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Following Louisiana's & Mississippi's Historic Railroads

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Finding the Lumber Mill Railroads

Monday, July 18, 2016

Mississippi & Louisiana: Bogalusa to McComb

I had lost this picture. It is what had initially re-energized my interest in Bogalusa-north inspiring my recent ride. I'll try to explain it all as we go through it.
I had found one of my old pictures taken in 2005 of an engine crossing Old MS 27 above Monticello, MS. It turned out that it was taken at Wanilla, MS, an important historical junction.
I put 2 and 2 together and followed those rails south to Bogalusa, a place I have scouted many times, especially during the "Search for the GM&O RR".
I asked Virgil about the Bogalusa paper mill and the pictured engine. Of course he knew someone that could answer my questions.
This is Virgil replying to my note:
Hello Steve, I got a reply from Charlie on Bogalusa. I believe the paper mill was owned by Crown Zellerbach when I first moved over to the Northshore back in the 1980's. Now it's International Paper.
As you can see (from Charlie's note), the train runs daily, not a couple times a week.
Note there are "yard jobs" at the mill. I'll have to clarify that, but I suspect the mill has its own engine(s) that make up a train and have it ready for the CN engines when they come in.
Back to me. Indeed there were "yard jobs" going on. The question of there being IP engines is still up in the air.
This is Charlie's reply to Virgil. Charlie is the expert on the Bogalusa Branch.
Thank you for sending the info on Steve's blog. I enjoyed looking at the great photographs.
I have probably picked crews up at every crossing between Bogalusa and Wanilla in the past 25 years and have covered every inch between Slidell and Jackson on a motorcar with my dad. He was the telephone lineman for the GM&O at Bogalusa. The depot at Foxworth sat on the west side of the track about where the little building is close to the track. Back in the GM&O days, Foxworth was known as West Columbia".
Me: I had mentioned the wreck below Red Bluff, off of MS 587, north of Morgantown. Charlie comments:
"The chip hoppers where the wreck was between Morgantown and White Bluff are not the hoppers involved in the accident. The GM&O picked everything up after they got the 613 out of the river. The ICG dumped some hoppers there back in the '70's to help fight erosion.
These are pictures of the engine (613) that went into the river at Red Bluff,
and a little about it.
Shots by others:
I may have read this right. The engine was again renumbered to BNSF 2968. So, if you see it, know that it was sunk in the Pearl River a while back.
Next is about my whereabouts when the train picture was taken back in 2005. Again, from Charlie:
Steve was at Wanilla on the old MSC. The train is headed west en route to Jackson from Ferguson".
"I picked a crew up there a few weeks ago.The engineer appears to be Bill M. who has since retired. The IC and CN restricts six axle power on the Bogalusa District due to poor track conditions. The GM&O ran SD40's on the south end up until about 1969 when they were restricted due to all the bridges, small rail, and sharp curves. They were sent north for coal train service. The north end had bigger rail, too. I remember seeing three brand new SD40's come into Bogalusa in 1966. Concerning chips at Bogalusa, IP will continue to receive chips by truck. The new chipper will be able to chip whole logs. With the old chipper, the logs have to be cut in half. Also a humongous crane is being installed to handle the logs. It will be something to see when the operation begins.
From a later note:
"The paper mill at Bogalusa is now owned by International Paper. They are in the process of putting in a state of the art chipper and rumor has it that they will only receive logs for chipping and no longer receive chips. I hope that logs will be received by rail, too".
"The Bogalusa/Ferguson Turn (L579) runs daily".
"Twenty five to thirty loads a day would be considered a good train although the count on some days is a lot lower than this. They are using a lot of Hi-Cube boxes but trucks still haul a tremendous amount of paper too".
"The other morning they turn left Ferguson with 48 cars while just a few days before it came back in with lite engines after having spotted empty center beam flats at Monticello Hardwood and Miles lumber".
"These are the only shippers on the line besides I P. Marion County Coop may receive fertilizer and seeds but this is seasonal".
Two yard jobs at 7am and a 7pm job serve the mill.
Charlie "
Thanks to Virgil, and especially Charlie, for all of that information.
Before I get into the ride I took Saturday, you may want
to get some downloading out of the way.
Click the schedule below and download it. Open it with
something that will reveal its true size, like Irfan View.
