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The Newsletter of the Red River Valley Railroad Historical Society, Inc.
Gone But Not Forgotten : Red River and Gulf Railroad
Preparation of last month’s Newsletter about logging railroads reminded me of the interesting Red River and Gulf Railroad which ran from LeCompte to Long Leaf in Rapides Parish, Louisiana, then on to Kurthwood in Vernon Parish. It also had a branch to Meridian, Louisiana. The RR&G system was owned by a corporation headed by C.T. Crowell of Crowell Lumber Company. The best information source that I am aware of is the excellent book titled “Up and Down the Red River and Gulf Railroad” by Troy L. DeRamus (published in 1989) which contains a complete history of the railroad, lots of anecdotes and stories, plus many photos.
Additionally, the Southern Forest Heritage Museum in Long Leaf, Louisiana is a great place to visit for a look at a real sawmill complex with strong ties to the RR&G. Several members of the Society plan to go there on April 21 (see page 3). The Museum site was the Crowell & Spencer Lumber Company and contains all of the original buildings and equipment as they left it when they closed. They have the only remaining RR&G steam engine, 4-6-0 No.106, shown below in the rebuilt Car Knocker Shed.
The Museum also has Crowell & Spencer engine No. 202, which was left outside to rust for many years.
The following information and photos are from their website www.forestheritagemuseum.org
Engine 202 is a 2-6-0, wood-burning, steam locomotive built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1913 with construction number 40862 (builders plates removed). It was used to pull log cars along the temporary dummy lines in the woods and along the Red River & Gulf Railroad mainline and onto the sawmill where the loads were dumped into the log pond.
Engine 400, type 4-6-0, was built in 1919 by Baldwin Locomotive Works, with construction number 51175 (builders plate removed). It originally burned coal and was later converted to burn oil. It pulled log trains on the 75 miles of Red River & Gulf main lines, making its last run between Lecompte, Louisiana and Long Leaf on December 9, 1952
The Bulletin Board - Events and Information for Railroaders
The next meeting will be held on March 16 at 7 p.m. at the Elk’s Club, 310 E. Preston Ave. in Shreveport. Some of our members belong to the club and we are evaluating it as a possible meeting site. If you are traveling east on E. Preston, the Elk’s Club is located on the left about 1 block from the 4-way stop at Captain Shreve Drive. Their long driveway is on the left just after you go over the levee. Come at 6 p.m. if you want to have dinner (steak or fish, $7-$10). For information or directions call Mark Brunettin (470-4412) or Dave Bland (470-5933). If you get to the meeting late (after 7 p.m.) you will need to call Mark for admittance to the club.
Join Us For A Trip to the Southern Forest Heritage Museum
Long Leaf, Louisiana (140 miles – 2.5 hours south of Shreveport)
Machine Shop Day - Saturday April 21, 2007
Motorcar rides all day - Crafts and Concessions – Gospel Bands
Antique Tractor Pull and 2 Cylinder Engine Display
Featuring their unique belt-driven Machine Shop & Blacksmith Forge
9 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Admission Price is $5.00 (pay when you get there)
Food and Drinks Will Be Available for Purchase (or you can bring your own)
Meet at the Home Depot at Bert Kouns and I-49 at 7:30 a.m. if you want to carpool or travel with the group. It will take about 2.5 hours to drive to Long Leaf, so we should arrive there about 10 a.m.
We should be back in Shreveport about 6:30 p.m.
Call Dave Bland at 797-8008 or 470-5933 if you have any questions.
The Newsletter is Online !!
Thanks to Society members Melinda and Roger West, our Newsletter is now on their North Louisiana Train Show web site www.northlouisianatrainshow.4t.com We really appreciate it!
Your Society’s Internet Site
The Society’s Yahoo User Group is named Red River Valley Railroad Historical Society and can be accessed by going to www.yahoo.com , selecting Groups, and searching for RRVRHS. Alternatively, you can go directly to http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/rrvrhs/ Photographs of Society activities and newsletter photos can be seen on the user group site.
American Rose Center Railroad
Call Gary Fox at 631-9164 for more information and regarding planned work/operating days.
Editor’s note: Contributions from Newsletter readers are solicited and appreciated.
Photographs, stories, essays, historical articles, upcoming events, etc. will be published as space is available. Call Dave Bland at 797-8008.
In my last article I started telling about the Society acquiring locomotive 1140.
After looking at the locomotive we discovered that the drawbar between the engine & tender was missing. Therefore, we took measurements so that a new one could be made. We began going down to Pineland, Texas every weekend for the next 2 years preparing the engine to be moved to Shreveport.
First, we had to remove the main drive rods from each side and this was not an easy task because of the weight. Each one weighed about 800 pounds. They were not difficult to take off, just big and heavy. Next, we took off the eccentric rods. These were tough because a tapered pin about 1 ½ inches in diameter was frozen in place. We hammered on these two pins almost 3 hours before one finally came loose. The other one had to be cut to get the rod off. The rods were labeled and brought to Shreveport on a 16 ft. trailer. The next thing was to remove the cellar boxes. There were two of these on each axle.
After the boxes were out we had to clean each axle all the way around. This was done by cleaning the bottom then moving the engine a few inches with a bulldozer to expose a new section of axle, cleaning it and moving the engine again. The cellar boxes were brought to Shreveport to be rebuilt. Afterwards, they were re-installed on each axle with a new block of grease. The boxes pushed the grease block up against the axle and while it was turning lubricated the bearings. After all ten bearings were cleaned and lubricated we had to rig a makeshift lube system for the front truck axles and the engine was ready to be moved.
Next we had to clean all eight bearings on the tender. Each bearing box was cleaned of all old waste and the bearing was cleaned, or so we thought. More on that later. After all bearings on the engine and tender were cleaned a new drawbar was installed. At this time the engine was still sitting in its original position, a long way from active rails.
More next month.
Red River Valley
Railroad Historical Society, Inc.
2424 Lakecrest Drive Shreveport, LA 71109
Russell Pedro – President Dave Bland – Vice President
Gary Fox – Secretary Bill Hasheider – Treasurer
Dave Bland – Newsletter Editor – 797-8008 – DDBland@aol.com
It is time to pay our 2007 annual dues
Please send a check or money order for $16.50 with this membership form to: Bill Hasheider at
6813 Despot Road, Shreveport, LA 71108
State __________________________ Zip Code ___________
Monthy I will be updating this with the current newletter. Keep coming back.