Classic Streamliners - TRAINCYCLOPEDIA
L&A advertisement in The Traffic World, September 1929.
A Louisiana and Arkansas Railway Slideshow.
Louisiana and Arkansas Railway
The Louisiana and Arkansas Railway (reporting mark LA) was a railroad that operated in the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas. The railroad's main line extended 332 miles, from Hope, Arkansas to Shreveport and New Orleans. Branch lines served Vidalia, Louisiana (opposite Natchez, Mississippi), and Dallas, Texas.
The Louisiana and Arkansas Railroad was incorporated in Arkansas in 1898 for the purpose of acquiring former logging railroad properties in Arkansas and Louisiana. The railroad was constructed and initially operated under the leadership of William Buchanan, a prosperous timberman with extensive investments in southwest Arkansas and northwest Louisiana. Buchanan's partners were Harvey C. Couch and William Edenborn. Buchanan's primary company, Bodcaw Lumber Company, was headquartered in Stamps, Arkansas, and that city also served as headquarters of the L&A until the late 1920s. It was reorganized in 1902 as the Louisiana and Arkansas Railway.
In 1910, the L&A Railway and Arkansas Southern Railroad were involved in a dispute over Louisiana taxes, a notable court case which ultimately was heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.
During the late 1920s, a group of investors led by Harvey Couch began acquiring Louisiana & Arkansas stock. These investors owned electric and telephone utilities in Arkansas and Louisiana and believed that railroad ownership in their service area would also be profitable. When control of the L&A was thus secured on January 16, 1928, a new company was chartered in Delaware in 1928 to acquire the former Louisiana and Arkansas Railway Company and to acquire and lease the Louisiana Railway and Navigation Company. Louisiana Railway & Navigation operated a marginally profitable railroad between New Orleans, Shreveport and Dallas. The L&A inaugurated a new premier passenger train, The Shreveporter, on December 30, 1928, operating between Shreveport and Hope, Arkansas. This train carried a through Pullman sleeping car between Shreveport and St. Louis, Missouri, in conjunction with Missouri Pacific Railroad. A second named passenger train, The Hustler, was added to provide overnight service between Shreveport and New Orleans, beginning on July 2, 1932.
The Harvey Couch interests began purchasing stock of the Kansas City Southern Railway (KCS) in 1937. After gaining control of the KCS in 1939, a decision was made to merge the two properties. Kansas City Southern was the surviving corporation, with the Louisiana & Arkansas as a KCS subsidiary, but the KCS president and the controlling stockholders were all from the L&A. This merger created "single line" railroad freight service between Kansas City and New Orleans, and on September 2, 1940, a new KCS-L&A diesel powered streamliner, the Southern Belle, was inaugurated to connect the two cities.
In 1948, in a letter to Ernest W. Roberts, Harry Truman described the difficult working conditions for certain black workers employed by this railroad.
In 1992, Kansas City Southern dissolved the subsidiary Louisiana & Arkansas Railway, although the former L&A route continues to be a major component of the Kansas City Southern.
L&A Decapod steam locomotive No. 103.
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Text: wikipedia.org. Images: Public Domain; http://www.commons.wikimedia.org (unless otherwise specified) and 17 U.S. Code § 107 fair use. References: Lewis, Robert G. The Handbook of American Railroads. New York: Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corporation, 1951, 2nd Edition 1956. Site Map Contact webmaster HERE.