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Gulf & Ship Island Railroad

The company operates under a perpetual charter granted before the present State Constitution was adopted. In addition to all of the usual concessions to railways and some special ones, the Company has the important advantage or rights to the land under water half a mile wide extending six miles into Mississippi Sound. Since the adoption of the now State Constitution no charter can be obtained by a railroad except one revocable at the pleasure of the legislature. Hence, the Company's charter is of itself a valuable asset.

Biloxi Daily Herald, 1902 edition

Mississippi shortline

Although chartered by the state of Mississippi in 1882, the Gulf & Ship Island Railroad did not reach Hattiesburg until 1897, or Jackson until 1900. This main line, from the Gulf coast to the state capital, stretched 160 miles in length, with two branches to Columbia and Laurel -- 44 and 111 miles, respectively. The road offered daily passenger service using a stable of high-stepping Baldwins, and it was a major mover of processed lumber in the early 1900s. In 1925 the Illinois Central Railroad acquired the GSI and its mounting debt, giving the Mainline through Mid-America a new connection to the ports of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

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