Hattiesburg, MS to Evanston, MS - 1995
I made a trip with Kurt Nastasi on March 11, 1995 to southern Mississippi in search of a DEGX coal train. This trip was one experience that has inspired my ProtoFreelanced Meridian Speedway concept.
During this time the Daniel Electric Generation power plant near Escatawpa, Mississippi was doing a test burn of Powder River, WY coal being delivered via the Burlington Northern to the Illinois Central at Memphis, TN. The Illinois Central handed the trains off to the Mississippi Export Railroad at Evanston, Mississippi for the final leg of the journey.
Our expedition began in Hattiesburg, Mississippi where we saw some action on both the Norfolk Southern and the Illinois Central. We chased Illinois Central train JAMO southward to Evanton. This train was running with three locomotives facing long-hood-forward because the lead unit (the only forward facing unit) derailed at Hattiesburg.
We became aware that the Mississippi Export would be delivering coal train UEVME-11 to the Illinois Central at Evanston tha evening so we set up there. Sure enough, emerging from the south Mississippi woods was an empty coal train powered by three Burlington Northern C30-7s and a Burlington Northern SD40-2!
While BN powered coal trains were common in many parts of the country, this was an oddity in southern Mississippi. The Powder River test-burn was short lived and the utility switched back to its Coloroado source with trains coming into Memphis via a DRGW/SP/UP routing.
We managed to get one more train at Evanston. All IC powered UMOKM-11 with five locomotives wearing the "Death-Star" scheme pulled into Evanston at last light.
Please enjoy this glimpse into the past on the Illinois Central Beaumont District!