Bank of Fayetteville’s train bank to close in September

The Bank of Fayetteville’s train bank branch stands at the corner of Dickson Street in West Avenue near the construction site of a new municipal parking deck on Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2023. (Flyer photo/Dustin Bartholomew)

A bank branch located in an old train car in downtown Fayetteville will soon close.

The Bank of Fayetteville’s “train bank,” which has served as a local landmark for nearly 30 years at the corner of Dickson Street and West Avenue, will close for good at the end of September, according to a note posted on the door.

“This branch will permanently close at 5 p.m. on Sept. 29,” the note states. “Your accounts will remain with Farmers and Merchants Bank / The Bank of Fayetteville and no action by you is necessary.”

A letter signed by bank president and CEO Brad Chambless is available inside the bank, and includes more information.

As you may know, the Train Branch is located in the City of Fayetteville’s entertainment district and the Ramble Park development expansion. Redevelopment of the Train Branch site is an important part of the City’s plans to increase tourism and provide more amenities for the Fayetteville community. We continue to support business development and grown to ensure our City is a desirable place to live and work. We hope you will join us in welcoming this positive change and direction for Fayetteville.

Farmers and Merchants Bank, who owns Bank of Fayetteville, sold the land where the train bank is located for $2.44 million back in June to Ramble North, LLC.

The company lists local businessman Greg House as one its officers, whose business partner Ted Belden has said the plan is to build a hotel on the property. House earlier this week reiterated those plans to NWAOnline, but said finalized negotiations for a hotel partner have not been completed.

Bank of Fayetteville purchased the property for the train bank for $140,000 in 1996, according to county property records. That was nine years after the bank opened in the Lewis Brothers Hardware building on the corner of the downtown square in 1987.

“Loving historic buildings, the bank founders took on the challenge of restoring a train car and caboose into the widely recognized and unique Train Bank on Dickson Street,” the bank’s website says about the project.

A small piece of the train bank property sold to the City of Fayetteville for $100,000 in 2021 as part of the project to build the new municipal parking deck currently under construction nearby, though the rest of the bank branch property was not needed for construction of the deck, which is set to open later this fall.

House told us on Wednesday that the train cars were part of the land sale, and are now owned by Ramble North, LLC. He said he isn’t positive what they will do with them, but that architects on the hotel project have been looking at ways to incorporate them into the hotel project in some way, or find another use for them downtown.

“We’d like to find a way for them them stay in the community,” he said.