Washington & Western #72

Steam locomotive #72 has quite a storied history behind it. A product of the American Locomotive Company in 1914, the 4-6-0 steamer saw it’s first service on the New Orleans Great Northern Railroad as their #72. The line eventually became controlled by the Gulf, Mobile & Northern, which later itself merged with the Mobile & Ohio Railroad to create the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio. She continued to serve as #72 during those years. When the GM&O began dieselizing, the locomotive was sold in 1946 to the Gaylord Container Company in Bogalusa, Louisiana. In 1960, she found her final duty at the Washington & Western, operating in gravel pit service for the Green Brothers at their pit near Franklinton, Louisiana.

Today she rests at the Washington Parish Fairgrounds in Franklinton, where she is displayed under a shed roof wearing her GM&N paint.

The photo below was captured by Rick Boutall probably in early 1964. I understand that she was retired from active service later that year.

W&W 4-6-0 Loco #72

A Mystery Heisler

Here are a couple more photos given to me by Rick Boutall back in the mid sixties.  I need help on these, as I have no information about this locomotive.  This Heisler was likely photographed in 1964 or 1965 (based on the “65” imprinted on the right edge of the photo borders), and the backs are stamped with Rick’s typical property stamp.  But beyond that, nothing!

Mystery Heisler #5 - 1

She’s obviously “hot” as small wisps of steam can be seen around the steam chest.  There are very faint traces of the previous owner’s name above the five on the tank, but I’m not able to discern the markings.  The scene is very typical of southern Louisiana, but of course I have no way of knowing if this is even the general location.

Mystery Heisler #5 - 2

Soooo . . . if you have any idea to whom and where this beautiful beast belongs, I’d love to hear about it.

Edit:  The mystery has been solved!  This is Chicago Mill and Lumber Company #5, and the location is Tallulah, Louisiana.  Thanks, and a hat tip to David Price.


The L&N Humming Bird

At one time the Louisville and Nashville Railroad operated a beautiful, but affordable passenger train between New Orleans and Cincinnati named the Humming Bird.  This famous scene depicts the train as she is crossing the Biloxi Bay in Mississippi.  Similar to the Illinois Central photo from a few posts ago, this image also was widespread, and in my view, became the “image” of the railroad.

L&N Hummingbird

The WSP 0-6-2T #1

The Westfield Sugar Plantation Railroad’s #1 was an 0-6-2T coal burning steamer.  She was used during the fall sugar cane season on the Westfield plantation in Paincourtville, Louisiana.  These images were captured by Rick Boutall on November 1, 1963 as she was chuffing around the fields.

WSP RR #1 0-6-2T Loco - 2

The Westfield plantation was owned by Dugas & LeBlanc, Ltd.  Their little steamer was built by Porter in 1897 as c/n 1791, and she boasted 7″x14″ cylinders, and 24″ drivers.  She ran on 30″ gauge track, used link & pin couplers and had no brakes.

WSP RR #1 0-6-2T Loco - 1

Note the brakeman riding on the footboard.  Scenes like this were common among many of the sugar plantations in Louisiana many years ago.

Collection of Jack Shall

Illinois Central, South of Chicago

This is my favorite photograph depicting the Illinois Central Railroad.  I first saw this image on the cover of an I.C. annual report that was given me when I was a kid.  It’s since been featured in quite of a bit of the company’s literature.

The scene is somewhere south of Chicago, and one of their handsome chocolate and orange stream-liners is featured at left, along with two coal trains at right, with steam power no less!

IC Trains South of Chicago

Mississippian #77

In the late 1940s the Mississippian Railway purchased a pair of 2-8-0 locomotives from the Frisco Railway, #76 and #77.  These steamers served the Mississippian for twenty years, finally being retired in 1967.  Two brothers, James and Frank Carlisle  functioned as both conductors and engineers.  James was the engineer for the #76, with Frank serving as conductor on the days when the #76 drew the duty.  And Frank took the controls of #77, with James handling the paperwork and switching duties when she was called for the day.

