A Southern Regional Railroad of the 1930's - 1940's
Mississippi Central Railroad


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Mississippi Central
Mississippi Central
April, 1931
The Mississippi Central (MSC), that operated in the first half of the 20th century, was one of three Mississippi Centrals; another of Civil War vintage and one current line are not the MSC of the 30's and 40's, which ran 164 miles between Natchez and Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Started in the 1890's primarily as a hauler of lumber products from the vast Central Mississippi forest areas, it developed into a bridge line connecting to the Mississippi River at Natchez and by ferry to the Louisiana and Arkansas Railway to form a route called "The Natchez Route". It connected at Hattiesburg with the Southern Railway. The MSC ran several passenger trains daily in the 1920's (bg). The 1930-31 timetable shown here indicates one passenger train each way #1 and #4. However (bg) who lived his youth in Bassfield on the MSC wrote an article in the Sandhouse (Mississippi Great Southern chapter of the National Railway Historical Society) that the MSC had two trains a day each way until the mid 30's. It discontinued passenger service in the early 1940's. The MSC was purchased by the Illinois Central in 1967, and in 1972 became part of the Illinois Central Gulf. Mississippi Central Mississippi Central
Employee Timetable
November 20, 1955

Short History of the Mississippi Central Railroad
1897 - The MSC was started in 1897 as the Pearl and Leaf Rivers Railroad. This line was built by the J.J. Newman Lumber Company from Hattiesburg, to Sumrall, 18.7 miles.
1904 - P&LR name was changed to the Mississippi Central Railroad. The Company as of this period was controlled by the United States Lumber Company.
1906 - The Natchez and Eastern Railway was formed to build a rail line from Natchez to Brookhaven, 165 miles.
1909 - N&E line was absorbed by the Mississippi Central.
1915 - The end of 1916 found the Company with 17 locomotives, 18 passenger cars, and 1,100 freight cars. It was mentioned that the Mississippi Central had hauled over 300,000,000 board feet of finished lumber in that year.
c 1920's - For a short time during the 1920s, the line operated a service named "The Natchez Route", running trains from Natchez to Mobile, Alabama through trackage agreements with the Gulf, Mobile and Northern Railroad. At Natchez, freight cars were ferried across the Mississippi River to connect with the Louisiana and Arkansas Railway to institute through traffic into Shreveport, Louisiana.
1920's - During this period there were as many as four trains a day on the route (bg)
1929 - In May the MSC received ICC permission to abandon the 11.78 mile TallHalla Branch. As of this period it was reported the Company still had 712 freight cars earning revenue.
1930-31 - MSC is operating one passenger train a day between Natchez and Hattiesburg.
early 1930's - (bg) who lived his youth in Bassfield on the MSC wrote an article in the Sandhouse (Mississippi Great Southern chapter of the National Railway Historical Society) that the MSC had two trains a day each way until the mid 30's.
1940 - The MSC indicated it was operating 158.4 miles of mainline from Natchez to Camp Shelby Mississippi. Further, they had extensive trackage rights over the Louisiana & Arkansas Railroad operating what was known as the "Natchez Route.
1943 - By 1943 the MSC was freight only.
1967 - April 20. 1967 - The MSC was acquired by and absorbed into the Illinois Central.
1972 - August 10, 1972 - The MSC was merged into the Illinois Central.
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Mississippi Central Map
Mississippi Central - 1931
Note the connection across the Mississippi River to the Louisiana and Arkansas Railway. This was the so called "Natchez Route".


Our Sources
Private Collection of Richard R. Parks(rp)
Wikipedia the free Encyclopedia [web](wik)
Official Guide- Various editions
http://www.yesteryeardepot.com/misscen.htm Yesteryear Depot Collection
Mississippi Centrasl Memories, by Bobby J Garraway of Bassfield MS. published in the Sandhouse, Mississippi Great Southern chapter NRHS, May 2010 , MSC designation & MSC history(bg)
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Copyright Richard Parks, December 23, 2010