History Hunts Blog

Following Louisiana's & Mississippi's Historic Railroads

My Ride Reports

Finding the Lumber Mill Railroads

Monday, July 18, 2016

Back to Bogalousa, Sandy Hook, Thomas and Then There Was the Rain

Rain threatened, forecasters apologized, children cried and my wife grinned saying, " have a good ride". Well it was until the last and because it was the last it didn't matter. I was done and the flame was out. I have never been so wet. Rain, wind and lightning plus near zero visibility made for a grand crescendo.  But grander was the ride, one of the best in quite a while.  I guess the last great one was catching the Bogalusa train above Morgantown and chasing it home to Bogalusa.  That memory was  in play as I headed east down La.10 into Washington Parish.

This one will have maps.
I started off from the left on wonderful La.10.
It has a brand new surface  and is a thing of beauty between Arcola and Franklinton.
"Early Morning" is the ticket.
After negotiating a tiny bit of Franklinton I dove south into the Bogue Chitto Valley to Enon.
This road roughly follows the right of way of the old GNO railroad and priors to Rio or R-10, 
its namesake.
At Enon I'd had enough La.16 nostalgia and decided to head up the country as heading  up on a smaller, but still a great road was my desire.
Where you see "ona", which is really "Zona", once a stop on the train to Tylertown, 
is where I saw "Dummyline Road".

"Dummyline" roads are built on the remains of old logging or mainline railroad routes.
For a railroading and old logging mill enthusiast they are a treat where the imagination 
can be leveraged  to the  extreme.

The GPS tracks are priceless in these reflective ride reports which are coins in my memory bank.
On the map you can see the abandoned GMO RR route just below Zona.
Above Zona was the dummy line. Did they connect? 
Probably not because the mill tram railroads were mostly narrow gauge and the mainline RR's 
were standard. But, was there a transfer facility at the possible projected intersection?
That covers the west end of the dummy line. 
Continuing northeast you see "Sanfords Camp".
Without a doubt that place was a logging camp.
At the intersection of Dummyline and La.1072, an excellent road, there was "Campfire".
I'd contend that it was also a camp.

Get your steam up, Here we go.
No normal mainline engines traversed these hills.
I would guess that the gear driven iron mules ran here.
They were not all "Shays", a misconception I had.
For an explanation Click Here.

If I'd had the "dirt" capable motorcycle  I'd continued down what was obviously the an 
extension of the route.

I took this picture of the church signs because the Oak Grove Baptist featured a date.
Dating puts history into perspective.
Let that sink in.

Last night while delirious from the extended ride which had ended with a pool of 35 degree water
between my legs, I sought to pull finding Dummyline Rd together with the mill at Bogalusa.
The gray line is my route, the blue line roughly traces Boga Lusa Cr., the location of the first mill.
The engines had to be serviced somewhere and the sticks was not the place. I believe they were either
taken care of at Bogalusa or the Zona end of the line, if indeed the dummy line extended that far.
Or, the line was not a Bogalusa entity, but another company's property.
I believe the Goodyear people owned the Bogalusa franchise. CLICK HERE

For a depressing poverty defining town, Bogalusa is a fun place for railroad enthusiast.
The station is still there as are remnants of the railroad district.
Magnificent trestles abound. In fact the rails north out of the city feature one 
trestle after another as they hopscotch north across the eastbound drainage headed for the Pearl River.
I had considered going north to try to find the train. (there is only one on this dead end branch).
Wisely I'd check the mill yard first.
Pictured is my route south to the honey hole of Bogalusa railroading.

You take La.60 south and at at the ball park, turn east. 
A panorama unfolds before you.

John Deere

I focused my attention southward into the yard and the rail service facility.
What did I see but a glimmer of red.

A little more zoom and sure enough my cautionary investigation had paid off.
I exited to the south.

Old "Shotguns" have always been a target for my camera. Why? It's a long story.

I took the road beside the ball park south.  Ending in a dead end, I switched over to La.60, then turned 
east to the crossing.

Just before the crossing you can head north up into the Canadian National yard.

The old GMO rails are not used past this point, I don't believe, but they do continue "for a ways".
I've walked them.
I lie.

I went to the office parking lot. I suspect I as being observed because of 
what I observed later.
The red engine was parked to the east of the sand dispenser.
The blue engine was parked where you see "Parked CN". 

I was frustrated with that pickup truck. I weighed moving it myself as I knew the keys were in it.
If not I considered bursting into the office and demanding that  the idiot that put it there remove it.

It had a car behind it.  I could not identify it.  
It may have been a rail service car.
I'd later encounter a "high rail" car up the line.
Approaching a "lights on" engine is pushing the envelope a bit far.
I draw the line at demanding pickups being moved.

Its red sister sat near the sanding machine.

I decided to go to the east side of the yard.
I'd been there before and thought I might get a glimpse of the yellow car.
The extension of my route west from the northbound line at its top
is where I shot the following pictures. 
There is a house at the dead end and it is not a hospitable location so 
I backtracked a block to the mill facility parking lot.
You have to be smart, watch your back and don't corner yourself into a corner.