In the late 80s (I believe 1987, give or take a year) a special excursion was organized on the Mississippian.  The #77 was borrowed from it’s current owner and returned to it’s Mississippi home rails.  Mr. James assumed the duties for his late brother as the engineer of #77 for the two day run.  With the locomotive repainted into it’s original Mississippian livery, she departed Amory on a bright Saturday morning for the journey up to Smithville.

Here the photographer has captured the train on the return leg of the journey as she crosses the new steel trestle across a part of the Tennessee–Tombigbee Waterway.

Mississippian 2-8-0 #77

Today the #77 is still in operation.  She runs on the Alberta Prairie Railroad up in Alberta, Canada as their #41.

Sluggin’ Up the Hill

At the end of the 1980s the IC Industries spun off their railroad, the Illinois Central Gulf.  The railroad decided to take back it’s original name and once again became the Illinois Central Railroad.  The orange and white locomotives were quickly repainted back into a simplified version of the original black with white striping, but sans the old green diamond herald.

This scene captures a four unit train struggling up the grade from the east bank of the Mississippi River in Natchez, Mississippi.  A mix of a GP38-2 and GP10/11 Paducah rebuilds, all in run 8, were putting on an impressive show.  It’s only the mid 90s, but the units are already showing the results of hastily applied paint, with signs of orange and white becoming visible.

ICRR at Mississippi River, Natchez, Miss.

Santa Fe Steam

I’ve always liked this image of a Santa Fe steam powered passenger train roaring down the high iron.  Most of the consist appears to be mail and express (common, especially in the later days of passenger service).  This slide was given to me by Andy Sperandeo many years ago (probably the early ’70s).  I don’t know if Andy was the photographer, or when and where the shot was taken.  But it’s always been one of my favorite pictures, so I thought I’d share it here.

AT&SF 4-6-2 steam locomotive, #3448.

ATSF 4-6-2 #3448 Steam Locomotive

Louisiana Cypress #3

One of the unfortunate casualties of the great flood of 2016 was my slide collection.  I lost many thousands of slides to that event.  I have about two shoe boxes of slides left (perhaps less than a thousand).  But those slides that were spared were generally “seconds” and other “unimportant” slides.  Indeed, they were in shoe boxes located on a high shelf in a closet only because there was no room in the drawers that housed my collection.

The photos I’ve been showing these past few months are scans of slides, and in a few cases, prints that managed to survive.  Here’s another of those survivors:

The Louisiana Cypress Lumber Company was a fairly extensive operation in the first half of the 20th century.  They had a store and mill complex located on Highway 51 south of Ponchatoula, Louisiana.  They also had a railroad operation that hauled the cypress timber to the mill.  Locomotive #3 is a small 2-8-0 that was retired and put on display in front of the store on Highway 51.  This photo was captured (to the best of my memory) sometime back in the 1960s.

Louisiana Cypress Lbr Co #3 - Early 1960s

This locomotive still survives, and was moved many years ago into the heart of Ponchatoula, located at the intersection of E. Pine Street and SE. Railroad Avenue.  It’s right across the street from the former Illinois Central depot.  It’s in generally good shape, though it suffers from somewhat “misguided” decoration on occasion.  But . . . she still survives!


L&N Turntable at Gentilly Yard

And there’s more of this 1960s tour: in this view we’ve moved a bit to the right.  The trio of GP30s and the lone F unit are sitting on the turntable lead.  The turntable is still in use (I even got to take a spin on it).  Just a tiny piece of the brick roundhouse can be seen at the extreme right edge.

L&N at Turntable, Gentilly Yard - Early 1960s

These photos were taken while I was on an impromptu guided tour by one of the switchmen who was taking a break while the crew was on the spot.  We walked through the entire service area, then through each of the units sitting on the turntable lead.  How often do railfans get a tour like this today?

L&N Locomotive Service

Continuing with the L&N’s Gentilly Yard in the early 1960s, here’s a closer view of the locomotive servicing area.  The GP30 (at right) is sitting on the lead to the turntable, while GP7 #551 (at left) rests by the fueling spot. The 551 is one of the locomotives equipped with a steam generator, and the “torpedo” style air tanks.

L&N at Service Area, Gentilly Yard - Early 1960s