Beaumont to New Albany

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The rails leading north out of Ackerman, MS. Photo taken from the old GM&O depot site in 2001. These rails were GM&N / GM&O / ICG; rails removed in the mid 1980s. This north-south line crossed the old IC Aberdeen branch in Ackerman. In early November 2002, the rails were cut again one block south of this photo. The new abandonment included part of the old IC / GM&O turn out, the old main, a side track, and an industrial siding to an abandoned plant. Photo by Tom Lucas, 2001.

The Mobile, Jackson & Kansas City Railroad was chartered in 1890 and in 1898 opened 50 miles from Mobile, AL, to Merrill, MS. Rails reached Beaumont in 1902 and a connection to Hattiesburg over the Bonhomie & Hattiesburg Southern Railroad. New owners purchased the line and the 62 mile narrow gauge Gulf & Chicago between Middleton, TN and Pontotoc, MS, and proceeded to fill in the 240 miles between the two roads. The railroad went through Houston, Maben, Ackerman, Union, Newton, Laurel and into Beaumont. The MJ&KC was bankrupt by the time the construction was complete in 1906. It emerged from receivership in 1909 as the New Orleans, Mobile & Chicago RR. The L&N and Frisco assumed joint control of the NOM&C in 1911, but the road collapsed again in 1913. The road was reorganized as the Gulf, Mobile & Northern RR in 1917. The road was extended from Middleton to Jackson, TN, 40 miles. The GM&N reached Paducah, KY in 1926 via trackage rights on the NC&StL. The GM&N entered into an agreement with the CB&Q to form a 2-railroad Chicago to Mobile route. In 1929, the GM&N merged with the Meridian & Memphis and the Jackson & Eastern to provide access to Meridian and Jackson from Union, MS. GM&N also gained control of the New Orleans Great Northern in 1929 and leased the NOGN in 1933.

GM&N's notable passenger train was The Rebel, the South's first streamliner going from Jackson, TN, to New Orleans. GM&N executed a trackage agreement with the parallel (and bankrupt) Mobile & Ohio in 1938, and in 1940 merged with the M&O to form the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio in 1940.

Two main sections of the former GM&N mainline have been abandoned. The section from Houston to Maben and into Ackerman was abandoned by ICG in the mid-1980s. Towns on this line included:

  • Woodland
  • Mantee
  • Dancy
  • Cumberland
  • Mathiston
  • Gibbons
  • Sherwood
  • Reform
  • Williams

The section from Bay Springs to Laurel was abandoned by KCS in the 1990s. The section from Laurel to Beaumont was abandoned by ICG in the mid-1980s. Towns on this section included:

  • Bay Springs
  • Stringer
  • Mossville
  • Hoy
  • Laurel
  • Lanham
  • Ovett
  • Blodgett
  • Rhodes
  • Richton
  • Brinkley
  • Hintonville
  • Carmichael
  • Kittrell
  • Beaumont

Most of the branches of the former GM&N into Jackson and Meridian have also been abandoned.

In 2008, the Mississippi Tennessee Railroad, who purchased the line from KCS in 1998, abandoned the portion of the line north from Houston to New Albany due to low traffic volumes and high maintenance costs. The segment of the line within New Albany has been converted into a rail-trail, and the diamond with the active BNSF line has been removed. The MTRR is known as the Ripley and New Albany Railroad today.

Thanks to Tom Lucas and Matthew Nichols for contributing information about this route.

This line has also been abandoned north of Houston all the way to the BNSF diamond in New Albany. This is slated to become a rail trail. The portion from New Albany to Ripley is still in use as the Mississippi Tennesse Railroad, but the tracks north of Ripley have been pulled up.

Matthew
Oxford, MS
7/18/2010

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The Mississippi-Tennessee Railroad started tearing up the remaining tracks from New Albany to Pontotoc last week.

Matthew
Oxford, MS
8/24/2010

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There are no longer any tracks remaining south of the BNSF diamond except for the rails embedded in the middle of the street downtown. All of the crossings have been paved over, but some of the crossing signs and signals still remain.

Matthew
Oxford, MS
12/2/2010

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Pioneer RailCorp of Peoria, Illinois purchased this line

last week and now operate it.

Orvel Cox
Red Bud, IL
12/17/2011

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KCS still owns the line. The major hub now is Newton, MS. Up until 7 years ago the crossing diamond was still there but removed it in favor of regular spurs. The line south of Newton goes as to Bay Springs to service a Georgia Pacific lumber yard and paper mill. Maybe one train a week. On the other hand the line North of Newton gets a least 2 trains a day that go as far as Louisville, MS. There is plenty of industry on the north end.

Cory
Forest, MS
6/17/2012

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