Gulfport (MS) Branch Upgrade

Hytec May 5, 2011

  1. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    Bruce, looking at Google Earth, I believe the KCS/CN-IC interchange yard may be a little south of Hattiesburg. However, that's just a guess, never having been there in person.
     
  2. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Where did the Bonhomie & Hattiesburg Southern RR and also the Mississippi Central RR come into the Hattiesburg area?
     
  3. Geared Steam

    Geared Steam Permanently dispatched

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    Good for KCS and the Gulf region, first they brought the Macaroni back from the dead, now this upgrade with container traffic out of Gulfport. Good to see KCS is on the ball and these areas are picking up with business.
     
  4. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    Well sorta....in March 2004, the Mississippi Legislature authorized the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) to issue $40M in bonds. The bonds were to be allocated as follows: $20M to purchase the Gulfport Branch from KCS; and $20M to upgrade the Branch to support container traffic to/from the Port. In late April or early May MDA initiated the bid process for issuing the bonds. Within a few days, our local paper reported that KCS had publicly said something like, "OMG, They're Serious!" Then KCS immediately sent a letter to the MDA commiting to upgrading the Branch to Class IV themselves. Unfortunately, though fortunately for KCS, Hurricane Katrina intervened which gave KCS some breathing room. The delay allowed KCS to complete the Macaroni Line, and line up funding for the Gulfport Branch upgrade. Katrina also allowed the MDA to secure about $600M from FEMA to repair and upgrade the Port to better protect it from future hurricane damage. This also gave KCS a clear plan of expected container traffic increases after the Port completed Phase I in 2012, Phase II in 2014, and finally Phase III in 2017. The Port and KCS both are using a conservative 2017 traffic target of 100,000 Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEU) annually through the Port, which translates to around 40,000 containers per year. One other benefit for local foamers, the upgrade will allow KCS to use modern 4000HP six-axle power instead of the current GP-38s and -40s. The major problem for the local (non-foamer) residents will be getting used to 49 MPH traffic after being angry with 10 MPH traffic for more than 40 years.
     
  5. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    Ken, this link, http://www.msrailroads.com/Shortlines.htm, should help you, not only with your specific question, but also with most Mississippi railroad history.

    Apparently the B&HS was the forerunner of the current CN-IC line between Mobile, AL and Jackson, MS. This line enters Hattiesburg from the southeast, then crosses the NS about 100 feet southwest of the Hattiesburg station. The KCS Gulfport Branch (nee G&SI) terminates at an interchange yard with the CN-IC a few miles south of Hattiesburg.

    The Mississippi Central is more difficult to determine because the map in the above link is poor quality. However, the text, with help of other maps, should give you some information.
     
  6. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Hank-

    Thanks. Looks like I'll be spending a bit of time at that site!
     
  7. CSXBOY187

    CSXBOY187 TrainBoard Member

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    Are all the upgrades done on this line now in 2012 or are they still working on it. I got plans on the last week of june to go vist my grandpa in Mchenry, MS and this line runs right behind his house it sure would be awesome to catch a few trains going about 50mph I remember back in 2008 when I first visited him that this line was all jointed rail and the train were going about 10-15mph. Thank you for any information

    Aaron
     
  8. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    Hi Aaron, unfortunately you won't see any "50mph" trains through McHenry for about two years.

    All CWR and new ties have been installed, and ballast shaping is complete. They have started clearing brush at grade crossings for visibility of 49 mph trains. However, I was told by a KCS supervisor that Class-IV (49 mph) certification was not expected until early/mid-2014. He said it would take that long to upgrade the 130+/- grade crossings with safety equipment, i.e. gates and/or flashing lights. He also said that he had no information where the new 8000' passing siding would be located, except that it would be somewhere 5-10 miles either side of Wiggins. That project may have been started for all I know.

    So this summer you still will see a 4-unit brace of northbound GP-38s and GP-40s growling upgrade at 10 mph as they approach the Old-49 crossing in McHenry. Though be on the lookout for at least two units that have been re-painted in Southern Belle scheme...pretty.

