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Memphis and then into Arkansas 4/20/2021

by Chris Guenzler

Elizabeth and I woke up at Holly Springs and after checking the Internet we drove north towards Collierville.

On the road to Collierville. I drove us to the Perkins Restaurant and had a very good breakfast. Afer that we drove to the Collierville station and parked.

The Collierville Southern Railway station moved from La Grange in 1974 and then donated to this town in 1976.

Painted as Southern Railway, this is really Seaboard Coast Line Business Car "Savannah", orginally Seaboard Air Line 564.

A Civil War era cannon.

Baggage cart.

Memphis and Charleston Railroad sign.

The Battle of Collierville sign.

Southern Railway caboose is really Nickel Plate Road 749 built for the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway in 1949.

Elizabeth and that caboose.

Saint Louis-San Fransisco 2-8-2 1351 was built in 1912. We climbed into the cab.

The cab of Frisco 1351.

Elizabeth in the engineer seat.

The author in the engineer seat.

The original Collierville station board. We drove to Central Station in Memphis amnd parked along a side street.

MATA Trolley History

The MATA Trolley is a heritage streetcar transit system operating in Memphis, Tennessee which began on April 29, 1993. Service was suspended in June 2014, following fires on two cars. After nearly four years and repeated postponements, the reopening of the Main Street Line took place on April 30, 2018. The last line of Memphis' original streetcar network closed on June 15, 1947. Since opening the system has been extended twice and now consists of three lines, operated by the Memphis Area Transit Authority. These lines are the Main Street Line, the Riverfront Loop and the Madison Avenue Line; however, service on the last two lines is temporarily suspended. In the 2011-12 fiscal year, 1.34 million trips were made on the system, a 23.1% year-on-year growth - the highest of any light rail system in the contiguous United States.

Originally proposed as a 4.9-mile line along the Mississippi River, the Memphis City Council voted 9-4 in January 1990 to build the 2.5-mile, $33 million Main Street route. After multiple delays, construction of the line commenced in February 1991 for completion by December 1992. However, due to the longer-than- anticipated restoration of the vintage streetcars, the opening of the line was delayed until spring 1993. After further delay, testing of the first of the restored cars began on March 10, 1993, and the system opened to the public on April 29, 1993. On October 1, 1997, the Riverfront line opened. The system's third line, running east from Main Street along Madison Avenue for about 2 miles, opened on March 15, 2004. It was completed at a cost of about $56 million, which was approximately 25 percent below the original budget forecast for the project.

Rolling stock

The trolleys used are almost all restored, vintage streetcars. The original three cars in operation on opening day were all formerly used in Porto, Portugal, and are Car 187, circa 1927; Car 194, circa 1935; and Car 204, circa 1940. These cars are each 30 feet 6 inches long, 7 feet 10 inches wide and weigh 25,820 pounds without passengers. The cars were restored by Kerns-Wilcheck Associates of Memphis. Three additional ex-Porto cars (156, 164 and 180) joined them within weeks, and the fleet had six cars (all ex-Porto single-truckers) by May 1993. Gomaco-built number 1979, with a trolley pole, in its original livery. By 2003 all of the trolley poles were replaced by pantographs. Between the mid-1990s and 2003, the fleet expanded considerably in both number and capacity with the arrival of ten reconditioned Melbourne, Australia W2-class cars, all but one Car 417 supplied by Gomaco Trolley Company. Other additions were single-truck Car 1979 that was built new by Gomaco in 1993, as a demonstrator; double-truck Car 1794 that was originally an open-sided car from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, but was heavily rebuilt and enclosed before entering service in Memphis, and, in early 2004, a replica Birney Safety Car, again manufactured by Gomaco, similar to those used on the TECO Line Streetcar in Tampa, Florida and the Metro Streetcar in Little Rock, Arkansas. The fleet and overhead wires were converted from trolley pole to pantograph current collection in early 2003, during a three-month suspension of service which started on January 5, 2003. An eleventh reconditioned Melbourne car, W5-class 799, was purchased in 2006 by MATA with a view toward eventual restarting of trolley service.

We waited for a trolley to arrive.

Memphis Central Station built in 1914.

The trolley came into the Main Street station at the Central Station.

Melbourne Trolley 234. We boarded the trolley and the operator sold us day passes.

Our day passes. We rode the Main Street Line but then learned that the other two lines, at the present time, were trackless trolleys so we had no interest in riding those.

Views on the return trip. The statue is of Bobby Bland, a famous Memphis blues singer. We returned to Central Station a little disappointed but still satisfied.

Memphis Central station which is now Amtrak and Central Station Hotel.

How you used to get to the trains.

The wonderful record collection in the hotel.

Another of the Main Street cars came into the Central station.

A replica Gomaco Birney car, 453. We walked back to the car and exited Memphis on Interstate 55.

One of the railroad bridges across the Mississippi River.

Crossing the Mississippi River into Arkansas.

Econo-Rail Corp SD40-2 3013 in Ebony. We made our way to Earle.

Missouri Pacific caboose 13504.

The Missouri Pacific Earle station built in 1922.

The Missouri Pacific buzzsaw emblem. From here we drove to Brinkley where we hit the motherlode.

Union Station (Missouri Pacific, Cotton Belt and Rock Island) built in 1912 and restored as the Central Delta Depot Museum.

The Missouri Pacific depot from Monroe is here also, awaiting restoration.

Museum scene.

Southern Pacific caboose 4746.

The Rusher Hotel, restored as the Great Southern Hotel.

The plaque for this bell is about the Farrell Locomotive Company.

The bell. I rang the bell then Elizabeth rang it and did the happy dance.

Elizabeth doing her happy dance.

The sign at the entrance to the museum.

The Farrell Locomotive Works repaired Shays for logging operations across America. It is an AC Delco auto parts store. We next drove to Clarendon.

The Missouri Pacific freight house in Clarendon built 1910. Our next stop was Holly Grove.

The Missouri Pacific Holly Grove station built in 1898.

We found a section of rail here. We then drove to Stuttgart where Elizabeth spotted something.

RailLink Inc SW1200 1214 originally Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac 83 switching a plant. From here we headed to Pine Bluff.

We crossed the Arkansas River and went to Colton's Steakhouse where we had dinner before checking in to the Best Western Presidential Inn and Suites. We spent the evening as we usually do then called it a night.