Bogalusa Line Catch – 31 January 2009

by Jim on 2014/01/31

Return And Redemption

On Monday 29 December 2008, I went to Bogalusa, Louisiana, for the first time as an adult (my father informed me after the publication of the pictures taken that day that he and my mother had taken me there when I was too young to remember it, as my mother had an aunt who lived in Bush), and I saw and photographed Canadian National Railway action there and then went up the ex-GM&O line into Mississippi.  A little bit more than a month later, I returned, hoping for better results.  On Saturday 31 January 2009, I took the pictures that you see here in this post.

A few things were different about this trip.  First, instead of going from New Orleans to Bogalusa through Slidell, I went north all the way to Brookhaven and then east to find the CN yard by the big paper mill at Ferguson, Mississippi, hoping to find something there, and then going to Bogalusa that way.  I saw a train moving in the yard in Ferguson that after my next visit to the area nearly five years later I suspect was the Bogalusa-Ferguson Turn.  The second thing that was different about this trip was that it wasn’t a totally solitary activity, and that that was by design!  I managed to convince my Hattiesburg pal Tucker, whom I had last seen fewer than two months before when BobE and I chased KCS’s Hattiesburg Turn to Gulfport, to join in the festivities by meeting me and the train – yes, the train – Bogalusa.  Third, I actually did see the Bogalusa-Ferguson Turn – the only train that operates over the roughly 60 miles of the line south of Wanilla – on the line just outside of town and in town, and you will see those pictures here!

The drive southward from Ferguson was supremely interesting, particularly the steep parts a few miles before Morgantown.  I really didn’t realize that we had a place with that much relief so close to home!  I learned on this trip how interesting the course of the Pearl River is.


I got slowed down significantly by road construction around Angie, and Tucker and I were trading text messages.  I don’t remember where I first discovered the train, but I was able to get set up for it at the Highway 21 crossing a few miles north of Bogalusa.

I really want to back off to one side and show more of the train instead of this nearly-head-on view, but, as is common in this area, the tree-lined right-of-way leaves few options.  This is pine country, afterall, and those trees are the raison d’être for this railroad – both its construction and its continued existence today.

Well, that was okay, I guess.

Bogalusa Bogue Lusa Bridge

Tucker showed up by this point, and it was great to see him!  We got set up for a shot.  So, here is the old wooden GM&O bridge over the Bogue Lusa, after which the city is named.

As I wrote last time, being on continental land with relief and creeks is like being in another country for this bayou boy; it really is a different world out here, just about an hour-and-a-half from New Orleans.

And Then, The Train Came

Here is my shot of the day, complete with a reflection of the train in the creek.

I like, I like, I like.  Note that our second locomotive is the same one we saw working the mill a month before.

The train seemed to be made almost entirely of CN family boxcars.

Let’s have a look at our good pal Tucker as he imbibes the scene!

He is a good man, and, despite our many differences (arising mostly from the ever-present clash of the White-Anglo-Saxon-Protestant-American and Cajun-Creole-Bourbon-Franco-Germanic cultures), a good friend, and I am grateful to know him.

We hung around to get a few bridge shots, knowing that we wouldn’t get another shot of the train, since, as you can probably tell, we are just north of the mill, which is just north of the yard.

Just to the right of the frame of the above picture, there is a really interesting mural about the city’s history, and it includes a scene of GM&O’s Rebel passenger train.  The lighting was not right for me to take pictures of it on this afternoon, but I would get some shots of the mural – and many more great shots in the area – when I returned nearly five years later.

Tying Up

At the yard, we saw the power tying up for the evening.

Notice at the very right frame a car.  The line is not entirely boxcars, as the mill receives some chemicals in tank cars.

Come Again?

Yes, I did, but not for almost five years.  On Saturday 11 January 2014, I was able to chase the Bogalusa-Ferguson Turn all the way from Bogalusa to Ferguson and part of the way back, and I have yet only published one photograph of it making the turn at Wanilla.  It was a really neat experience, and I want to do it again.  In the meantime, if you can, maybe you should!




1 Phillip Aldridge February 1, 2014 at 06:50

Fantastic, is about all I know to say. My mother was a Cajun born, But never told me of her life as a young girl.

2 Phillip Aldridge February 1, 2014 at 06:54

Perhaps some where in the next life,

3 ronnie linder February 1, 2014 at 07:08

Please send pics I love this an a huge rail fan an collector

4 Joey February 1, 2014 at 08:49

The shot with the reflection is priceless. Great job once again.

5 BobE February 2, 2014 at 18:48

Shot with timber trestle would earn a shouted “You dick” in my area’s slideshows. (That’s a compliment, BTW).

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: