Columbus & Greenville Railway

1989 NRHS Special Excursion

In the fall of 1989, the Southeast Louisiana chapter of the National Railway Historical Society partnered with the Columbus & Greenville Railway to operate an NRHS special from Greenwood, Mississippi eastward to Eupora -- a distance of 60 miles (see map below) and a climb in elevation of 250 feet. In addition to its own business car, the railroad secured three additional pieces of passenger equipment to complete the consist. The excursion took place on the first Saturday of December, leaving Greenwood in the early morning and arriving at Eupora near dusk. Highlights of the day included a photo runby, a lunch stop in Carrollton, and a meet with a westbound freight movement.

NRHS movememt map

Excursion consist

  1. Columbus & Greenville #810
    CF7 road switcher
    rebuilt from F7 by ATSF, 1975
  2. Columbus & Greenville #1
    "King Cotton" business car
    built by Pullman, 1917
  3. Heart of Dixie NRHS #1062
    ex St Louis-San Francisco coach
  4. Norfolk Southern #18
    "General Nathan Bedford Forrest"
    company excursion diner
  5. Seabord System #318
    CSX track inspection theater car

Timetable

timetable1

NRHS timetable / collection

timetable2
timetable3
timetable4
timetable5

tag_pinGreenwood, Ms

Along the line

tag_pinCarrollton, Ms

Photo runbys

journal_rwh

A teenager at the time, the 1989 C&G excursion was a wonderful railfan experience for me, my father, and our close railroad buddy Gordon Payne. The day was chock-full of great shortline action, but I am certain my favorite moment came in the afternoon when the conductor called up to the engineer on the radio, asking him to "find a nice spot to stop for a good photo run-by." Having spent much of the day in the cab, I knew our man at the throttle was well seasoned in the right-hand seat. Still, the look I saw on his face made it clear to me that he had no idea what the conductor was talking about. "Photo run-by?" he asked, quizzically. Having myself been trackside for many a run-by, I explained the concept to him. We soon found a suitable stretch of right-of-way, adjacent to a large cotton field, and we pulled to a stop. All of our NRHS members detrained and began working their way into the field to find a good spot for pictures. "What do I do know?" he asked me, still in a bit a disbelief that anyone would go to this much trouble for a picture of his oddball CF7. "It's okay," I said. "I'll walk you through it." Everyone in the clear, we made a reverse move until the train was in a curve and out of sight. "Now give a good blast on the horn and pull forward as fast as you can." He chuckled, and I knew why. Even by 1989, after years of track stabilization, the Columbus & Greenville was still a 10-15 mph railroad -- our cab swaying back and forth like a man on a wobbly horse. There would be no high speed run-bys this day! Still, he gave a long blast, notched open the throttle, and we moved ahead -- toward a cadre of giddy railfans strewn across a field of cotton. We rumbled by them, at a brisk 15 mph, shutters snapping all the way along. After a bit we had passed the field and reentered the woods, and I realized we were not slowing down. Then it dawned on me. "Okay," I said. "Better stop now, so we can go back and pick them all up." This being a new gig, the thought had not occurred to him. I wondered if we would have rolled all the way into Columbus, had I not spoken up! So backwards we went again, this time to pick up our friends and their happy cameras. While not the kind of high-speed blitz to make the pages of a Lucius Beebe album, still, the beloved Delta Route did her best to please the crowd.

As for me, I was instantly grateful for many years of riding excursion trains with my father, and the resulting wisdom about what makes for a good photo run-by. I suppose every dog has his day.

tag_pinWinona, Ms

Meet with westbound freight

In the afternoon, a meet was staged in order for the daily westbound freight to pass the NRHS special. Because the chosen siding was short, the passenger train went into the hole to allow the larger freight to pass by. It is likely that this meet was the first passenger-freight meet to occur on the Columbus & Greenville in 50 years. Conductor Bob Gray is seen on the left of the approaching train; NRHS train brakeman on the right.

Along the line

tag_pinEupora, Ms

letter

follow up letter / collection

This page was updated on 2017-07-07