fcg_state The shortline was owned by lumber mill interests at Fernwood, the same persons who eventually purchased the nearby Bonhomie, Hattiesburg & Southern. By 1920 the FCG had reached Columbia, Mississippi -- in which the company would build a depot and locomotive terminal facilities -- and thus connected its namesake communities via trackage rights over the New Orleans Great Northern for the last few miles. The line transitioned from steam to diesel motive power with the purchase of General Electric 44-ton locomotives, but soon found these smaller units inadequate power for their trains. Later the line acquired EMD switchers to tackle the rolling hills. Like several other shortlines in the Magnolia State, the FCG was acquired by the Illinios Central Gulf in 1972 as a part of its originating merger with the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio; unlike sister B&HS, however, the FC&G line was discontinued and abandoned in the years that followed. The depot in Tylertown, Ms, is still standing and is in use as a warehouse.

HawkinsRails thanks Mississippi railfan David Price for use of his FCG images below

fcg_logo The FC&G was in reality a very typical and not-too-significant shortline by nationwide railroad standards. Yet for many years it provided needed and more-or-less efficient transportation necessary for economic development in a rural area. It was for those who remember a colorful and delightful little carrier. What a treat it was to ride the cab or caboose on the daily freight, or to witness from track side the pusher engine uncoupling as speed increased at the top of the ruling grade. In latter years of operation one could count on seeing well maintained locomotives and caboose and light iron well aligned and in good repair snaking over undulating grades and through colorful, red clay cuts through the hills. There were few places prettier than the quiet depot and freight house at Kokomo on a spring evening in the rosy light of a setting Mississippi sun.

David S. Price - FC&G: A Colorful Mississippi Shortline


FCG route map / Mississippi Rails


Steam Motive Power

Fernwood, Columbia & Gulf #10

  • builder:Baldwin Locomotive Works
  • arrangement:2-6-0 Mogul
  • built:Mar 1910, Baldwin #34399
  • fuel:coal/water
  • notes:
  • blt Fernwood Lumber Co #10
  • Fernwood, Columbia & Gulf #11

  • builder:Baldwin Locomotive Works
  • arrangement:2-8-0 Consolidation
  • built:Jan 1911, Baldwin #36000
  • fuel:coal/water
  • notes:
  • blt Fernwood Lumber Co #11
  • Fernwood, Columbia & Gulf #12

  • builder:Baldwin Locomotive Works
  • arrangement:2-8-0 Consolidation
  • built:Mar 1912, Baldwin #37578
  • fuel:coal/water
  • notes:
  • blt Fernwood Lumber Co #12
    to J.J. White Lumber Co #19
    to Kentucky Lumber Co #19
    to Birmingham Rail & Locomotive Co
    to Fernwood, Columbia & Gulf, 1937
  • Diesel Motive Power


    Dieselization came early to the FC&G. In Spring, 1945 the railroad purchased three new 44 ton diesel-electrics from General Electric and numbered them D-1, D-2, and D- 3. These were followed in April 1947 by another new GE 44-tonner Number D-4. In 1950 a fifth 44-tonner was purchased used. This unit had been New York, Ontario & Western #103. It became FC&G D-5. The fleet of 44-tonners was completed with the purchase of another used unit from the Mississippi Export. This locomotive had also been a former NYO&W unit and was numbered D-6 by the FC&G. The former NYO&W engines were both built in 1941 making D-5 and D-6 the oldest GE's on the roster. These 44 ton machines proved too light for satisfactory service on the FC&G. Iddo Enochs recalls a variety of maintenance problems with them stemming from the heavy demands of service. The FC&G as an East-West carrier crossed many water courses which run generally North to South in southern Mississippi. The line traversed rolling hills making for several short, but demanding, grades on right-of-way built originally for log trains. This taxed light locomotives to the maximum. The GE's were set-up for multiple unit operation, and it was not unusual to see four of the little GE diesels struggling to move tonnage over the line. The multiple unit operation of four little diesels presented an unusual sight

    David S. Price - FC&G: A Colorful Mississippi Shortline

    Fernwood, Columbia & Gulf #D-2

  • builder:General Electric
  • model:44-ton
  • type:B-B light switcher
  • built:Mar 1945, GE #18196
  • series:334 produced 1940-56
  • engine:(2) Cat D17000, 400hp
  • notes:
  • 1 of 6 purchased by FC&G
    to St. Johnsbury & Lake Champlain #505, 1957
  • builder

    The six small GE's were replaced by two larger EMD's which became the total motive power for the FC&G's remaining years of operation. Both EMD locomotives carried road numbers equal to their rated horsepower. EMD SW-1 Number 600 was the smaller of the two and was favored as the regular switch engine at Fernwood. This locomotive was usually found making up the daily train for locomotive Number 900, an EMD SW-900, which had been purchased new in 1957. When tonnage reached about fifteen cars or so, Number 600 would couple behind the caboose at Fernwood and serve as a pusher to assist Number 900 with the train. After crossing the Bogue Chitto River and topping the stiff hill just east of the bridge, Number 600 would uncouple on the fly and return light to Fernwood to finish switching chores there. Number 900 could handle the train over the remainder of the line. Returning from Foxworth the line ascended for most of the nine and one-half miles to Kokomo. When Number 600 handled the main line run the engineer could keep the throttle wide open over this portion of the line and literally count the cross ties as they slowly disappeared under the pilot of the engine.

    David S. Price - FC&G: A Colorful Mississippi Shortline

    Fernwood, Columbia & Gulf #600

  • builder:Electro Motive Division
  • model:SW1
  • type:B-B yard switcher
  • built:Sep 1941, EMD #1398
  • series:660 produced 1939-53
  • engine:EMD 567 (6 cyls. 600 hp)
  • notes:
  • blt Elgin, Joliet & Eastern #240
    to Fernwood Columbia & Gulf
    to Illinois Central Gulf #618
    to Columbus & Greenville #525
  • builder

    Fernwood, Columbia & Gulf #900

  • builder: Electro Motive Divison
  • model: SW900
  • type: B-B switcher
  • built: 1957, EMD #23298
  • series: 260 produced 1954-65
  • engine: 567c (8 cyls. 900 hp)
  • notes:
  • blt Ferwood, Columbia & Gulf #900
    to Illinois Central Gulf, 1972
    to Hutchinson & Northern #6, 1983
  • builder

    Rolling Stock

    Mail-Baggage Combination drawings / TRAINS magazine / collection


    Links / Sources

    This page was updated on 2017-07-22