The Whitehurst & Pine Ridge Railroad is the official model railroad of Cowcatcher Magazine. Set in the hills of Northwest Arkansas in the mid-1980s during the Union Pacific merger era, the free-lanced N-scale subsidiary short line railroad has been a work in progress since 1984. The scope of the railroad is small but its strategic location southeast of Fort Smith offers plenty of opportunity from its Class I parent as well as the Kansas City Southern.
A mix of second-generation locomotives from UP, Missouri Pacific, Missouri-Kansas-Texas and Western Pacific move freight from interchanges in Pine Ridge, Whitehurst, Little Rock and Monroe. Locals run between Pine Ridge and Elaine, hauling coal, paper, cement, grain, lumber, petroleum, plastics and other goods.
UP trains from Kansas City, Dallas and Ft. Smith interchange with the W&PRR at Pine Ridge. KCS, with service from Fort Smith to Texarkana, interchanges with UP and the W&PRR in Pine Ridge.
The Monroe Northern, W&PRR’s sister short line in Monroe, provides a big connection for the cement industry. Cars bound for Fort Smith, Kansas City and Pine Bluff, Ark., are interchanged with UP and Burlington Northern in the Monroe Industrial District.
The layout has three levels compacted into a 9′ x 16′ footprint and runs on DC. Trains are controlled by MRC walk-around throttles.
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