The Missouri Pacific Railroad Station at Little Rock, AR., early 1950's.

(Inter-City News Agency, Little Rock, AR, Public domain, via W. Lenheim Collection)



The Rainbow Special was a "fast train" operating over the Missouri Pacific between Kansas City, Missouri, and Hot Springs, Arkansas, (later extended to Little Rock, Arkansas). The train terminated in Omaha in the early days (see 1922 ad below). The train consisted of a sleeper, coach, and grill car. The southbound Rainbow Special was train No. 117 and the northbound was No. 124. Service was introduced in 1921 and was terminated in 1951.


Rainbow Special Time Table, 1950.

(Missouri Pacific Lines, W. Lenheim Collection)



Kansas City


Ft. Smith

Little Rock

Hot Springs


Newspaper ad for the train, showing the schedule, 1922.

(Missouri Pacific Railroad, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)


Rainbow Special Overview

Service type: Inter-city rail
Status: Discontinued
Locale: South Central United States
First service: 1921

Last service: 1951

Former operator: Missouri Pacific Railroad
Route Termini: Kansas City, Missouri / Little Rock, Arkansas
Track gauge: 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+1⁄2 in)


MP system map, circa 1891.

(Poor's Manual, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)