This an excerpt from an article within www.ozarkhistory.com. There are many other interesting pages here.

The first railroad into northwest Arkansas was completed to Eureka Springs, Arkansas in 1882. Passenger service to Harrison was started in 1903. This railroad was called the M.N.A., short for Missouri and North Arkansas Railroad Co. It was built on through to Helena, Arkansas in 1909.

At the same time another railroad line was being built about parallel with the M.N.A. but it was just a little north of it across northern Arkansas. It was called the St. Louis Iron Mountain and Southern Railway. This railway was completed from Carthage, MO to Batesville, AR in 1906, which took five years to build at a cost of ten million dollars. Railway completion from Mt. Olive to Buffalo, Arkansas was on July 3, 1903 and completion from Buffalo to Cotter was on September 1, 1903. The first passenger train to arrive in Cotter was on September 2, 1903.

The building of this railroad across the Cedar Grove Community gave it a big lift. Everything was shipped in and out by railroad instead of being hauled from Springfield, MO by wagon and team. Also at the same time part of the incoming and outgoing freight was brought in by steamboat on the White River and hauled into this section by wagon from different landings near Cotter, Arkansas.

With freight starting to be hauled to Cotter by rail it just about put the steamboat out of business. Freight still had to be hauled by wagon from Harrison and Cotter until the railroad was completed to Yellville on August 22, 1904.The railroad was completed from Yellville to Bergman on December 31, 1904 at the same time it was coming in from the north. Railway completion from Carthage, MO to Aurora, MO July 1, 1904, from Aurora to Reed Springs, MO December 31, 1904, from Reed Springs to Bergman, Arkansas January 1, 1906. The first through train rolled over the railroad January 2, 1906.

In trying to match dates, in the eulogy on Thomas Willier.....

....His labors also extended to Jamaica and Costa Rica and almost twelve years before his death he completed several important contracts in that part of the country. The last important work in which he was engaged was the building of the Iron Mounain railroad from Crane to Springfield, a part of which was through some of the most rugged sections of the Ozarks. ...

With his death in 1910, his return would have been about 1898.

Along the route from Sringfield to Crane there is a small town of Hurley. From digging, found that a mill was built there in 1892, strongly suggesting that the Railroad had reached that far by then.

From the above article...

...Railway completion ......from Aurora to Reed Springs, MO December 31, 1904....

Crane lies about one third of the distance from Aurora to Reed Springs. In looking at a current map of Crane I noted that there is a "Roundhouse Road". This says Crane was a service center for the railroad.

My old map shows the route from Springfield to Crane following down Spring Creek to the confluence of Crane Creek just downstream from the town of Crane then upstream.

Todays' pictures of Spring Creek at Hurley looks pretty placid. Apparently the rugged part is in the vicinity of the junction of the creeks.

The line was abandoned sometime in the past and todays roads seem to bypass this area. Looks like a likely place to explore. Might find some remains of the old RR line.

Excerts on the Railroad to Crane & to Springfield follows.

In 1902 the Missouri Pacific extended a line from Carthage, in Jasper county, Missouri, to a junction with the Iron Mountain & Southern, in north-eastern Arkansas. Springfield worked hard for a connection with this line, and in 1905 sufficient inducements were made to the company, and it built a thirty-five-mile branch from Crane, in Stone county, to Springfield. Many people hope that now that this system has built into Springfield, it will continue the line eighty miles to the northeast, to a junction with its own Jefferson City branch, at Bagnell, thus realizing the dream of many years, of a northern road, independent of the Frisco. Such a line would pass through a fine country, and should be a paying venture from the start.

- Springfield Southwestern Railway Company incorporated under the general laws of Missouri on Feb 19, 1903, line ran 35.24 miles from Gulf Street in Springfield to Crane, Missouri; conveyed by deed to the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern on September 1,

Excitement and interest began to mount when rumors of a railroad began to drift in. Where would it go? Some talk had been heard of running south of Aurora to Scholten, then a thriving com munity, and on east through Galena and in to Ar kansas. It is said that many citizens of Stone County offered to give land for a right-of-way so eager were they for railway service. Rumors be came facts in 1903 when grading machinery and gangs of laborers moved in. The Missouri Pacific Railroad reached Crane in December 1904, and made a division terminal there in June 1905. The roundhouse was built in 1906. The Springfield branch was built in 1905 and 1906. J. H. Taylor became the first agent and later built the Hotel Port landExcitement and interest began to mount when rumors of a railroad began to drift in. Where would it go? Some talk had been heard of running south of Aurora to Scholten, then a thriving com munity, and on east through Galena and in to Ar kansas. It is said that many citizens of Stone County offered to give land for a right-of-way so eager were they for railway service. Rumors be came facts in 1903 when grading machinery and gangs of laborers moved in. The Missouri Pacific Railroad reached Crane in December 1904, and made a division terminal there in June 1905. The roundhouse was built in 1906. The Springfield branch was built in 1905 and 1906. J. H. Taylor became the first agent and later built the Hotel Port land