Bogalusa To Brookhaven – 11 January 2014 – Part 2

by Jim on 2015/01/11

Part 2

This is the second of two parts of my set of pictures from Saturday 11 January 2014 taken “from Bogalusa to Brookhaven,” with a bonus shot being taken somewhere outside of Brookhaven to end the day; Part 1 had more pictures, showing scenes and activity along the length of Canadian National Railway train L579’s journey from Bogalusa to Ferguson, where the train swaps cuts and begins to return home to Bogalusa.

That is where we start Part 2, a choice that I made for three reasons, one being mentioned in the previous paragraph, that it is where the train reverses its journey.  The second reason is that I wanted pictures of L579 in both parts, and all L579 pictures in this part except for the first picture show the train in its southbound or Bogalusa-bound or return run.  The third reason is that it keeps the ratio of pictures from Part 1 to pictures from Part 2 from being even more lopsided than it already is.


So, last time, we left off at Ferguson, the modest-sized railroad location next to a Georgia Pacific paper mill.  The pictures taken last time were taken as close as one could legally get on public property, but the below view is taken from further back, showing the yard along with the ground from which the prior two pictures were taken.

Apparently, the boxcars at left – next to the yard office – are for the Ferguson mill.  After taking the above picture, it was time to get myself back to Wanilla to get myself in position to photograph the train arriving there.

My Nilla!

The train was coming, and I would soon have to decide a course of further action.  I was here to document action on this interesting line, this little segment of the old Mississippi Central and the long, old GM&O from Bogalusa, but I was also curious about nearby Brookhaven, where what remained of these old lines connected with the CN mainline, and where I had never really explored the city and its railroads.

What do I do?  Both options are appealing, and both options involve sacrificing what could be gained by following the alternative course of action.  There was, however, one factor causing me to favor the Brookhaven option, and that factor became fully evident when the southbound train arrived westbound from Ferguson here at Wanilla.

Yuck! Look at that nasty, faded, pink crap!

Faded Bi-National Glory

I have hinted at this problem a few times, both in Part 1 and here in Part 2.  I, of course, got several glimpses of what was then the trailing locomotive on the northbound train, which is now leading, with its disgustingly faded front.

We are now living in the twilight era for locomotives painted in CN’s former USA scheme, these being for the Grand Trunk Western.

We see Conductor Johnson getting out so that he can line the switch back for the former Mississippi Central mainline once his train passes.

Note the irony that what is now the trailing locomotive – the locomotive that you saw leading the train throughout Part 1 – has a better paint job but has plenty of dirt on the long hood, whereas the long hood of the lead locomotive has, despite the faded nose,a decent appearance.

Now, the train passes; how about those noodles?

Wanilla is a neat place, I repeat.

Now, Conductor Johnson lines the switch.

He rides the train until its out of my sight, presumably so that the train can make a reverse move to get him back to the cab more quickly.

The rails of Wanilla will soon be quiet again until well after dark when the nocturnal superlocal from Jackson arrives.

Before we get out of here, let’s have one more look at the stored BC Rail boxcars on the old GM&O siding.

I hope that they move in revenue service again.

While I Am Going That Way

Even if I am going to Brookhaven, the best way to get there is to head south from Wanilla until I arrive at the major east-west highway, meaning that I might as well get whatever shots of the L579 that I can get along the way.

Here is the train at Rosella.

There was another reason why I was unenthusiastic about chasing this train all the way south back to Bogalusa or even much further than here north of Monticello, and it is a reason that surprised even me.

As mentioned in Part 1, a large part of the appeal that this line has to me is its very boxcarish nature; boxcars, in the opinion of myself and of many other railroad enthusiasts, have more soul than modern chemical-hauling tank cars, hopper cars, and unit trains.

Imagine my surprise at my own weariness of seeing a train of nothing but boxcars!  At this point, I would have been happy for there to be one light-grey covered hopper car in the train, even a lease hopper car.

The Turning Point

Well, I arrived at the highway, and got the overhead shot with no time at all to spare.

So long, good ol’ boys on the L579 with your sickly pink lead locomotive.

That’s what I did; I headed west after this shot.

Here I Go Again On My Own

going down the only road I’ve ever . . . well, never mind.  Anyway, here I am in Brookhaven.

This is probably a good time to remind readers that caption information for each image is in the filename, which can be read by holding your mouse arrow over the image.

I figured that, railroadwise, I was guaranteed to at least see Amtrak’s northbound City Of New Orleans.  In the meantime, I was going to explore the town.

Yes, that is the CN’s former New Orleans, Jackson & Great Northern mainline, and as you hopefully can tell by the lighting, we are looking to the east.

Oh, and now we are looking north.

