In November 1985, we needed motive power for a newly formed affiliate, the Gloster Southern Railroad. When we visited Cleburne, Texas, looking for a pair of locomotives for the new shortline, Luis Sanchez, Superintendent of Shops, pointed us to a long line of CF7s to pick from. The two Gloster Southern units still run like clockwork down the former Illinois Central River Line. Experience in the years following our CF7 purchase proved it was one the best locomotive decisions we ever made. With little repair and upkeep, they have proved to be more reliable than other units on the roster. Other owners report similar success.

Russell Tedder in CF7 Locomotives: From Cleburne to Everywhere, 1997


glsr_state The line was owned by Georgia-Pacific which purchased and refurbished the abandoned Illinois Central Gulf branch line to provide service to a its plywood mill operation in Gloster. A pair of ex Santa Fe CF7 road switchers was secured to handle traffic. The GLSR operated two or three freight trains per week until the plant closed in December 2002. The branch line was a segment of the former Yazoo & Mississippi Valley mainline, which was absorbed into the original Illinois Central in 1946. The Gloster Southern also operated the former Columbia & Silver Creek shortline from 1988 to 1995.

See also our collections for sister Georgia Pacific shortlines Ashley Drew & Northern and Fordyce & Princeton

1988 Official Guide listing

1987 timetable / collection

HawkinsRails thanks railroad historian Louis Saillard for use of his Gloster Southern images

Motive Power

Gloster Southern #1501

  • builder:Santa Fe Cleburne Shops
  • model:CF7
  • type:B-B road switcher
  • rebuilt:Dec 1974
  • series:233 produced 1970-78
  • engine:EMD 567B (16 cyls. 1500hp)
  • notes:
  • rebuilt from Santa Fe F7 #343L
    rebuilt by Ashley, Drew & Northern, 1986
  • builder

    Gloster Southern #1502

  • builder:Santa Fe Cleburne Shops
  • model:CF7
  • type:B-B road switcher
  • rebuilt:July 1972
  • series:233 produced 1970-78
  • engine:EMD 567B (16 cyls. 1500hp)
  • notes:
  • rebuilt from Santa Fe F7 #272L
    rebuilt by Ashley, Drew & Northern, 1986
  • builder

    Rolling Stock


    1987 timetable route listing / collection

    route notes / 1986 / JCH

    1986 NRHS Excursion

    In November of 1996, less than four months after it began operations, the Gloster Southern Railroad hosted the Southeast Louisiana NRHS chapter for a Saturday excursion from Gloster, Mississippi to Slaughter, Louisiana, and return. The excursion train consisted of the shortline's matched CF7 road switchers, an ex-Illinois Central Gulf high-vision caboose, and a Gloster Southern boxcar outfitted with seats and railings for excursion passengers. Passengers boarded at the Georgia Pacific plywood mill complex, and the train departed southbound for Slaughter. A southbound photo run-by was staged, and at Ethel, Louisiana, the train was reversed via run-around for the return trip back across the state line.

    Photo run-by


    At Ethel, Louisiana, the Gloster Southern crew performed a run-around move to reverse the train. The excursion boxcar was uncoupled from the caboose and moved to the adjacent siding, then the caboose was repositioned on the southbound end of the boxcar. The locomotives were run around the train and placed on the northbound end of the consist for the return trip to Gloster.


    Here's a remarkable tale about a hat.

    Not just any hat, however: An official Gulf, Mobile & Ohio Historical Society ball cap secured by yours truly at a Mobile meeting of the society. I loved that hat. Wore it everywhere. Too bad none of my middle school pals knew the significance of the Alco FA lashup embroidered in the patch on top. On the southbound run of the Gloster Southern excursion, I held a coveted spot in the cab of the trailing unit, but the northbound return found me perched on the spacious back porch of the ex-ICG caboose -- watching the old Y&MV pass underneath us as we rolled through piney woods. At some point, I leaned out from the porch and turned my head forward up the train to catch a glimpse of the power at work, and -- alas! -- the wind caught my GM&O hat and flung it into the woods. It happened in a flash.

    I was forlorn the entire trip home.

    Months went by and I soon forgot about my cap, assuming it was rotting away somewhere in the East Feliciana woods. More than a year later, Louis Saillard approached me at an NRHS meeting, square white cardboard box in hand. "I think you'll like this," he said. My hat! But how? Turns out I had the good fortune to have my hat blown off on a section of the GLSR right-of-way adjacent to someone who knew someone who worked for the railroad. This stranger to me found my hat laying in a trackside ditch some months after the excursion, assumed it must have belonged to a company man and so passed it on to a GLSR employee he knew, who in turn passed it on the General Manager in Gloster, who realizing it must have belonged to a passenger on the excursion then passed it up to S. R. Tedder, company president, Georgia-Pacific Lines, Crossett, Arkansas, who then passed it on to Saillard, who then returned it to one grateful kid-owner. Still have it to this day.

    Told you it was a good story.


    Columbia Route operations

    gp_logo From November 1988 to December 1995, the Gloster Southern operated the 29 mile line from Silver Creek to Columbia, Mississippi. Dubbed the "Columbia Route" by Georgia Pacific, the line was orginally built by the Gulf & Ship Island Railroad just after the turn of the century. After the Illinois Central Gulf sold the line in 1982, it was operated by the Columbia & Silver Creek Railroad until 1988, when the GLSR took control.

    HawkinsRails thanks railfan friend Louis Saillard for use of these Columbia Route pictures

    Gloster Southern #903

  • builder:Electro Motive Division
  • model:SW900, B-B yard switcher
  • built:Sep 1959, EMD #22504
  • series:260 produced 1954-65
  • engine:EMD 567C (8 cyl, 900 hp)
  • notes:
  • ex Hammond Redwood Lumber #102
    to Feather River RR #102
    to Ashley, Drew & Northern #102, 1965
    later renumbered #907
    to Gloster Southern #903
  • builder

    Links / Sources

    This page was updated on 2017-07-31