Mississippi and Alabama

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Mississippi and Alabama
Posted by Fr.Al on Thursday, February 07, 2019 7:53 AM

I just discovered another of Beebe's books,"The Age of Steam", in a local library. There are pictures of the last wood burning common carrier, the Mississippi and Alabama, which shut down in 1950.

     Page 107 shows the African American Engineer(that in itself something unusual, especially in the South in those days), looking for all the world like he is texting in the cab!☺

     The fireman is busy feeding the pine knots into the tender. With that type of workout, he no doubt burned off enough calories to ensure against becoming overweight!

      Anyone around who remembers this railroad?

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Thursday, February 07, 2019 8:43 AM

I did some searching on-line and found this...

www.msrailroads.com/M&A.htm  

It's probably the same 'road that Beebe visited.  I'll have to check my copy of "Age of Steam" to verify the same.

An African-American engineer?  Maybe that wasn't too unusual on the obscure southern short lines that were essentially "industrial,"  for lack of a better term.    

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Posted by Fr.Al on Thursday, February 07, 2019 9:02 AM

It IS the road Beebe visited. Also, if you notice, instead of a cowcatcher, the front coupler of old no.4 is attached to the engine by a wood block. I seriously wonder if that engine could have doubleheaded without the lead engine pulling the whole business apart.

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Posted by rcdrye on Thursday, February 07, 2019 9:46 AM

Fr.Al
the front coupler of old no.4 is attached to the engine by a wood block

I'm sure there's a steel frame member back there somewhere...

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Posted by Fr.Al on Thursday, February 07, 2019 10:15 AM

You are probably right. Also, it's probable that the engine had to run tender first on the return trip.

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Posted by rcdrye on Thursday, February 07, 2019 1:16 PM

Fr.Al

You are probably right. Also, it's probable that the engine had to run tender first on the return trip.

 

The turntable the railbus used was probably a bit too small...

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Thursday, February 07, 2019 7:17 PM

Computer freak-out again, check below.  Bang Head

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Posted by tarheeltracks on Thursday, February 07, 2019 7:21 PM

There is also some info and photos in Beebe's book,  Mixed Train Daily on the M&A. It's a good read if you have interest in the older short line railroads. 

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Thursday, February 07, 2019 7:22 PM

Well, I pulled out my copy of "Age O' Steam," and per Father Al's suggestion went to page 107.

Yep, there's the photo with the engineer "texting."  Laugh   To see it yourselves go to that website I linked and scroll down, third row, photo on the right.  

I Lucius' hyperbole got the better of him on this one with the caption he wrote.  I quote...

No. 4's tender held enough fuel to get to the next wooding-up platform five miles down the line and the stroking of a rabbit's foot, in the absence of more scientific instruments, assured water on the crown sheet until the whole excursion got to Vinegar Bend where there was a water tower.  

A bit of an exagerration.  The photo's much larger in the book, and to the left of the fireman's head you can see a boiler water sight glass with a hooded lamp to illuminate it for night runs, although I'd imagine they didn't do them very often.  On the right side of the backhead there's the typical three valves to double check the boiler water level.  A rudimentary backhead, but it's got everything it needs.

I'm sure those men in the cab knew exactly what they were doing when running that locomotive.  I would have loved a ride with 'em!

And I'm sure we'd all love to hear from someone with first-hand memories of the M&A, although it'd be almost miraculous if that happens.

Thanks for the reminder Tarheeltracks, I've got "Mixed Train Daily,"  I'll have to take a look!

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Posted by Fr.Al on Thursday, February 07, 2019 7:36 PM

Maybe the engineer was a time traveler?

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Thursday, February 07, 2019 7:41 PM

Then I'd really  want to go for a ride with him!

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Posted by tarheeltracks on Thursday, February 07, 2019 7:44 PM

Flintlock you are welcome and I too would have loved a ride!!

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Friday, February 08, 2019 2:18 PM

Tarheeltracks, I took your suggestion and checked "Mixed Train Daily."

What do you know?  On page 22 there's No. 4 of the M&A parked next to the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio's trackage, and on the GM & O line there's "The Rebel," with an ALCO DL-109 on the head-end!  Ironic, that ALCO's just as extinct as No. 4. 

You just never know, do you? 

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Posted by Fr.Al on Friday, February 08, 2019 2:52 PM

Yeah, back then that Alco was modern, now it's extinct. I did see the little Pacific in Western Michigan being fed wood back in '08

       You probably read Beebe's lines, where he said that he and Clegg were nursing hangovers, as a result of too much Mardi Gras celebration the night before. When they saw the woodpile, Beebe wrote, tongue-in-cheek, they attributed it to the whiskey.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Friday, February 08, 2019 4:35 PM

So that little Pacific's still alive!  Wonderful!

Oh yeah, Lucius and Chuck liked their liquor, that's for certain!

Mike (Wanswheel) came up with a link concerning Mr. Witbeck, the photographer credited in "Age of Steam"

https://hawkinsrails.net/shortlines/cagy/cagy_witbeck.htm  

Mike also linked Mr. Witbecks obituary.  The poor man passed away at the untimely age of 55.  As Lady Firestorms mom would have said  "That's no age at all!"

Then again, she was a Newfoundlander.  If you don't make it to 90 up there you're just not trying! 

Mike sent another "portfolio" of Witbeck's work.  It's the story of the Paulson Spence steam collection that ran on the Louisiana Eastern.  It has a sad ending that'll have you shaking your head in disbelief, if you've never heard it before.

https://meridianspeedway.weebly.com/louisiana-eastern-story.html  

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Posted by Fr.Al on Friday, February 08, 2019 5:17 PM

The little Pacific was alive in spring of '09. I haven't been back since. We have a nice little Mogul here in Western PA, on the Everett Railroad. A little further from me, about 100 miles north, we have our own mixed trains, on the Oil Creek & Titusville. 

      I'm sure Beebe and Clegg were drinking bourbon .My son likes the stuff, but I would prefer something from the Celtic nations, even Wales is producing whiskey now.

      Somewhere, I read that Witbeck took maybe hundreds of shots if the M&A'S wood burning Prairie, no. 4 . I don't think Shaughnessy ventured down there, but he left us enough good photos, God rest his soul.

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Posted by tarheeltracks on Friday, February 08, 2019 7:17 PM

Flintlock talk about right place, right time to get that shot!! GM&O Rebel was two hours off schedule and when it pulled in next to M&A #4 and stopped, Clegg must have crapped his pants!!

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Friday, February 08, 2019 9:45 PM

Tarheel, I think anyone who's done any railfan photography will tell you that sometimes plain luck is just as important as prior planning.

A lot of New Jersey railfans always wanted to get a shot of a Jersey Central passenger train at the Elizabeth station with a Pennsy passenger train passing overhead on what today is Amtrak's Northeast Corridor.  Not too many did, those who did always admitted to sheer luck.  

I doubt Chuck Clegg soiled himself, but I'm sure he was one happy man!

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