    Enjoy your visit.
     
  9. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Have we seen any photos of these re-paints? :wideeyes:
     
  10. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    Yup.....

    [​IMG]
     
  11. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Ah. That does look nice! Hope it gets to lead now and then!
     
  12. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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  13. CSXBOY187

    CSXBOY187 TrainBoard Member

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    Thank you for the information. Im looking forward to getting over there again and catching this train, I love the fact that this train is stilling running four GP series engines the sound they make growling up hill is just awesome. The two southern belle GP engines looks nice in southern belle paint.

    Aaron
     
  14. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    There are six trains a week, so hopefully you'll be able to catch at least one. The northbound train runs through McHenry on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, usually late morning or noon. The southbound runs on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, usually mid/late afternoon, sometimes after dark. The southbound schedule depends on CN/IC dispatching trackage rights between Jackson and Hattiesburg, and NS giving clearance for the diamond next to the Hattiesburg station.

    Occasionally they'll do some switching in Wiggins. Though I don't know how you could tell if any switching was scheduled, because when a train gets clearance to leave the yard in either Gulfport or Hattiesburg, the conductor owns the entire 67.5 miles for the entire trip, and doesn't need to radio the dispatcher for anything that's listed on his work order.

    The best bet is to listen for horns as the train approaches McHenry. Once you hear horns in the distance, don't worry that you'll miss seeing the train. At 10 mph, you probably will get bored long before the train comes into view....:eek:hboy:
     
  15. CSXBOY187

    CSXBOY187 TrainBoard Member

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    Alright thank you for that information that helps me out a lot. I never knew the southbound train comes out of Jackson, MS I always thought the train comes out of the yard in Hattiesburg just south of the Amtrak station. Seem like that line is kinda busy to have 6 trains a week run on it at times do you see any kind of four axle leasing power on that line like HLCX. Sorry to keep asking question but how busy is Hattiesburg, MS I know Amtrak 19 and 20 run through there sounds like another great spot for me to check out.

    Aaron
     
  16. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    I believe most, if not all Gulfport Branch trains travel straight through between Gulfport and Jackson, terminating at the KCS yard on the Meridian Speedway just east of Jackson. It's possible that some cars are interchanged with NS in the HBG yard, though I have no information on that. I've never been to the KCS yard in HBG, though looking at Google Maps, it appears to be accessible from Edwards St. via Cypress Ave. and Roy St.

    I've seen a NS engine switching cars across the NS main from the HBG station. Also, the CN/IC Jackson/Mobile line crosses the NS in HBG east of the station. Check out Google Earth and Google Maps for the track complex around HBG station, it's quite extensive. (Back in the mid-80s when Amtrak ran the Gulf Wind between Mobile and New Orleans on CSX, the train was routed from Mobile up to HBG on CN/IC, then down to NOL on NS through Picayune and Slidell for the week that CSX was working on the Rigolets Bridge.)

    A good place to see action at the Gulfport yard is from Old 49. Turn west on Creosote Road just south of I-10 past Home Depot, then turn south on Old 49 before crossing the tracks. Also you might catch KCS switching the Port of Gulfport, or the Industrial Seaway track that runs five miles from Hwy 49, east along the south side of I-10. KCS goes to the DuPont plant about 15 miles west of Gulfport in DeLisle. I've seen the DuPont train heading west between 7 and 8 in the morning occasionally, but I don't know its current schedule. Finally, CSX interchanges the KCS engine terminal yard just north of GPT station, though I don't know it's schedule either. Before Katrina, it was around three.

    Enjoy hunting and foaming...:cool:
     
  17. CSXBOY187

    CSXBOY187 TrainBoard Member

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    Thank you for the information that helps me out a lot. I was looking on Google Maps and I saw the wye that goes out to DeLisle there are a lot of great places to catch the KCS Gulfport local. Im going to check out the KCS yard in HBG and what I can find out as for power in the yard and kinda look around and see how things work out.
     

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