Below is from the above schedule.
It will be the second leg of the
ride after Bogalusa.
New Orleans & Great Northern RR
It will be interesting to see how the mile post match up.
The first stop on the ride will be Bogalusa. I needed to
replace some lost pictures and roll the dice on chasing a
train north from there.
Here is the GM&O RR map. Notice the line through
Bogalusa has some of the same depots. Also, check out the
spur to Columbia.
This is an old picture of the lumber camp on Bogue Lusa Creek.
The creek still goes by the mill.
This was the best poorly planned ride that I've taken in a while.
I had two things I wanted to do. One got done well, but the
main one, the one that inspired the outing, didn't. But, that
was OK because the outcome of its failure was ..... you'll
have to wait.
Captions are on the top of the pictures. Pictures enlarge
when clicked. Hit the "X" in the upper right corner to
return to this page with the captions or just stay there
and look at mystery pictures.
So it began.
This is La.10, headed east, ascending the uplift from Wilmer, Southeast La.
La.10 is a fine road from Arcola to Bogalusa. Serious streams
and their valleys separate uplifts or carve into one large one.
You only need to know that between the valleys are high places.
Approaching Bogalusa, you come down to the Pearl River Valley.
The Pearl is an awesomely beautiful stream from its source to its mouth.
Bogalusa and its main sustaining industry, International
Paper's mill, loom as ugly as money. Once known for its bad
smell, I could hardly detect that I was in a paper mill town.
I got inventive with the GPS tracks. My GPS is wired to cut
off every time I shut down the bike's motor. When I restart
the bike, a new track begins. I once connected the tracks,
but not on this one because each time I stopped. I took a shot.
That has worked out nicely but got tiring, so I quit after Bogalusa.
This is an overview of the ride around Bogalusa. I'll break
down sections as we go along. They all expand when clicked.
I came in on the brown line which is La.10. I turned south on La.60.
Somewhere along there is the old Coke distributor.
I didn't take a front view because I had one.
This was not my first time to Bogalusa. It was a requirement
when I rode east of the Pearl in this part of the state. The
next crossing south is US 90. The next one north is Rockville.
I drifted south on La.60. (Ave.B) that borders the west side
of the mill. I took a left (east) on Willis Ave. which rides along
the south border of the mill. The trestle over the Bogue Lusa
is up ahead.
At the railroad underpass there is a fine collection of murals.
It is too bad that they are fading. They trace the history of
The Mill

Here's one honoring the Rebel, the GN&O's passenger train.
There are others.
Further south on Ave B (La.60):
These homes are on the main drag. I've always thought
they may have been part of the mill's housing for its managers.
Their architecture is fairly similar.
Shotguns are elsewhere.
Next to the park is a road that accesses the mill's yard.
I have ridden in a few times with no problem. This shot
was taken at "1 Yard Shots".
I continued south, bordering the yard, to a high place over the
mill's rail yard. (Red flag marking "2 Yard Shots")
The piles of cut trees behind were voluminous.
The park is in the foreground.
A baseball game was going on at the park.
I progressed to the south side of the mill's yard where the
old GM&O and NO&GN had entered. (the base of the red line)
I'd heard that the mill had its own engine and that when
the trains were built, the CN came by to pick them up.
The Canadian National was sitting there running. I really
thought I'd have one to chase to Monticello, or beyond on
its way to Jackson.
Later I heard a horn. I thought the ride was on, but either
it got by me or it was something else.
Heading out of the yard (going south) I read this sign. I suppose it
meant that if I entered on a train I should talk via radio to the yardmaster.
Entering from the south would have been difficult. This
branch began in New Orleans. At least that is where the
mile post numbering starts.
When I was tracing the abandoned ROW of the GM&O, I'd
found where the old rails had been cut off. This wasn't the
place as they continue further south.
I moved up the east side of the mill catching shots where I could.
I believe the next few were taken at "RR Shots" on the green leg.
I believe these are the main offices. On a sign it said, "Visitor's
Parking". I felt welcomed and immediately made for the
east fence where I saw MOVEMENT.
I got the camera out just in time to catch this engine pulling a
bunch of box cars. I first thought it was a renter. It was GT 5818.
OK, see it HERE.
Learn about it HERE.
