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In 1977, I went to work for the St. Louis Southwestern Railroad in Jonesboro as the first woman break man in the state of Arkansas. There was also a woman engineer hired in Pine Bluff. However, I can find no record of this in anything that I have read. I was wondering why.
At 68, I thought it might be a nice piece of history to leave for my grandchildren.
My yard master was Oliver Naylor, who later went to Memphis. My engineer was Bobby Etta.

Beverly Mina Davis
Tyler, TX


The Cotton Belt line built between Lewisville, AR, and Shreveport, LA, was built by the Arkansas and Southern Railway Company in 1887–88 and was then conveyed to the St. Louis, Arkansas and Texas Railway. Reference is "80 Years of Transportation Progress" as published in the October 1957 issue of the Cotton Belt News. The Cotton Belt News was the Cotton Belt's Public Relations Department publication. There is also the McNeil to Magnolia Branch which was built by the Texas & St. Louis. This line was leased to the Louisiana and Northwest RR in 1899.


Edwin C. Cooper, Cotton Belt Rail Historical Society #114, Pine Bluff
Shelbyville, KY


The Arkansas Railroad Museum in Pine Bluff houses the last Cotton Belt steam engine ever built: engine number 819. It was assembled in the building that now houses the museum. It was completed and put into service in February 1942. The building was constructed in the early 1900s and housed the railroad’s “back shops” where heavy repairs and locomotive overhauls were performed. The last ten Cotton Belt steam locomotives (810–819) were built in the building. The 819 and the Cotton Belt #336, also housed in the museum, are the only two remaining Cotton Belt steam engines that survived the torch after the Cotton Belt was completely converted to diesel power in 1953. The rest were sold for scrap. 


Ken Buckner, Cotton Belt Rail Historical Society
Pine Bluff, AR