This might be a bad question .........
I was wondering if anyone knew if the Mississippi River was used by the
railroad(s) [in the 1950's time period] for train car crossings by way
of barges. Or, did they rely solely on bridges.
If barges were used, might you know approximate locations along the
river [states in particular] and which railroads were primarily
involved in this endeavor?
Huey Long bridge in New Orleans was completed in 1935, owned and
operated by the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad but I'm not sure
exactly when all the railroads stated using it and stopped the barges.
I'll check but I think SP's barge traffic crossed at Harahan and TP
crossed near downtown not far from the terminal....
The 1935 build date would probably make a barge scenario in a 1950's
layout unrealistic w/ regards to the lower Mississippi. I don't know
where Harahan is. Maybe that will be my saviour as a plausible reason
to add a barge to my 1950's layout plans.
Am I missing other bodies of water worthy of a barge that the CB&Q, the
SP, the UP, the Frisco, The ATSF, and/or the SP would have required or
considered the use of a barge in the 1950's? I am not too familiar with
bodies of water to the west of the Mississippi that may have justified
a barge for any of those particular railroads.
NY harbor offered ideal circumstances for the use of barges here in the
Was the Sacramento River large enough at any point to justify a barge?
The Frisco had a barge operation at Mobile, Alabama that operated daily to
industries on Blakeley (BLAKE - lee) Island. The barge ferried cars across the
River in the vicinity of the Alabama State Docks. This operation was active in
70s, but I do not know if it is still operating today. The operation is
to me account there was a large bitumuls plant on Blakeley Island that used a
Harahan is on the West Bank across the river from New Orleans, in a manner
Manhattan and Queens. It is part of the Metro New Orleans area.
wrote in message
If I recall correctly, the Missouri Pacific had a car ferry at St.
Genevieve, Missouri, crossing the Mississippi.
One of the last times I saw steam power on the MoPac was there, as high
water had caused minor flooding on the approach tracks, and the normal
diesel could not be used, so they had brought out a small steam engine.
This would have been in the late 1950s, although my memory can't seem to pin
it down any better.
Actually, Harahan is on the east bank of the Mississippi, upriver from
New Orleans. ( basically between New Orleans and the airport in Kenner
Harahan I "think" was an official or yardmaster with IC who's May's
yard is just outside of Harahan.
The area directly across the river from downtown New Orleans is still
New Orleans but is known as Algeirs. The railroad ferry was named (
and I know the spelling is wrong ) Gouldsbourough and the small yard
under the GNO / Crescent City Connection ( bridge) on the westbank is
still called Gouldsbourough yard. It basically is an interchange yard
between the "Lower Coast" and "UP"
Froggy and Bill,
Great info. That will allow me some nice leeway in my attempt to design and
include a modest barge component to the layout planning. I have always
wanted to scratch build a barge, but I needed to be sure that it could be
applicable. I think I can now make this happen.
Thank You !!!
You might want to look for a copy of the Walthers book "Railroading Along
the Waterfront" published to give modeling ideas for the Walthers waterfront
series of structure kits. In addition to the operations at New Orleans and
Mobile Bay other have mentions, the book says there was a river transfer
between Natchez, MS and Vidalia, LA that lasted into the 1980's. On a quick
scan, I see it also mentions operations on the Detroit River, and old one at
Chicago, and one in Canada. Geezer
There was rail barge service across San Francisco Bay until at least the
early 1950s. I used to watch the barges load and unload in Tiburon (Marin
County) when I was a kid.
This isn't one of the railroads you mention, but the Milwaukee Road had
two rail-barge routes in Washington State on Puget Sound. One barge run
was from the railroad's small Seattle freight terminus out to Port
Townsend to serve the railroad's isolated line from Port Townsend to Port
Angeles. The other one was from Seattle north to Bellingham. The
Bellingham run was about 60-70 miles, maybe more. The railroad had its
own tug and barge fleet. The Seattle-Port Townsend car ferry operated
into the late 1970s.
I believe the last commercial rail-barge service in North America was on a
large lake in Canada.
(to reply remove Boeing jet from address)
C. Marin Faure
RMC had an article in the '70s about building a model of a transfer
which wasn't a barge but a side-wheel ferry that took cars across the
I believe they said the last such boat stopped operating in the late
or early 1960s...I will have to go check my copy, but I do remember it
used by the Missouri-Illinois Railroad.
I think the New York Cross Harbor is still floating cars on barges.
were as of 1999, anyway.
(MOUNTAINS of useful stuff here!)
Will check that RMC I mentioned to see what issue it was .. I think
the operation referred to in the article was the St. Genevieve