It is a GP 38-2. Wiki had this to say about it:
"In the mid 2000's Canadian National Railway began retiring many of the Grand Trunk's locomotives, and only a handful of locomotives (mostly GP38-2's) are still in service. It is not known if Canadian National will purchase any new locomotives for the railroad, or if the Grand Trunk image will fade away entirely".[1]
So, I might have caught one of the "last" belonging to GTW.
But, the question is still out there. Does Bogalusa use its
own engines to switch cars? It seems not. 2 CN engines were
on the premises.
The train was moving to the south yard.
Something was going on at this boxcar.
I can't think of the name of that thing, but it's new, it seems,
and bigger than the one that was there, or now they have two?
I just installed Charlie's comments. I wonder if that's a "chipper"?
I figured I'd seen all I could on a Saturday and took off following
the rails north out of Bogalusa. Maybe that train I thought I'd heard
would come or I'd catch it.
I went back under the underpass. This is a better shot taken
a few years back. I got off my bike from time to time back then.
Then I zigzagged back under the rails to the east side, again.
This shot was taken near the top of the pink leg.
That made you look again, didn't it.
On what I think is "Main Street", I approached the old
depot. I heard a train blow its horn as if crossing a street.
I parked and ran up the embankment. This is at the end of the
pink leg.
I looked north.
I zoomed down south and saw no train coming. This is shooting
over the last underpass and the long wooden trestle over
Bogue Lusa Creek. The rails do have a little twitch in them.
I wonder if it gives a train a little shimmy.
Looking north.
Looking back south.
This had been a little cafe or something a while back.
Possibly its demise was due to a lack of seating or windows.
There's the old depot.
This is what I believe was a warehouse. It sure did have
a lot of windows.
I looked back at the mill.
I looked back at the "warehouse", "freight house".
I noticed a fancy door.
Indeed it was. What was the story behind that?
A warehouse doesn't have that many windows,
much less a fancy door.
A "Club Car" was usually a rolling bar if not mistaken.
If not a only a bar, it was a restaurant, too.
Fire arresting was a primary concern.
One more look track side.
This building was across the street.
It was time I left Bogalusa, and I did. These shots along the
way. There would be many trestles.
This was the first POI going north.
Nothing looked shakin'.
Rusty rails.
The next POI was this old tractor display.
Further up the line was another woods industry business.
I proceeded to either meet the rails at crossings or follow them
where I could.
78.9 is where the old schedule listed Varnardo.
Below Angie, I think I got this one.
84.9 is Angie on the schedule.
HWY 436
I do this for the ex-postmen I know.
Finally, I got to Mississippi. After Angie is a stretch I'd just
done coming south. No problem, going in the opposite
direction is a whole new trip especially if your memory span is short.
The rails went that a way.
The road got wider.
And, then it got narrower.
I popped out on a country road.
Can't tell what that is? Then it's doing its job. Not one I approve of.
I arrived at the next road and these two were drinking it up.
Ok, I'll tell you. The thing above is a goat hunting stand.
I was again in Sandy Hook, MS. A reader, who will remain
unnamed, is related to everyone here and George Washington,
possibly, if I read him right.
I hadn't gotten this far into Sandy Hook before.
Sandy Hook, like so many old MS towns, takes you back.
Sure, the past had its problems, but not like today.
Next, the old road left the new road. I took it thinking it
followed the rails better. I was wrong.
But, it did take me to a nice trestle.
Across the tracks the property was posted X3. That's
"very posted".
Old 33's bridges were Model A ready.
I needed a rail hit so I crossed the forbidding gate.
Satisfied, I left.
103.4 (old schedule) is Foxworth on US 98, just west of Columbia, Miss.
The rail map shows a spur going to Columbia from Foxworth.
Once needed.
I left out the Foxworth pictures because I didn't take any.
Those were taken a few ride reports back. Check the
"Returning to Mississippi" series.
Old ties.
Moving through Foxworth and Morgantown:
I'd been on MS587, the Red Bluff road above Foxworth.
I'd ridden through all that motorcycle heaven which has its
downside. There are few rail viewing chances. Then this
came along. MS has built a extension of its east-west highway,
MS 44.
I'd jump on the approach and see what it had to offer.
Surely it crossed the rails and the Pearl River.
