Taking a break from the drudge of moving, I looked through my old pile of information printed off the net that I never use. I found a list of a number of old steam engines in Louisiana. Since I've revived my interest in train stuff, I thought it worth rereading. I saw one was listed in Sun,La., a stones throw down one of Louisiana's sweetest roads, actually, two of them, which would make a nice little loop to the envisioned prize and back. The information described the engine as being at "Sand Company" and that it was "stored". Both, no longer true.
I am getting away ahead of myself. Obviously, from the picture at the top of the page, I found it. Finding it was the Holly Grail of a long adventure and hours of research covering this part of Louisiana and a certain GM&O Railroad. The map, below, shows the route of the extinct line in purple and a great touring route in yellow. The sections of the GMO that no longer exist, locally, ran from Bogalusa to Slidel. At Rio (actually "R-10", the station number), a side line went west and then north to Franklinton, LA and Tylertown, MS. I've ridden the whole thing and taken pictures of the bed wherever I could. I know, strange, but bear with me.
Well, you'll have to if you want to see all of the engine.
Right Click the map and choose to open in new window. Fred, the map gets big.
That works with the pictures, also.
Below are pictures of my past exploits up and down and around the GM&O line.
The GMO at La.36, west of Florenville, headed to Slidell and as close to the Pearl River as a line would want to be.
Here's the GMO at La.60. A powerline has used the Right Of Way of the defunct railroad. Next stop going west would have been Zona, and then on to Franklinton and and Tylertown.
Here are a couple of shots from Rio (rye-oh). That's the way the natives pronounce it. As I said, the town was named after station R-10. The natives saw R10 as Rio, not to be confused with rio, "river" in Spanish. No comment.
Mz Guzzi did not understand her location. I told her she was on a rail bed. She, no doubt thinking of a place to recline.
That is looking from Rio towards Bogalusa, just to keep you oriented.
South of Rio, the old bed is now a driveway.
West of Rio, out the branch line, the rails crossed Talley's Creek at Stein. I had a nice conversation with some friendly "older" fellas there. They told me the railroad would take folks to Flanklinton on the weekend to go shopping and, I guess, to have a day on the town, a movie, maybe. Franklinton is the parish seat of Washington Parish, a parish rich in forest from which the lumber industry prospered and for which these rails were laid. The parish fairgrounds houses one of the big GMO engines, well worth the ride. I was told that it was getting a face lift.
I was too late. I believe this is where the Rio station had been.
I have a bunch more, want to see them? Just kidding. I realize those pictures represent the source of the saying, "Well, I guess you needed to be there", to appreciate them. Being there in the sometimes very still quiet, does invoke the imagination. I have seen a flash of light that I knew was an engine coming at me from down a rail-less ROW. That was a moment. Those pictures also represent hours of fun exploring some archeology of a recently gone era. I never expected to find what I have near Sun, Louisiana. I wonder if the person who laid his driveway on the rail bed ever sees the lights or thinks about ghost trains? Not yet, or he'd have moved the driveway.
PS: There are GMO stations still in existence in Slidell and Tylertown. The Franklinton station is recently gone, a hardware store is now there. The Tylertown station is now a garden supply store. It is in a historic part of town on the south side, again, worth the ride.
On the next page, we'll look around Sun and down the "tracks". Coming soon.
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