Readers thank community for success of train depot event

Published 8:45 am Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Dear Editor (as written to Mike Cassidy, Mike Mevers, Craig Thomas, Charles Grosche, Millicent Canter, Dick Richardson, Johnny Green, the Civic League, Ingleside and the GM&O Historical Society):

WE GOT HER DONE! Thanks to Bogalusans working together. (Makes me think of Tennessee Volunteers.) A big thanks goes out to Mike Cassidy who not only allowed the old GM&O passenger depot to be used for the event, but also had it cleaned and spruced up inside and out. Mike Mevers, Craig Thomas, Hap Hayden and more from First Presbyterian Church. Ladies from Civic League and Ingleside Clubs provided food and drinks. Millicent Canter for displaying and showing Ole ‘72 photos, local musician, photographer and employee of the Bogalusa Heart Study. Everett Watson provided the screen needed to show the audio/visual program at the depot. Charles Groshe, former GM&O railroad engineer, who was facing serious surgery the following Monday, provided a vintage map of old railroad shop and depot area. City councilmen and women, Mayor Wendy O’Quin-Perrette, city employees and former Mayor Charles Mizell were all a big help making it all work. From Franklinton former GM&O customer Dick Richardson, who still would be a customer if it weren’t for the 1972 merger with the I.C. Railroad. Johnny Green, former customer and former owner of steam locomotive No. 72 that he donated and was placed on the fairgrounds. Our local press was big help getting the word out, including the Daily News, Mount Herman Web TV, The Era Leader and Charles Rimes. And of course the GM&O Historical Society for agreeing on having the meet in Bogalusa.

The society was formed in Illinois in 1972 shortly after the ill-fated merger with the Illinois Central. I became a member shortly thereafter and once served on the Board of Directors. I have traveled to meetings in Mobile, Ala.; Jackson, Miss.; Jackson, Tenn., Memphis, Tenn.; Meridian, Miss.; Tuscaloosa, Ala.; St. Louis; Springfield, Ill.; and more. I mentioned this because it shows Bogalusa can come together and compete and do well when it opens its arms to organizations all over the country. Club members traveled to Bogalusa from Texas, Alabama and Tennessee and all over Louisiana and Mississippi. From all reports, they all had a good time.

One member, who I must say was pessimistic about our meet, called me and was rejuvenated enough that he wants to put together a meeting this spring in Illinois. By the way, the national meet will be in Springfield, Ill., next October. I’m planning a train trip there, which will leave from Hammond, go to Chicago, change trains there, and ride high-speed rail (120 mph) to Springfield. That is the old GM&O trackage, formerly the Altor Railroad. The program, given free of charge by Louis Saillard from Baton Rouge, was a big success. Louis has been studying and photographing the local rail scene for over 50 years. Louis has written several books on railroads. He has taken photographs and acquired a wealth of railroad photography. He is sought after to do programs such as ours all over the country. I hoped for an overflow crowd, so I asked if Louis would do two identical programs. I was pleased that he volunteered to do three overflow programs, which everyone loved.

– Terry “Foots” Quinn