That is the Amtrak depot in the background.

So, I am getting hungry, and this is where I would decide to eat.

But before I eat, I need to explore and get a few more pictures, including of the former Illinois Central train depot.

Passengers would board passenger trains here in the IC era.

We are looking west in the below picture.

I am listening to Mitch Hedberg’s Strategic Grill Locations while typing this.  I heard it – and heard of Hedberg – for the first time in February 2008.

Check this out!

What is the story behind this?  Fifteen years after the disappearance of the Illinois Central Railroad, there is what looks like a mailbox with an IC logo.

Satiation In Close Relation To The Old Station And The New Station

Here is a cell-phone shot of the front door of the restaurant, and you’ll notice that is is also both a self-portrait and a view of the former IC depot.

There were plenty of children inside, and it was loud in there.  So, I ate outside, and I had this view while waiting for my food.

And then, the train came; a turning automobile blocked my shot of the lead locomotive, leaving me only with this opportunity to get a shot of the second locomotive with the cars behind it.

Yeah, the best photography of the day is behind me, but this is a learning experience, as I have never foamed this area before; here is the going-away shot.

Oh, this is train M301, Baton Rouge to Memphis.  The only other mainline manifest that runs here is the A419, and I could tell that this was the M301 because of the presence of lumber loads and UP cars.

Here is my food, my second and last cell-phone snap of this article.

It was good!

Getting A Raise

After the meal ended, I went north and climbed an overpass from which to shoot pictures.

This is a new car repair facility being built.

The company building the facility is American Railcar.

Well, let’s go over the mainline to see what we can see.

We are looking south in the above picture and north in the below picture.

Let’s get down now.


Let’s see what CN’s facilities here look like.

Maybe this area is a Maintenance Of Way staging area.  Anyone with any knowledge of the role of the Brookhaven “Material Yard” for the CN in this area, please share.

Apparently, there is a lumber mill right next to the mainline where the former Mississippi Central mainline connects with the former IC mainline.

So, appropriately, given what we have seen already in this series, the track going off to the right foreground goes to Wanilla and Ferguson, meaning that this is where traffic to and from Bogalusa rejoins the mainline.

Here is the yard office.

I guess that that is the local power in the background.

I have seen that locomotive before!

Twilight Target

I set up for a shot of the northbound City Of New Orleans, as I would make my last photographic stand on this day.  Here is the depot, as seen from the northwest.

The people are waiting for their train.

The train arrives.

The train departs.

Then, Jimbaux, having, for the first time, photographed the City Of New Orleans outside of Louisiana, too, departs, heading back to Whoadieville via the other side of Lake Pontchartrain; I basically made a large oval with my travels today.  I was really tired, having gotten up really early to start this trek, and it was time to go home.

McComb Encore

I had thought that the picture-taking for the day, but, upon snooping around in McComb, I found this gem.

This is interesting!

That’s all for the pictures from this large set, and it’s about damned time.


About 10 months after these pictures were taken came word that a new WATCo shortline would be taking over the mill-switching at Bogalusa.  Some evidence then suggested that CN would soon (once the WATCo operation started) run the turn between Bogalusa and Ferguson from Ferguson instead of from Bogalusa, as many of us think that this might be a precursor to WATCo taking over the part all the way to Wanilla and perhaps even to Brookhaven.

So, in retrospect, I am glad that I got these pictures of the Bogalusa-Ferguson Turn when I did, but I am wondering now if I should have chased the train south anyway, despite the disgusting leader; I remember thinking that I would return to this place when that locomotive would almost certainly no longer be on the train.

Due to what seemed like imminent permanent changes on the line, I spent three days in mid-December documenting the line – and the one train on the line – between Bogalusa and Wanilla-Ferguson.  Of yet, I have only published a few pictures from that outing:

Well, I’m glad that I got those images, and, eventually, I hope to process and publicize more of them, though the process is time-consuming; until then, you have what you have, presented, here.




1 Charlie Kilbourne March 5, 2015 at 07:28

James, what is your cell phone type? Ever think about numbering your fine photos for easy commenting by viewers? …. Charlie

2 Nathan Kaufman March 10, 2015 at 18:41

Several observations and questions:

First, that IC mailbox looks like it has a switch lock keeping it secure. Pretty cool! Maybe it was previously for payroll or other company paperwork that was periodically picked up?

Second, I noticed at Fox’s Pizza that the door said “no sagging pants allowed” and that amused me a little.

Third, you caught some interesting power on your trains for this post. The cowl loco passing Fox’s is always cool, and the funky end-cab switcher is apparently a SW7RM, which means that bulge near the front might be for remote control equipment.

Nathan Kaufman

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