

Location: Arkansas F-1, Oklahoma G-20, H-20 (Rand McNally Atlas)

Directions: From Fort Smith, Ark.: to reach Heavener, Okla., follow U.S. 271 and U.S. 59 south; to reach Mena, Ark., follow U.S. 71 south.

Description: Rich Mountain, a 45-mile crossing of the Ouachita Mountains, is the summit of the most scenic portion of the Kansas City Southern north-south main line between Kansas City and Shreveport, La. This is wooded terrain, with no tunnels or substantial bridges, just curves and grades.

Type of Operation: Freight-only main line, single-track CTC with passing sidings.

Typical Motive Power: KCS and BNSF (on coal trains) road power most common

Peak Operating Hours: No predictable pattern

Approximate Daily Train Frequency: 20 to 25 trains, primarily merchandise, grain, and coal with some intermodal

Radio Frequencies: Road channel 160.305; Heavener Yard 161.055; Road channel north of Heavener 160.350

Nearby Points of Interest: Heavener, Okla., is a KCS crew-change point and has a small yard and engine terminal. In Mena, a restored depot serves as the local visitor center. The Arkansas & Missouri Railroad, which uses all Alco diesels, is in Van Buren, Ark., next to Fort Smith.

Remarks: Food and lodging are available in Mena and to lesser extent in Heavener and Poteau, Okla. Mena is in a "dry" county (no alcohol sold).

Safety Considerations: Hwy. 59 closely follows the tracks from Poteau to Mena. Some side-road access to certain locations. Mainline fueling rack in Heavener is visible from main highway. U.S. 59/71 parallels the KCS main from Mena to DeQueen, Ark.

Contributor's Name: David Patch
Taken from the Guide to North American Railroad Hot Spots from TRAINS Magazine.
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