This generously illustrated narrative follows the evolution of dozens of separate railroads in the Meridian, Mississippi, area from the destruction of the town's rail facilities in the 1850s through the current era of large-scale consolidation. Presently, there are only seven mega-size rail systems in the United States, three of which serve Meridian, making it an important junction on one of the nation's four major transcontinental routes. The recent creation of a nationally prominent high-speed freight line between Meridian and Shreveport, the "Meridian Speedway," has allowed the Union Pacific, Kansas City Southern, and Norfolk Southern railroads to offer the shortest rail route across the continent for Asia-US-Europe transportation.
J. Parker Lamb, Professor Emeritus at the University of Texas, is author of six books, including Perfecting the American Steam Locomotive (IUP, 2003) and Evolution of the American Diesel Locomotive (IUP, 2007). David H. Bridges is a native of Philadelphia, Mississippi, situated 38 miles northwest of Meridian. His predominant railroad interests have focused on the line that served his hometown, the Gulf, Mobile & Northern, leading him to write extensively on its early development for the GM&O Historical Society magazine. David S. Price, a native of Long Beach, Mississippi, is a longtime resident of Hattiesburg. He collects photographs and historical data on sawmills and short lines as well as southern trunk lines and numerous images from prominent early southern photographers.
Foreword Introduction 1. Antebellum Beginnings 2. A New Start 3. A New Century 4. Entrepreneur Extraordinaire 5. Roller-Coaster Ride 6. A Tumultuous Decade 7. Coming of Age 8. Postwar Metamorphosis 9. More Changes 10. Another Renaissance Epilogue References Index