Northern Illinois University Press

The Louisiana and Arkansas Railway

The Story of a Regional Line

James R. Fair

"Well-written and a most enjoyable read."
Railroad History

"Enjoyable reading.... A long-overdue documentation of a railroad that has grown in importance."—Trains

"Fans of the L&A/KCS will find the book fascinating, as will those interested in southern railroading."—Railfan & Railroad

The Louisiana & Arkansas Railway, known as "The Better Way," ran its first trains at the turn of the century and expanded over the years to connect New Orleans to Dallas. Well-maintained and enduringly profitable, this regional railroad succeeded because of the tenacity of three men who consecutively oversaw all aspects of operations.

The story of the L&A is largely a collective biography of William Edenborn, William Buchanan, and Harvey Couch—the men who built and extended the line by shrewd acquisitions. These successful businessmen combined wisdom, foresight, and propensity for hard word—traits they had first demonstrated in other careers—with their longtime love for trains. Each applied remarkable talents for industry and commerce toward the development of the L&A to mold it into a model regional railroad.

In this first history of the L&A, Fair traces the line's development from the early boom days of railroading to its dissolution in the modern era of takeovers. Although for much of its existence the L&A operated under the control of a parent company, the KCS, it long maintained independence. The eventual takeover by the superline in 1992 finally dissolved the L&A entirely.

(1997) 176 pp., 80 b/w illus., 8 1/4 x 10 3/4
ISBN: 978-0-87580-219-0
cloth $38.50

Table of Contents

1 William Edenborn, Steel Industry Captain
2 Edenborn Builds His Personal Railroad
3 Operation of the LR&N
4 The Earliest L&A Antecedent: The Texas Line
5 William Buchanan and the Original L&A
6 Harvey Couch and the New L&A
7 A Big Little Railroad
8 Submerged in the Holding Company: The Final Dissolution
Works Cited

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ISBN: 978-0-87580-219-0
cloth $38.50