How it all began...
The A&M began operations in September of 1986. A&M was founded by an investor group dedicated to creating and maintaining a first-class, profitable operation. That simple, but effective, vision continues to drive the A&M's business practices today. Spun off by the then Burlington Northern Railroad, the A&M has since invested tens of millions of dollars to improve service to customers, enhance public and Company safety, and catalyze economic growth in the 150 mile Monett, MO to Fort Smith, AR corridor.
Most rail historians recognize the A&M's tracks as part of the old St. Louis-San Francisco (Frisco) Railway system built in the 1880's. Some vestiges remain of the Frisco, most notably the Fayetteville, Van Buren, and Fort Smith (AR) passenger depots. And, at various locations, the true rail researcher can decipher the old bones of intersecting railroads or branches long since abandoned, such as the Cassville and Exeter (MO) Railroad and the Frisco's Fayetteville to St. Paul (AR) branch.
In the early years, the principal items hauled consisted of timber, locally grown produce and livestock, eastern and Midwest manufactures, and... passengers!
Today, our traffic mix has somewhat changed. Located in the heart of the country's savviest protein companies, we deliver significant quantities of grain and grain products as feed to industry giants Tyson Foods, George's, Cargill, and OK Feeds. While we don't transport live animals any more, we do move a lot of frozen poultry from Northwest Arkansas to markets all over the world.
You can complete your gourmet meal from the wares produced by our prized customers--we deliver the ingredients for Newly Weds Foods (batters, breadings, and seasoning systems), Pepper Source (tangy, spicy sauces), and Pappas Foods (juices and syrups). To store any leftovers, Glad manufactures storage bags and plastic wrappings from raw products we transport. Rock-Tenn, Georgia-Pacific and Graphic Packaging plants we serve provide the packaging for the occasion.
Business expansion by Tyson Foods, Wal-Mart, J.B. Hunt, and other organizations continues to fuel major population growth in our service territory. To meet burgeoning construction demands, we have developed a healthy local sand transport network for major concrete and asphalt producers Arkhola Sand and Gravel, Covington Enterprises, Hutchens Construction, Mid-Continent Concrete, Tune Concrete, Kay Concrete, and Barry County Ready Mix, among others. We are also proud of the growth in cement shipments for Ash Grove Cement, as well as wood and timber loads for Stock Building Supply, Ridout Lumber, Meeks Lumber, and others.
We also ship numerous commodities for other industrial concerns, including scrap steel for Davis Iron and Metal, Rogers Iron and Metal, Tenenbaum Recycling Group and USA Metal Recycling; and pellets for St. Gobain Proppants, among others. Choice and competition constitute key reasons why our customers select the A&M. We directly interchange with three Class 1 railroads, the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway (at Monett, MO), the Union Pacific (at Van Buren, AR) and the Kansas City Southern Railway (in Fort Smith, AR). We additionally handle direct barge-rail shipments at the Arkansas River ports of Van Buren and Fort Smith. Customers not located directly on our rail line can also take advantage of rail prices through transloading and trucking services offered by sister company, Ozark Transmodal, Inc., as well as by third parties with a variety of capabilities.
Excursion service began on the Arkansas & Missouri Railroad during the late 1980's and went full time during the early 1990s after a private operator tested the market and operated excursion trains for a year. Over the years, the route and equipment have changed a bit, but have always focused on scenery and history of the region.
Today, the A&M operates a series of regular excursion trains throughout the year. Approximately 40,000 people a year ride these trains. The normal schedule includes a Springdale to Van Buren round-trip, with a Van Buren to Winslow round-trip during the layover. However, other trips are operated including short Operation Lifesaver, Santa trains and trains for special community events. Seating is available in restored commuter coaches, a parlor car, dome, dining car and caboose.
Running a modern railroad today requires significant investments in infrastructure, technology, safety, and supporting services. The A&M remains committed to conducting its business for the long-term and, accordingly, has invested, and will continue to invest, significant sums for that purpose.
If you have freight to move, contact us.