Hattiesburg, MS - 02/13/11

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Eastern Railfan

I've been in Biloxi, MS for the past few days visiting a good friend of mine. Yesterday we decided to go up to Hattiesburg to poke around town and photograph anything and everything. While we were there I did catch a little Norfolk Southern action. I would have loved to have seen a Canadian National train or two as well, but it just wasn't meant to be.

A mixed frieght, led by former Conrail C40-8W #8396 makes its way past the restored train station.

Hotshot Through Hattiesburg by VirginiaSouthern, on Flickr

Heading west over the Canadian National diamond.

Go West Young Train! by VirginiaSouthern, on Flickr

The yard job, consisting of GP59 #4617 and SD40-2 #3294 sits idle in the yard.

Yard Job by VirginiaSouthern, on Flickr

A dwarf signal protects the CN mainline where it crosses the NS main.

Do Not Enter by VirginiaSouthern, on Flickr

A remnant of the past. A sign marked for the Illinois Central Railroad adorns the back of a railroad crossing sign post.

Illinois Central Memories by VirginiaSouthern, on Flickr

Thanks for looking!

Eastern Railfan

It's really nice up there. The last time I was in this part of MS was 2004. At the time the train station was decrepit. They spent $8.9M to restore it. When I finish posting some pictures, I'll post a few up of what the station looks like now.
Great shots.

I grew up in Laurel (about 30 minutes up the road from Hattiesburg) and just got into railfanning a few years ago. The Hattiesburg NO&NE/SOU passenger station is one of my favorite places to take pictures.

IIRC, the IC (I'm backward, I'll always call them IC trains) has a southbound to Mobile in the early morning. I caught it once around 9 or so, and it didn't depart until after 10 am. They also have a northbound in the evening. At Bell Yard, they usually keep a GP38-2 (either IC or ex-GTW) by the yard office. I never see it running, though, so I guess it's just for yard work.

If you're in the area again, and have a little more time, get yourself up to McComb or Jackson for some IC action. You'll want a scanner (I don't have one) for McComb, since they've closed many of the grade crossings and have quiet zones on the others, so the trains sneak up on you. You'll get the City of New Orleans in daylight hours, both ways, as well as several freights. They're still running the SD70s that IC bought in the 1990s in addition to CN locomotives. At McComb, if you sit on the platform of the station there (and check out the museum too), you'll get some good mid-day to afternoon shots, and it's a reasonably safe area. Don't go poking around the old car shed, though. The southwest corner of the shed is dangerous, and CN is pretty hardcore on trespassing. There's an old coal chute/bunker/tower to look at too. Stay out of South Yard, as there is no legal access to it, or public property nearby.

Brookhaven (a few miles up the highway from McComb) is a picturesque town with nice photo opportunites. The old Mississippi Central (now Natchez Railway to the west, IC to the east to Wanilla?) crosses north of downtown, but I don't know when trains run there.

As for Jackson, areas of town where rails run through can be sketchy, or there may be something interesting to see, but no where to park. I don't hang around anywhere very long, though. The KCS has a large yard (SE of downtown, on the old A&V/IC) on the Meridian Speedway, but I'm not sure you can legally access much there (I've just done some looking on Bing maps). There is an old brick tower at Commerce St., about a block E of State Street, where the NOGN and A&V crossed (NOGN was pulled up in the 1980s, and the A&V line is now the KCS). Go up State to Court Street, turn left, and follow Court Street past the new Federal Court House, and make your way up to Mill Street. Mill Street runs on the east side of the Mainline, past the IC/Amtrak Passenger Station, where the North Yard starts. There is a foot bridge over the yard somewhere around Woodrow Wilson Drive, but I've not gotten out there). Stay on the street, because CN owns everything on the west side of the road, and have plenty of signs and such to remind people not to trespass. It is a busy place, as it is a big wye there, where the old YM&V (the current north south route for the IC) and the original mainline (now Grenada Railway) meet north of the engine terminal there, with the IC line heading south to New Orleans. You'll see Powder River Basin coal drags (with UP power) as they make their way towards Mobile and Florida. The RIP track is next to Mill St., so you may catch the oddball car or two being worked on. Not much is left of the roundhouse, as the Bing Maps picture is at least 6 to 8 years old.

Probably much more than you wanted, but as Mississippi is near and dear to me, I always love to see folks taking pictures of trains there.

Eastern Railfan

Not too much info at all. I do appreciate it. It will be awhile before I'm down that way again, but I'll be sure to check out the places you mentioned when I do. I've always enjoyed any chance I've had to railfan in MS. Speaking of the depot, here's a few shots of it. It looks so much different now than when I last saw it in 2004.

Hattiesburg Depot by VirginiaSouthern, on Flickr

Keep Me Posted by VirginiaSouthern, on Flickr

Go Fly A...Roof? by VirginiaSouthern, on Flickr

And here's one I don't have up on flickr that shows a view down the station platform.
View attachment 111924

Thanks again for all the info!
It really is a pretty station. Was the waiting room open? I like the floor in there:

How I caught an IC train to Mobile:

I followed James Street (old Hwy49) south of downtown to the first major road (Dixie Pine Rd). James St. runs on the east side of Bell Yard (IC/CN and KCS use it). There used to be an entrance called Railroad St. that runs along the west side of the yard, but some of it is blocked and I'm not sure if it is a public street. Anyway, Dixie Pine Rd. is the first public grade crossing south of Bell Yard, and the yard lead is visible there (see picture below, that's a northbound empty coal drag on the right).

There's enough room to pull off of the road and get a shot. Once the IC train had dropped off cars in Hattiesburg, they switched crews, and then got underway. I got this video here:

Southbound IC freight, 18 March 2010, Hattiesburg, MS
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Eastern Railfan

That floor is awesome. It wasn't open when I was there, but I did look in through the windows of both the waiting area and the great hall. Nice catch on the CN train as well in the photo and video. Next time I'll make it a point to check out the area near the yard. I was kind of limited on train time since I was with my buddy and photographing trains was not our primary reason for being up there.

Here's a blast from the past. This was in June of 2004. I apologize for the crappy photo scans. After I move to Maryland I'm working on having all my negatives professionally scanned.
View attachment 111927 View attachment 111925 View attachment 111926
Nice. It's always weird to me to see UP and SP in Mississippi. One of my last railfanning days, I caught nothing there but UP and SP.

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