Columbus & Greenville Railway

Freight Rolling Stock

With regard to rolling stock for revenue freight service, the Columbus & Greenville seemed for much of its life to swing from pillar to post -- occasionally alleviating long spells of online car shortages with orders for new equipment, as funds allowed. As early as 1922, the C&G purchased its first wooden boxcars: fifteen pieces from an Atlanta builder. A more substantial supply came seven years later, when 300 wooden 40' cars were secured from American Car & Foundry. A larger Pullman-Standard order would come in the late 1950s -- more 40' boxcars, but this time of all-steel construction. Never a shortline to discard with a piece of rolling stock it could otherwise put to use in maintenance service, over the decades a fascinating assortment of equipment has always clustered around the Columbus roundhouse. By the late 1970s, the reorganized CAGY had expanded its post-ICG rolling stock fleet with many new pulpwood racks, covered hoppers, and gondolas -- several examples of which are shown below. Furthermore, like many other southeastern shortlines of the era who participated in freight car leasing plans, by the early 1980s the CAGY had secured well over 1000 freight cars for national interchange service. From tired old outside-brace boxcars to modern all-steel 50' haulers, the Delta Route's rolling stock has been as varied and colorful as its long history.

40' Wooden Boxcars

Columbus & Greenville #3143


While living in Pensacola, Florida in 1959, John came across C&G 40' wooden box #3143 parked on a team track connected to the St Louis-San Francisco ("Frisco") mainline. Shipped with a load of bricks for a local customer, the aging car had already been unloaded by the time he found it. Built in 1929 by American Car & Foundry, #3143 had already seen 30 years of interchange service when these detailed photographs were taken in the Florida panhandle.

all photos Pensacola, Fl / 1959 / JCH

40' Steel Boxcars

50' Steel Boxcars


Columbus & Greenville #21071 In the mid-1980s, in my middle-school days, the Illinois Central Gulf was still providing twice-a-week local freight service to my hometown of Covington, Louisiana. Covington was for years the end of the line for the Bogalusa-Slidell-Covington branchline, operated by a number of previous roads, including the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio and the Crown-Zellerbach Paper Corporation. Most weekday mornings dad would drop me off at school before heading to work, but twice a week it was our morning ritual to leave the house a little earlier in order to see what equipment the ICG crew had left tied up overnight in town before returning to Bogalusa the next day. Even in those days, when business had grown light, it was routine to find a well-worn Paducah rebuild GP10 (left idling overnight in the winter) and a handful of cars in tow to be handled en route eastbound. I'll never forget the morning we drove down Gibson Street (on which the ICG did several blocks of street running) and found a shiny dark blue Columbus & Greenville 50' boxcar tied up at Marsolan Feed & Seed. It had come in the night before. The C&G had long held an honored place among father's shortline interests, and by that point I was becoming a convert as well. #21071 was a little piece of CAGY heaven, right there at the tail end of our little line.

Pulpwood Racks

Gondolas / Hoppers

Maintenance Equipment


Links / Sources