This was the only rail service into Hot Springs for 25 years. The Hot Springs Rail Road line connected with the St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern Railroad. This company was the first to produce a booklet advertising Hot Springs and the baths. Published in 1877, “The Hot Springs of Arkansas, America’s Baden-Baden” included advertisements and a map of the railroad line. [Baden-Baden was a famous European spa.] Later other railroad lines followed suit and published their own guides, complete with descriptions and photographs of famous landmarks, hotels, and bathhouses.
Eventually this narrow gage line was converted to a standard gage line in 1889. After this, wealthy Chicago visitors could ride their private Pullman cars all the way into Hot Springs. A second rail line was attempted in 1899 but not completed. The business was bought by Col. Samuel Fordyce, who also built the Cottonbelt Line in southeastern Arkansas, the Fordyce Bathhouse and other business ventures in his adopted town. The Little Rock & Hot Springs Western line connected from Memphis, Tennessee to Little Rock, Arkansas into Hot Springs and then into Texas.