masthead_shortlines
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msv_state Incorporated in June 1925, the line hauled hardwood products for the E. L. Bruce hardwood mill. Construction began in May 1925, with the railroad being completed and placed in operation on September 1, 1926. Construction work was performed partly by the E. L. Bruce Company, which controlled the railroad company until June 1928, and partly by other contractors as well as the company's own forces. The main line was laid with 70 and 75-lb. rail leased from the Illinois Central. The Bruce Company had trackage rights over almost the entire line for operation of its log trains. The enginehouse was at Bruce. The lumber company was bought by Weyerhaeuser in the late 1970s and the mill modernized over those years. Patriot Rail purchased the shortline in 2010, but a 2008 bridge failure on connecting railroad (then Canadian National) forced an end to operations. In 2012 the abandoned and salvaged right of way was donated to Calhoun and Yalobusha counties to become a walking trail.

tag_quote

msv_art It had been the dream of the people in Pittsboro and the Northern section of the county that someday they would see the building of a railroad into that section. Along about 1921, it became known that the Butterfield interests would sell their holdings in Calhoun, and hope began to be revived as to the possibilities of a railroad being built out into our section in order to carry the timber. It will be remembered that this was in the days when the huge log trucks powered by gasoline and used over concrete roads were utterly unknown in our section. Much discussion was had between various citizens and firms seeking some plan to accomplish the result desired. Acting on instructions from an organization of Calhoun County business men, a meeting was arranged whereby representatives would go to Chicago and there meet with Mr. Markham, President of the Illinois Central Railroad, and seek to interest him and his railroad in the idea of building a short line of railroad either from Coffeeville or Bryant out to Pittsboro.

Made In Mississippi blog

msv_map

MSV route map / Mississippi Rails

Motive Power

Mississippi & Skuna Valley #3

  • builder:General Electric
  • model:70-ton
  • type:B-B light switcher
  • built:1951, GE #30840
  • series:193 produced 1046-58
  • engine:CB FWL-6T (6 cyl. 660 hp)
  • notes:
  • _________
  • builder

    Mississippi & Skuna Valley #D5

  • builder:Santa Fe Cleburne Shops
  • model:CF7 rebuild
  • type:B-B road switcher
  • rebuilt:Sep 1971
  • series:233 produced 1970-78
  • engine:EMD 567B (16 cyls. 1500hp)
  • notes:
  • converted from Santa Fe F7A #40C, blt Sep 1949
  • builder
    tag_quote

    Mississippi & Skuna Valley is quite pleased with the performance of their CF7, identified as D-5. It has given them reliable service for many years, and will be soon getting new wheels -- they were turned once before. Jeff Sullivan, of M&SV, says on their 21 mile run from Bruce, Mississippi, to Bruce Junction, their connection with the Illinois Central, they can just about coast; they do more braking than throttling!

    Cary F. Poole, CF7 Locomotives: From Cleburne to Everywhere, p. 99

    HawkinsRails thanks Mississippi railfan David Hurt for use of his Mississippi & Skuna Valley #D5 roster shots

    Mississippi & Skuna Valley #1

  • builder:American Locomotive Co.
  • arrangement:2-6-2 "Prairie"
  • built:Nov 1925, Alco #66518
  • fuel:coal/water
  • notes:
  • 17x24" cylinders, 44" drivers
  • purchased new for $19,222
    to Georgia Car & Locomotive Co, scrap
  • msv_steam2

    collection

    Rolling Stock

    The Mississippi & Skuna Valley's caboose was homemade by the railroad, constructed with plywood sheeting.

    Locations

    Bruce Junction

    Click to see the Bruce Junction area plotted on a Google Maps page

    Bruce

    Click to see Bruce, Mississippi plotted on a Google Maps page

    Along the Line

    Lagniappe

    Cab Ride with Mr. Miller

    journal_jch

    While railfanning on the Mississippi & Skuna Valley in June of 1970, I parked at a grade crossing to snap some photos of the passing 70 tonner. Unexpectedly, a scrap of paper fell down to the road from the cab window, asking "Do you want to ride to Coffeeville?  Get ahead and flag me."

    Engineer George Miller became a fast friend, and from the cab I snapped numerous photos of the line as the 70-tonner worked its train over the Mississippi hills. I rode about 10 miles in the cab, while the brakeman drove my car back to town for me.

    George Miller invited me to come back and visit the MSV again, and needless to say I took him up on the offer! On the second trip, I rode the entire length of the line in the cab. The MSV is hilly little railroad, and I will never forget the strange sensations in the cab with that long train behind us, stretched out over the hills. #3 would still be working hard even downhill, but then seemed to be pushed right up the next hill by the momentum of the train.

    It was great to ride the entire line. When we finished up the run about 1:00pm, George invited me to his house for lunch. His wife fixed us a country plate lunch I'll never forget.

    msv_note
    journal_rwh

    msv_lagn6aI received a delightful correspondance from Kevin Miller, grandson of MSV engineer George Miller:

    My grandfather once gave your dad a ride on his engine. My name is George Kevin Miller and my grandfather ran the engine on the MSV (Mississippi & Skuna Valley RR) shortline from Coffeeville to Bruce, Mississippi. A distant cousin who was having dinner at a restaurant in Greenville, SC noticed on the wall a display of train photos. After close examining, he realize that some were photos of my grandfather. It was interesting to see the photos that your dad had taken back in 1970 on your website. My grandfather worked for MSVRR for 43 years. He started in 1933 unloading coal by hand for $6.00 a car load. After retirement in 1976 he only lived 13 months before dying of a massive heart attack.

    msv_letter1

    Miller correspondance / Sep 1970

    msv_letter2
    journal_rwh
    December 2015

    If railroads ran on sentiment, they'd certainly carry on forever.

    Unfortunately, they run on tracks. And those tracks cross bridges. And when bridges wash out that sometimes means the end of a railroad. So it was for the Mississippi & Skuna Valley -- one of my father's favorite shortlines to visit. Having never seen the MSV in operation, I took advantage of a December day of travel through the Magnolia State to retrace the MSV from west to east. In the back of my mind I think I knew that the Skuna Valley was no longer in operation; I was not prepared to find the road entirely removed and the trackage completely salvaged. Other than a few rotting wooden bridge piers and a some rails still stuck in a few asphalt crossings, the pike that once hauled all that wood flooring has now gone the way of too many other Deep South shorts. Even a visitor to bustling little Bruce, not knowing any better about the railroad's history there, would today not suspect a thing in the way of all those switches and tracks that used to work the flooring mills. All gone. I had trouble even finding a spike in the weeds to stick in my pocket: a possible keepsake in honor of my old man's ride along this route with his friend Mr. Miller and his rambling 70 tonner.

    Links / Sources

    This page was updated on 2017-07-24