"Symphonies in Rust" may be the kindest way to describe the two locomotives on display at the railroad depot in Hattiesburg, MS. Despite an apparent attempt to drum up interest in restoration efforts in 2009-10, both Bonhomie & Hattiesburg Southern #300 and fireless Hercules Powder Co., #21 remain in an appalling condition. There are actually small trees growing inside the cab of #300!
The Bonhomie & Hattiesburg Southern Railroad was incorporated in 1923 by the Tatum Lumber Company to purchase Gulf, Mobile & Northern's Hattiesburg Branch. Tatum Lumber had been operating since 1893 and wanted the twenty-seven mile line to connect its Hattiesburg sawmill to the GM&N main line at Beaumont, MS. It would also gain access to a large stand of timber at Denco on GM&N's Blodgett Branch.
The new railroad started operations with five locomotives, three of which (including #300) were newly purchased from Baldwin. It turned a profit for several years but eventually slipped into financial difficulties. In 1953, the concern was sold to the Fernwood, Columbia & Gulf Railway.
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The Bonhomie & Hattiesburg Southern gained fame with rail fans by continuing to operate the line with steam locomotives #250 and #300 until 1961 when both were finally replaced by two used EMD SW1s. The line then merged into the Illinois Central Gulf in 1972, and is now part of ICG successor Canadian National's route from Jackson, MS, to Mobile, AL.
#300 is a 160,700 lb coal burning Mikado (2-8-2) type locomotive with 52" drivers and 19" x 26" cylinders. Operating at a boiler pressure of 200 psi, it delivered 30,700 lbs tractive effort.
This 0-4-0F (Fireless) locomotive #21 was built by the Heisler Locomotive Works of Erie, PA, in 1935.
It was one of two that worked for the Hercules Powder Co., an explosives
manufacturer, at its Hattiesburg plant from 1946 until 1958. It was donated to the City of Hattiesburg in 1968.
You can see Heisler fireless locomotives Pennsylvania Power & Light #4094-D and Bethlehem Steel #111 on the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania Train Shed page of this website, and PEPCO #43 on the B&O Museum Roundhouse page.