Railroads of Meridian
168 pages
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Railroads of Meridian


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En savoir plus
168 pages


This generously illustrated narrative follows the evolution of dozens of separate railroads in the Meridian, Mississippi, area from the destruction of the town's rail facilities in the 1850s through the current era of large-scale consolidation. Presently, there are only seven mega-size rail systems in the United States, three of which serve Meridian, making it an important junction on one of the nation's four major transcontinental routes. The recent creation of a nationally prominent high-speed freight line between Meridian and Shreveport, the "Meridian Speedway," has allowed the Union Pacific, Kansas City Southern, and Norfolk Southern railroads to offer the shortest rail route across the continent for Asia-US-Europe transportation.


1. Antebellum Beginnings
2. A New Start
3. A New Century
4. Entrepreneur Extraordinaire
5. Roller-Coaster Ride
6. A Tumultuous Decade
7. Coming of Age
8. Postwar Metamorphosis
9. More Changes
10. Another Renaissance




Publié par
Date de parution 05 juillet 2012
Nombre de lectures 1
EAN13 9780253005960
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 16 Mo

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RAILROADS PAST & PRESENT George M. Smerk, editor
This book is a publication of
Indiana University Press 601 North Morton Street Bloomington, Indiana 47404-3797 USA
Telephone orders800-842-6796 Fax orders812-855-7931
© 2012 by J. Parker Lamb
All rights reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. The Association of American University Presses’ Resolution on Permissions constitutes the only exception to this prohibition.
The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the American National Standard for Information Sciences—Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48-1992. Manufactured in the United States of America
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Lamb, J. Parker. Railroads of Meridian / J. Parker Lamb, with contributions by David H. Bridges and David S. Price. p. cm. — (Railroads past and present) Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-0-253-00592-2 (cloth : alk. paper) — ISBN 978-0-253-00596-0 (e-book) 1. Railroads— Mississippi —Meridian—History. I. Bridges, David H. II. Price, David S. III. Title. TF25. M443L35 2012 385.09762’677—dc23 2012005229
1 2 3 4 5 17 16 15 14 13 12
Thisvolume about Meridian’s railroads is dedicated to my life partner,
Nancy Flaherty Lamb,
whom I first met as a teenager but whose earlier years included numerous train rides on the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio, including one in the cab of a steam locomotive being turned at the roundhouse. As an adult she has logged thousands of miles in passenger trains over two continents.
The idea for a book on Meridian began to creep onto my horizon in 2008 as I approached my seventy-fifth birthday. At such a milestone, it is common for many to ponder their goals for that indeterminable amount of active life left to them. In my case, the idea was helped along by an invitation to do a short, illustrated history for a Meridian group. Unfortunately, this project could not be carried to completion, but by then, I was moving full speed with the collection of data and illustrations and did not want to slow down. And so the ensuing book preparation turned into a joyous journey back to my early years. The intriguing story of Meridian’s 155-year history as a center of railroad activity has heretofore been told primarily through disconnected segments appearing in magazines as well as two of my earlier books, along with pamphlets distributed by historical societies to limited audiences. The present work builds on these earlier documents, augmented by my personal experiences since 1936, to provide a comprehensive narrative of Meridian’s development, a treatment that includes the evolution of rail routes and their technology as well as profiles of the region’s early leaders in railroad development. Also noted are rail-related achievements of Meridian-area natives during the post–World War II era. I realized from the beginning that, while I was well versed in the overall (or macro-scale) history of the city’s development as a rail center prior to World War II, there were lifelong residents of the area who had carried out detailed (micro-scale) research on the early period of the city and its rail lines. Thus I chose two longtime friends to be my co-authors. David Bridges is a native of Philadelphia, situated 38 miles northwest of Meridian on the former Gulf, Mobile & Northern (GM&N) main line. Naturally, his early interest turned to the origins of this route and led him to become an expert on its struggles for nearly a half century, which ended in the formation of the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio (GM&O) in late 1940. David, an engineering professor at Mississippi State University, has written extensively for the GM&O Historical Society magazine. His detailed history of Sam Neville’s exploits forms the basis for chapter 4. The second co-author is David Price, a longtime resident of Hattiesburg who grew up on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. From his youth, Price’s main interest has been the Gulf Coast lumber industry that developed during the first decades of the twentieth century after many loggers moved southward to tackle the region’s vast stands of virgin forest. Of course, the sawmill industry spawned hundreds of miles of short-lived logging spurs that fed nearby trunk lines. As an adult, David began collecting historic photographs of sawmills and short lines as well as southern Mississippi trunk lines. His collection expanded greatly with the later acquisition of numerous images from prominent early southern photographers such as Bill Witbeck, William Jones, and Charles Harrington. David has generously allowed me to tap into his collection for use in earlier books, and this one is no exception. He also provided significant background material for the Meridian & Bigbee Railroad summary in chapter 4. A retired United Methodist minister, he is the founder and co-owner, with Tony Howe, of the popular websiteMississippi Railsand recently served as a major facilitator for the latest book by noted southern lumber historian Gilbert Hoffman (listed in the references). I also wish to make a short comment on the role of digital technology in photographic processing, a topic that has led to considerable discussion among various constituencies whose views of originality, creativity, and authenticity are different. We live in an age that has spawned reality TV and exploded with computerized social networks. It is one in which the process of digital synthesis is commonplace. I have generally ignored many of its manifestations, such as synthesized words and fantasy sports leagues, but as a darkroom worker for over a half century I have embraced heartily the widest possible use of digital techniques for photographic restoration and creation (without intent to defraud).
In dealing with antique images that suffer from primitive methods of recording and processing, compounded by time damage in storage, my efforts are an attempt to turn back the historical clock and produce an image as close as possible to that seen by the original photographer. Not surprisingly, in a few cases the primitive photographer was a teenager named Parker Lamb! From my standpoint, putting these improved images into circulation again will allow them to be available to educate future generations during much of the new century. Moreover, in some cases I have been motivated to go a step further and create new images, commonly called photo illustrations. This book contains a few digitally synthesized scenes around Meridian that no one recorded but that represent renditions of actual events, some of which I witnessed or even attempted to record but failed due to my early lack of competence. Special thanks for assistance goes to Matthew “Mick” Nussbaum, director of the Meridian Railroad Museum, who was able to provide extensive background data on Meridian’s rail scene over the past two decades. Mick’s contemporary photos are a welcomed feature of the last chapter, while his historical images of an earlier age have never been published. He was also my primary factual reviewer, suggesting numerous improvements in early drafts. An invaluable contribution was provided by another longtime friend, Gerald A. Hook, a former employee of the Kansas City Southern Railway (KCS) marketing and sales group during the acquisition of MidSouth Rail. This volume includes a substantial number of color photos representing Meridian’s recent history. I have chosen to put these in a special gallery. Such an arrangement allows for much larger images than might otherwise be possible if the photos were scattered within the text. My deepest appreciation goes to KCS’S executive chairman, Michael Haverty, for his willingness to set aside time for a long conversation about his road’s development of the Meridian Speedway. Finally, I wish to thank Sponsoring Editor Linda Oblack and her assistant editor Nancy Lightfoot as well as Railroad Editor George Smerk of Indiana University Press for their strong support of this, my third volume with the IU Press imprint. J. PARKER LAMB Austin, Texas