Built in 1942 by the St. Louis Southwestern Railway Company, also known as the Cotton Belt, this huge 4-8-4 was the last steam built by the Cotton Belt’s huge erecting shop in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.
In 1955 the Cotton Belt retired the 819 and donated her to the City of Pine Bluff. The big Northern sat on display in the city’s Oakland Park until 1983. She had become a slowly deteriorating reminder of the area’s deep railroad history. It was then that the Cotton Belt Railroad Historical Society stepped in. The removed the locomotive from the park and began a two and one half year restoration, returning the 819 to active duty.
This video covers the 819’s return to service, plus her annual run to Fordyce, Arkansas for the “Fordyce on the Cotton Belt” festival. You’ll also see her three-day, 400-mile commemorative run to Tyler, Texas and back.
In this video you’ll see restoration photos, 65-mph pacing and plenty of trackside action, which makes “Cotton Belt 819” an exciting addition to your railroad video collection.