Take care of business and you can continue getting spectacular  shots such as these.

All Canadian boxcars.

I mentioned an "occurrence".
Heading back the way I'd come I decided to pay the parked engines another visit
Doing so falls under "returning to the scene of the crime" scenario though no crime 
had been committed.  An annoyance, maybe.
Nevertheless,  on the road that exited the yard sat a black pickup getting ready 
to turn onto the road. I turned in where he sat and I know he was checking me out
When feeling "checked out" I do something totally normal. I stopped, and slowly got out my 
drinking apparatus and took a few sips as it "taking a break". He tired of checking me out and 
exited slowly until his head snapped back from the 180 degrees in which it had turned. 
Him gone, I rode a little bit farther down the long road into the facility and let the 
camera zoom take care of the rest.
I had thought that since the train's lights were on  it was going to be moved soon.

Perhaps they had moved it so the white pickup truck would not spoil my shot?

Apply its position to the map above and you can see what spur it is on.
 I may include info on the engines at the end of the ride report if still tweaked in a generous mood

Feeling that if there was anymore action to be viewed it would eat my day doing so
I left without any regrets. If I'd stayed
the black pickup might return or the white pickup guy might come out 
or  .. or ...or .. so I headed north.
I knew no train was coming  but still there was maybe some stuff I hadn't seen 
out that way.
I investigated the airport / industrial area spur and there was nothing of interest there.
I headed up La.21 and crossed the tracks. I saw lights far up the rails.
What was that?  I thought it was a mirage and crossed the tracks 4 more times to make sure.
The lights seemed stationary. Was another loco on the tracks since I'd written off that possibility?
I went back to Highland Church and turned north to Piggott Crossing, a historic place.
Aren't they all.

The stationary lights had moved on. I considered chasing them but 
I'd done enough backtracking and it was time to move on.

I'd head north.

At Angie singing the Rolling Stones song seemed appropriate.
I drove slowly through town to avoid more blues and headed for Mississippi.

Where I was welcomed.
I thought on what kind of American music was birthed here.
Birthing music .... ah forget it.

Then I saw the historical marker.
I have sworn to investigate them all and indeed that pledge worked out again.
I went the extra mile.

At the entrance to the property was this church.
I have been in a similar one west of Oyska and at China Grove.
Don't be humming that Doobie Bros song.
"Little ol' town, down around San Antone".
Now it's stuck in your head, lols.

Then I gasped.
This was the real deal.
I reflected on the home in the park at St.Martinville.
Both houses reflected prosperous owners, but both are "primitive" 
reflecting their age, not being of the Greek mold of the mid 1800's,
but of the early 1800's.

There was a gravel road provided.

The owners are to be praised for their letting it be accessible to all without hindrance.

Exiting, this scene grabbed me.

Turn off MS 35 here.

A few closer pictures: 

Next, I continued up to Sandy Hook.
OhOh and I'd discussed the siding there which had delayed the southbound Bogalusa CN train in
my previous ride report.

Indeed it was completed complete with yellow loader.

Zooming in for the visually impaired.

Next, I'd head up Hurricane Creek.

No pictures were taken as I as enjoying the "rhythm" of the ride.
If a motorcyclist you know what "rhythm" means.


The store looked new, but wasn't.
The pumps reflected the 1960's.

Approaching MS 48 this old farm house appeared.

It was at the blue flag.

I headed south to Dexter Rd.

It lead me to the boxcar.
Finding from where it came will be next.
I can't believe it was carted far.

Any ideas are welcomed.

La.436 is a gift.

The old store is still there .

Very early exploring of this area had featured this store.

This house at Thomas belonged early on to an affluent farmer or it was a mill headquarters.
I'd go 50/50 on this bet.

 Continuing from above Thomas, La.62 and La.436 brought me back to Franklinton.
At Franklinton I took La.10/440 west. I had visions of catching the Amtrak City of New Orleans
at Tangipahoa.

A large police presence in the highway turned me round short of my destination.
I was not going to deal with Barney at this point.
Knowing the community of Tangipahoa ... added to that decision.

I'd already encountered a short burst of rain.
I returned to the rain wall and it got bad, very very bad.
All electronics and wallet were stowed safely away.
It stopped and restarted when I thought it was over.
If I hadn't done it before I would have stopped but the lightening was too bad.
I didn't want to be a sitting target as if that made a difference.
Airplanes get hit, so why would I be special?

Below is an uncluttered view of the route.
It was a good one. 

Oh, I suppose I can front you the info on the two engines.
Links are at  GTW 5822 and CN-WC 1568.
Neither are beauties and seemed to have been placed in the backwater of the system.
There is a picture of the GTW at Baton Rouge in 2013. The WC can be seen at Hattisburg, MS.

CN / WC1568 in Greenbay, Wisconsin.

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