Mississippian Railway

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Mississippian Railway
Alberta Prairie Railway Excursions 3409.jpg
Mississippian #77 on the Alberta Prairie Railway
Reporting mark MSRW
Locale Mississippi
Dates of operation 1926–present
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Length 25 miles
Headquarters Fulton, Mississippi
Mississippian Railway
25.0 Fulton
10.0 Smithville
0.0 Amory
BNSF Railway

The Mississippian Railway (reporting mark MSRW) is a short line railroad operating from Amory, Mississippi, to Fulton, Mississippi. It is operated by the Mississippian Railway Cooperative.

The MSRW interchages with the BNSF Railway at Amory, Mississippi. The MSRW's shops are also located in Amory.


The Mississippian Railway was established in 1923 primarily to haul lumber products from Fulton south to the interchange with the Frisco Railway in Amory.

In 1944 a bentonite plant was built in Smithville to take advantage of a large deposit discovered there which led to a surge in business for the line and its nickname The Bentonite Road. By 1968 the bentonite deposits near Smithville had been depleted and the plant closed, however several industries had moved to Fulton and continued to provide traffic for the railroad.

In the late 1970s, construction of the Tennessee–Tombigbee Waterway threatened to flood about nine miles of track. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decided it would be cheaper to abandon the line than pay to relocate it. Local business owners and public officials teamed up with the Appalachian Regional Commission to save the railroad. They successfully lobbied the Interstate Commerce Commission to withhold the sale of the line until the funds to purchase it could be found. In 1986, the Itawamba County Development Council purchased the Mississippian Railway and transferred it over to the Mississippian Railway Cooperative, an entity directly representing industries that relied on the railroad to transport their products. County leaders raised several million dollars to upgrade the severely degraded track to a condition where reliable service could be provided.

Today the Mississippian hauls between 100 and 120 cars a month operating three days a week.

Motive power[edit]

The railroad previously operated a pair of 1920 Baldwin 2-8-0s until 1967 when diesels replaced them. Currently the MSRW operates an EMD GP7[1] (no. 102).


The two famous Baldwin 2-8-0 Consolidation steam locomotives survive:

See also[edit]