Glimpses of Meridian, Mississippi


Part 4

National Railroad Day - Meridian, Mississippi Style
May 10, 2008 was the 139th anniversary of the "ceremonial" completion of the Transcontinental Railroad - when the Golden Spike was driven to complete the meeting of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads at Promitary Summit, Utah. As Meridian owes it's very existance and much of it's prosperity to the railroads - we take make an effort to celebrate that heritage and remember those who have contributed thier efforts over the years. This year - the "Guest of Honor" was the operators of Meridian's newest "railroad" Dunn Roadbuilders - and their EMD GP-8 locomotive.
Dunn Roadbuilders' Engine number 1535 was on display at Meridian's Union Station. Dunn was gracious enough to not only provide their engine for display, but allow people to board an get a rare close-up look at a real working locomotive.
"Jo Jo" is one of Dunn's Engineers - moving material cars about Dunn Roadbuilders' yard just east of downtown Meridian. Dunn's facilities can accomodate 150 hopper cars - this engine provides the 1800hp to move those heavy cars where needed.
The access doors were opened on this side to allow people to see just what's inside... again - a rare opportunity.
taken advantage of by more than a few - who were awed by just how large everything is.
"Jo Jo" heading back to check everything is clear before starting the mighty diesel - needed in this case to recharge the air tanks so visitors could sound the engine's horns - a VERY loud set of Nathan air chimes.
Michael posing next to the poster illustraiting and explaining operations at Dunn Roadbuilders' facility. Both he and "Jo Jo" had their hand's full with kids (of all ages) at times... but they offered everyone an interesting guided tour and answered many, many questions.
The engineer's station -- controls for the brakes, lighting, safety equipment, throtle, and of course the engine's bell and horns.
Track view out the Engineer's window.
Closeup of the informative poster that shows and explains various operations at Dunn Roadbuilders facility.
The "works" - through the left open door is seen one "cylinder" worth of the mighty V16 diesel. Through the right open door - is the main traction power generator, with one of the superchargers above.
"Jo Jo" showing one of the equipment compartments on the left side.
Business end - need a push?
One set of the massive trucks - where both motive power meets the rail - and the equally massive brakes bring it all back to a stop.

Click on this picture for a short
video "tour" of Dunn's EMD GP-8:

Even on a Railroad "holiday" the trains keep rolling - here a Kansas City Southern GP40-3 (approx. 3000hp) moves some hopper cars past Union Station.
Here a Kansas City Southern road engine - in this case a SD70MAC ---
Along with this AC44CW - prepare to move a full freight on out towards Atlanta. These long-haul engines generate between 4300 and 4400 hp each - and can move enormously long trains.
The Queen & Crescent Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society maintains a musuem in the old Railway Express building next to Union Station, Meridian. Their displays cover a wide variety of railroad items - from paper ephemera to complete rail cars - and everything in between. This velocipede is a rare one person rail-rider that dates from the steam era.
Notice that the outrigger arm is constructed so that it can fold up making a very compact vehicle that can be easily stored until needed - then quickly assembled and put to use by one person.
A Freight wagon with a single-person rail scooter.
Switch gear with indicators
Another freight wagon - with several more items displayed - and notice one of many picture displays loaded with historical photos.
Besides photos - are maps and other informational displays relating Meridian and it's rail history.
One of the rarest items in the Meridian display. This is the actual Central Traffic Control Console that was used in the 1940s and 1950s by Southern Railroad to dispatch and control their line between Meridian and Birmingham, AL. The controller could tell at a glance where various trains were - and insure that passes on sidings, etc. were taking place as they should.
Another quite rare item. This is a training device that allowed firemen to learn the intricacies of operating a power firebox stoker.

The Meridian Model Train Club occupies the eastern end of the old Railway Express building - and has a large and ever expanding HO gauge layout.

Short (3 minute) Video of Trains in motion:
All photo by Sherry and Randy Guttery - Minolta DiMage Z1 and Z5 cameras.

Email: Randy and Sherry Guttery -

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Glimpses of Meridian, Mississippi
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