The Standard Gravel Company used a number of steamers up through the 1960s. Here are a couple tired old ex-T&NO (SP) 0-6-0 switchers still in service at the pit near Franklinton, Louisiana in 1965. Engine #124 on the left has finished its work for the morning and rests patiently while the crew goes to lunch. If you look closely, you’ll notice the tender tank is upside down. The tender was leaking badly and some enterprising soul solved the problem by inverting the tank, modifying it as necessary. The engine #156 on the right has one of the unusual “sausage” tenders that the SP used.
Jim Six has been a model railroader since he was a kid (as have I). Since we’re both the same age, I can tell you, that’s a lot of years! Jim has been a prolific modeler over these years, and many of you have probably come across at least a few of the many modeling articles that he has produced in various model railroading magazines.
Jim recently retired and he has decided to re-think his layout. Part of that thought led him to make the decision to redo (and scale down) what he was in the midst of doing. And another major change was his decision to move to an earlier time frame for his modeling. He decided on the year 1927, and his plan is to model a single town, Sturgis, Michigan.
One of the bi-products of this era decision was the realization that much of his rolling stock was just too modern for his 1927 date. Jim participates in the Model Railroad Hobbyist forum, and has shown photos of several of his inexpensive, but beautifully weathered cars. One of the cars that he has shown is a New York Central gondola. It’s an Accurail kit, and the only modification to it was to substitute metal stirrups on the corners for the stock cast on plastic ones. He also equipped the car with the smaller size Kadee couplers. But the big addition was the weathering job that he did on the car. This is proof of something that I’ve believed for a long time: even an inexpensive plastic car with all it’s cast on grab irons, ladders, etc. can still look wonderful at normal viewing distances if you know how to paint and weather the car. The photo below is that car.
Jim has done quite a few cars like this, and all the photos I’ve seen of them look absolutely wonderful. But here’s the best part (for me). Jim and I have struck up a long distance friendship, and he recently gifted me this “too modern” NYC gondola as a “birthday present”. It arrived early this week and I’m totally elated with it. And I think it looks even better than the photo. I’m proud to be the new owner of this car, and it’ll one day see service on the Louisiana Central.
The Union Pacific Railroad ran an excursion special between Houston and College Station, Texas back in the summer of 1995. At the point was steam locomotive No. 3985, a 4-6-6-4 Challenger. It is currently the largest operating steam locomotive in the country. Here she is pulling the train on the return leg of the journey heading toward Houston.
Today marks the 7th anniversary of this blog . . . my how time flies!
As a little change of pace, I thought I’d post a few photos taken during some steam excursions that I was fortunate to participate in.
In the early 1970s the Southern Railway ran a series of steam powered excursion trains throughout its system. Steam locomotive No. 722, of a 2-8-0 wheel arrangement, is shown here heading for New Orleans from Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Mr. Walter Dove, a long time employee of the Southern, is at the throttle.
The fourth in this series of photographs, this scene is also at the old Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad station (now the the Louisiana Art and Science Museum) located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
For many years an old former Illinois Central 0-6-0 steam locomotive was parked on display at the north end of the station platform. One afternoon while studying the locomotive I captured this view of the steamer’s driving wheels and valve gear.
I used to occasionally drive over to the west bank of the Mississippi River across from Baton Rouge to do a little railfanning. Of course I would always check out Plaquemine as part of my route. The T&P (now UP) runs right through the center of town and with an abundance of interesting structures on either side of the tracks, there was always something of interest to photograph while waiting around for a train to rumble by.
Here’s one such subject that I caught one afternoon during the lull.
The second in this series of photographs, this scene is at the old Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad station located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana right next to the Mississippi River levee. The Y&MV was a subsidiary of the Illinois Central Railroad until merged into the IC in the late 1940s. After the demise of rail passenger service to Baton Rouge, the building changed ownership and became the Louisiana Art and Science Museum.
This is the scene on the north end of the depot under the covered platform. A glimpse of the “new” Mississippi River bridge can be seen in the background.
I thought I’d start posting a few photos taken back in the 1970s. I’ll start today with this one taken at the former General Services Administration (GSA) supply depot that was in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. This was a significant supply depot for many years. But after use of this depot began to wind down, a large chunk of it was eventually turned over to the BREC park commission in Baton Rouge. This photo shows one of the rail served warehouses that were in the facility. A few still survive to this day.