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Gulf, Mobile & Northern

"The Road of Service" ~ "Keep Your Freight Moving"

In 1930, Tom Martin, then editor of the Gulf, Mobile and Northern News, described the growth of the line he worked for in these words: "The story of the Gulf, Mobile and Northern Railroad is the story of the post-war South -- of small and difficult beginnings undertaken by men of courage and of vision, of many vicissitudes; but of progress in the face of apparently insuperable difficulties." In 1930 it could be said that the GM&N truly had made progress. In 1920 such a statement might have been open to question. No one, however, could ever question that part of Martin's statement about small and difficult beginnings, for no railroad could have had a much more difficult start than the pieces of lines which by 1920 had been merged into the GM&N.

James H. Lemly

The Gulf, Mobile & Northern Railroad was a predecessor line to the Gulf Mobile & Ohio system, comprising the New Orleans, Mobile & Chicago and the New Orleans Great Northern. Formed in 1917, the backbone of the GM&N was a north-south mainline from Jackson, Tennessee to Mobile, Alabama. A branching main line extended west and south from Union, Mississippi to New Orleans, Louisiana -- reached by trackage rights over the Southern Railway. The GM&N also connected the junction at Union to Meridian, Mississippi by a short eastward extension. The GM&N ran an unusual streamlined trainset known The Rebel from Jackson to Mobile, with a section that extended to New Orleans. In 1940 the GM&N merged with the Mobile & Ohio to become the Gulf Mobile & Ohio Railroad.

1938 system map

See also our predecessor New Orleans Great Northern mainline collection

Motive Power

HawkinsRails thanks railfan friend David Price for sharing his GM&N roster collection

"The Rebel"

"Rebel" promotional ticket envelope / collection

Gulf, Mobile & Northern #

New Orleans Times-Picayune / Oct 1990 / collection

Lagniappe

What I would give to have lived in my home town of Covington, La, during the era of the handsome "St. Tammany Special." No doubt the train's arrival from New Orleans was met with great enthusiasm by the locals. The drumhead on the observation car is hard to beat. One can only hope that it survives somewhere, in a collector's basement.

Exterior, head-on photo of the open-platform observation car on the St. Tammany Special, a passenger train on the Gulf, Mobile & Northern Railroad, in 1930. The train ran between New Orleans and St. Tammany, Louisiana along Lake Ponchartrain. In the year of the photo, the railroad replaced traditional steam-hauled equipment with a gas-electric motor train built by the J. G. Brill Company in Philadelphia. The four-car train included this observation car with open platform, parlor, and individual bucket seats. An early passenger innovator in the South, the GM&N replaced all steam-powered passenger service with motor trains between 1930 and 1935. This photo appears on p. 202 of More Classic Trains by Arthur Dubin (Kalmbach, 1974).

Tom Davidson of Hammond, La

company letterhead / collection

ticket stub / collection

Links / Sources