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About Jack Shall

I've been a model railroader and railfan for well over 60 years now. My interests lie in the steam era and the early diesel era. My modeling has been in HO, but I do have a closet interest in Fn3 :-) It's been a number of years since I've done any layout construction, and the new Louisiana Central pike under construction is by far my most ambitious effort. Follow along with me on this new adventure of the Louisiana Central.

Photos Past: 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

Photos Past: 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

Photos Past: 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

Photo Past: 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.

Photos Past: 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 image 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.

Photos Past: 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

Photos Past: Louisiana Cypress #3

The photos I’ve been showing these past few months are scans of slides, and in a few cases, prints that managed to survive the great flood of 2016 in the town where I live. 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 recorded (to the best of my memory) sometime back in the 1960s.

Louisiana Cypress Lbr Co #3 - Early 1960s

This locomotive 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 GEs on the Fueling Track

I’ve been looking through the few photographs that I still have that were taken at the L&N’s Gentilly Yard in New Orleans back in the early 1960s. I spotted this view of a quartet of GE U25B units sitting on the fueling track after servicing. I don’t recall ever showing this image, likely because the lighting wasn’t very good and it’s a bit washed out. But today it comes out for viewing.

I wasn’t a fan of GE locomotives back in those days. I thought EMDs were the king, and ALCOs were okay even though they sounded “weird” (I love their sound now though). But after my tour through these units, I decided that maybe they weren’t so bad. 🙂

Also note the lone EMD GP7 over at the left. I’m assuming it was one of those used in passenger service based on the lighting on it’s hood.

L&N at Fueling Stand, Gentilly Yard - Early 1960s

Photos Past: L&N Speeder at Gentilly Yard

It was late in the day when my dad and I were leaving the L&N’s Gentilly Yard in New Orleans. Much to my delight, this fellow came charging down the main just as we were heading out. At the time of the original post, reader and good friend Mike Walsdorf advised that the motorcar is a Fairmont M-19. These speeders were commonplace when this scene was recorded back in the early ’60s.

L&N Speeder at Gentilly Yard - Early 1960s

Looking today at the image, I notice an interesting mix of boxcars from names lost long ago. The Southern and the L&N cars really stand out, the latter with its relatively new blue paint job. And check out the Linde Air Products (then a division of Union Carbide) boxcars. I wish we could see to whom the tank car and the open hopper belonged.

Photos Past: 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 Railroad Gentilly yard in New Orleans, Louisiana

Photos Past: 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

Photos Past: L&N Railroad’s Gentilly Yard

We’ll shift gears again. Here’s a view taken from roughly the center of the L&N Railroad’s Gentilly yard in New Orleans, Louisiana back in the early 1960s. My dad took me here several times to do a little railfanning. In those days the rail crews didn’t seem to mind that you were in the middle of their yard as long as you stayed put in a safe space.

Off to the right you can catch a glimpse of the locomotive servicing area. The arch on the turntable is visible, and just a tad of the brick roundhouse can be seen at the edge of the image. The top of the sand tower is visible just above the blue boxcar.

L&N Gentilly Yard - Early 1960s

This view is looking roughly to the east. There wasn’t much around the east and south of this yard back in this time, mostly just marshland. It was speculated that the smoke in the distance might have been a marsh fire (quite common back then in unsettled areas of New Orleans East).