Friday, May 10, 2019

Vicksburg's Railroad Bridges and Crossings (More Snow)

Vicksburg has been an important railroad town since before the Civil War. One of the reasons that General Grant considered this to be a crucial strategic objective in the Civil War was the railroad infrastructure. The railroad from the western Confederate states (Texas and Louisiana) came through Vicksburg on the way to Jackson, Meridian, and other eastern Confederate cities. Once Vicksburg surrendered, the Union Navy totally controlled the Mississippi River and the Confederacy was split. This meant food and other crucial supplies could not move east from the western states.

The train still comes through Vicksburg. Let us take a quick tour of the railroad bridges in town. I suspect many motorists just rush over and do not pay any attention to the tracks below.
Mississippi River from Vicksburg, view west towards Louisiana, 1996, Kodachrome slide, Nikon F3 camera
Before the construction of the old bridge, rail cars were ferried across the Mississippi River by barges. This must have been dangerous work considering currents and changing water levels. The Vicksburg Bridge & Terminal Co. built the first bridge first bridge across the river (on the right in the photograph above) during 1928-1930. It uses three cantilevered truss spans and three Parker truss spans (from National Park Service). It formerly carried US 80 (the Dixie Overland Highway) but has been closed to car traffic since 1998. The bridge on the left was built in 1972 to carry Interstate 20.
KCS tracks from North Frontage Road, view NW towards Washington Street, Jan. 16, 2018, Fomapan 100 film
After emerging from the bridge on the Vicksburg side of the river, the track makes a long turn to the north under the interstate off ramp. The photograph above is from North Frontage Road looking to the northwest. North Washington Street runs on the hill in the snow in the distance.
KCS tracks from North Washington Street, view SE, Jan 16, 2018, Fomapan 100 film
The tracks run underneath South Washington Street and head north to the Kansas City Southern rail yard. The view above is to the south. I waited for a train, but it was cold, and snow was falling on the camera.
KCS tracks view north from S. Washington Street, Fomapan 100 classic film
From Washington Street, look north and you can see the KCS rail yard in the distance. The track in the distance to the right makes a turn and runs under Washington Street again to the cut between Belmont and West Pine Streets.
Long-closed Fairground Street Keystone bridge from under KCS tracks, Hasselblad, 80mm Planar lens, Kodak Panatomic-X film
The Fairground Street Bridge has been closed to cars and pedestrians for decades. It crossed the KCS rail yard. This photograph is from under the rail line that follows Pearl Street and eventually turns under Washington Street.
Washington Street railroad tunnel, April 2015, Panatomic-X film, Fuji GW690II camera, 90mm lens
Railroad cut between Belmont and West Pine Streets
This valley between Belmont and West Pine Streets must have been cut by the railroad before the Civil War. It is a rather convoluted route but may have followed natural gullies that required minimal dirt removal. The photograph above is from the Monroe Street bridge.
KCS tracks from Mission 66, view west, Hasselblad, 250mm Sonnar lens
KCS tracks from Mission 66, view east with Baldwin Ferry bridge in distance, Fomapan 100 film, Hasselblad, 250mm Sonnar lens
KCS tracks from Baldwin Ferry Road bridge, view east towards Vicksburg Military Park, Hasselblad, 250mm Sonnar lens
As the Kansas City Southern rail moves inland, it passes under the bridges at Mission 66 and Baldwin Ferry Road. I expect most people drive over and barely pay any attention to the tracks below. In summer, the view is rather dull, but the snow made the scene interesting by outlining the topography.
KCS tracks from Old Highway 27, view towards 2-Mile Bridge, Vicksburg National Military Park
From here, the tracks head east towards Bovina, cross the Big Black River, and continue on to Edwards and Jackson. Back to the Vicksburg waterfront, the Vicksburg Southern Railroad runs along North Washington Street and on to Redwood and just north of the International Paper Company mill.
Vicksburg Southern Railroad tracks view south from Haining Road, Tri-X 400 film
Vicksburg Southern Railroad tracks passing through Vicksburg Forest Products lumber processing yard, Tri-X 400 film, Hasselblad, 250mm Sonnar lens 
Vicksburg Southern Railroad from Redwood, view south to International Paper Vicksburg Mill, Panatomic-X film, Rolleiflex 3.5E, 75mm f/3.5 Xenotar lens. 
This ends out short tour of railroad tracks and bridges. These were all film photographs. Thank you for reading.

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