Look at that thing. Bet it cost a pretty penny. It goes right
up the soft west bluff bordering the Pearl River Valley.
The Pearl is one of those "serious rivers" mentioned earlier.
Ah, shucks, they turned.
And, they turned again going north.
Going west, MS 44 dead stopped against a high hill, one that
looked like it would require a tunnel go get through. I'd run into MS 44
to the east and take it into McComb.
I was now at White Bluff. 114.39 (old schedule)
I've been to the cabin many times. I even submitted
a piece about it to "Haunted Places Magazine". There was
once an old time refrigerator in it. Now it's gone.
Come join me here one night.
You can see the trees move out of the corner of your eye.
The old cabin is protected by them. It's been there a long
long time.
I stopped at White Bluff. Some fella was opening an RV
and trail park here a while back. I didn't see a sign of it.
Approaching Monticello, there is a swamp, probably the
Pearl's back swamp, that has to be traversed. I caught
a couple of views, by the hardest though the overgrowth.
A bit further, I spied another opening.
Down Ted Thompson Ln. I shot these.
More trestle shots.
Why all the rail shots? I like playing engineer and imagining
what they see. OK?
Down Buck Wilson:
This is the box shown later.
The old schedule places Monticello at MP 131.33.
The box was shot south of town at the 587 crossing which
makes this old MP right or close.
The depot is where my track crosses the tracks above the US84 marker.
I hadn't loaded enough maps for the trip. I had to head home.
That was the failure of which I spoke. I, instead, headed to McComb,
This last shot in Monticello was taken at 3:46.
The first McComb shot was taken at 4:38.
The is McComb's great depot and museum.
I immediately looked for a good shot of the old steam engine coal bin.
Then I heard a horn tooting a friendly "watch your butt
you dingy old rail nut".
He pulled up beside me and ordered a burger.
Did I have on roller skates?
Then they all wanted something.
Alas, I busted the picture I wanted. I love contrasting subjects,
especially ones dealing with history. Here we have the
modern Amtk City of New Orleans with a coal bin that
served the old steam engines like the one here on display
at McComb in the background.
If I'd wandered northof Monticello to Wanilla, like I'd planned,
I'd missed this. It was the high light of the day.
Wanilla will get done in the future as well as the Wanilla
to Jackson run when there's a train to chase.
I'd look around a little. But, I was done. The rest would be
"going through the motions".
Then I saw the Bo Diddley monument. Mississippi, you are
pretty cool for putting that up. Bo was a hero of my musical
heroes. I've seen him on stage with the Rolling Stones.
Suddenly, I was reinvigorated. On to Fernville. I mean Fernwood.
But first, Bo's trademark song, "Who Do You Love"
I walked 47 miles of barbed wire, Used a cobra snake for a neck tie. Got a brand new house on the roadside, Made out of rattlesnake hide. I got a brand new chimney made on top, Made out of human skulls. Now come on darling let's take a little walk, tell me, Who do you love, Who do you love, Who do you love, Who do you love. Arlene took me by the hand, And said oooh eeeh daddy I understand. Who do you love, Who do you love, Who do you love, Who do you love. The night was black and the night was blue, And around the corner an ice wagon flew. A bump was a hittin' lord and somebody screamed, You should have heard just what I seen. Who do you love, Who do you love, Who do you love, Who do you love. Arleen took me by my hand, she said Ooo-ee Bo you know I understand I got a tombstone hand and a graveyard mind, I lived long enough and I ain't scared of dying. Who do you love (4x's)
But, first, a few more McComb shots.
Looking back at the depot.
These supports have always pulled at me.
Down US 51 to Fernwood:
Fernwood did not look like it was prospering. It is caught
between McComb and Magnolia. Its place as a bedroom
community seems not to have taken off. It had been a
thriving community.
Yes, there had been a railroad out of Fernwood that met up
with the GMO at Tylertown. All that is branded in my head.
Get the scoop HERE.
Next up was Magnolia. I tried to get married there once.
I didn't pass the goofy test.
Yes, Magnolia, as does McComb and Terry, has a wonderfully
maintained old Illinois Central depot.
I was back home.
More later. I could have added a lot more pictures, but ....
then I couldn't say, more later. Ride map below.
I goosed the old bike to avoid this.

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