WIP: Monroe Neely & Gulf Lines


A Mainer in the Midwest
Monroe Neely & Gulf Lines

From the loser who is still working on the Carrabassett Valley Railroad
I am proud (i guess) to present in it's earliest stages
The Monroe Neely & Gulf Lines!


The Monroe Neely & Gulf's heritage dates back to the 1930's when the current route was dominated by the Cahokia Northern Railroad (CNRR), and the Monroe, Mobile Railroad (MOMR). The bigger of the two, The Cahokia ran from St. Louis, Missouri down to Mobile, Alabama. With a branch extending to New Orleans dubbing it the "River Queen Line", as the railroad followed major US Rivers for almost its entire route. The region giant hauled a numerous amount of cargoes. Primarily Steel, Coal, Grain, Tobacco, Cotton and Oil could be seen being transported via the Cahokia Northern. These products were delivered to hundreds of industries along the route, giving life to the surrounding regions. The railroad used a few different types of locomotives. The 2-8-4 Berkshire, 4-4-2 Atlantic, and the 4-8-4 Northern made up the roster. The CNRR offered a passenger service line that ran from St. Louis to Mobile Alabama. Being called the River Queen Line it wasn't heard to imagine a name for Passenger service. The Service was headed by 4-8-4's, nicknamed "Steamboat" and were built by Cahokia Northern at their shops in Monroe Mississippi. These trains were used for common folk, but gave them a high class, luxury treatment for their journey.

The Monroe, Mobile Railroad was the smaller railroad primary confined to the limits of the existing route today. The operation struggled to compete against the giant that casted it's shadow down upon it. More often than not the Monroe was the industrial switcher that delivered the products to industries after being brought in via the Cahokia Northern. The line only operated 2-6-0 Mogul's in its early history. The Monroe, Mobile did not have passenger service and had a very small main line presence along the current MN&G route. They did however own most the yards that the Cahokia was paying them to use and also charged the Cahokia to bring its cars to the industries located down Industrial branches it owned. This is where the Monroe would come out on top of the Cahokia Northern. The Cahokia had the size but the Monroe had more trackage rights. Allowing them to make more of a financial gain than the Cahokia. A very small gain but just enough to boast about it every year.

Both Railroads respectively did very well all the way up through the 40's, 50's, and 60's. The steam engines faded off into history and were later replaced with EMD F7's, Alco RS-2’s, GE U25B's and various others over time. The last steam engine ran in 1961 as part of the River Queen Line from Mobile to St. Louis. By as early as 1970 the two railroads found themselves in a decaying state. The 70's delivered a series of unfortunate events to both railroads, thus ending the golden years.

- In 1971, the Cahokia Northern closed its yard in St. Louis due to the large number of other railroads in the area, and years of mishandling of freight by St. Louis employees. This caused contracts to be cancelled tarnishing the Companies reputation in St. Louis.
- In March of 1972, Cahokia Northern and Monroe Mobile began sharing corporate offices in Monroe Mississippi, thus beginning a closer partnership with the two railroads.
- November of 1972, a Monroe Seafood train from Mobile derailed in St. Croix, Mississippi. The derailment was caused by poor track conditions. The section of track ran through a swamp on a raised dirt bank. The bank received little to no attention by maintenance and eventually sank into the swamp. Almost 85% of the cargo aboard was damaged or lost completely.
- In Spring 1974, several Fishing companies based along the gulf shores finished their lawsuit with the Monroe, Mobile Railroad from the crash two years prior. The payout amount to each company is still disclosed to this day.
- Winter of 1974, several of the Monroe's largest customers in the Greater Mobile area look elsewhere to ship their products. The Monroe begins laying off employees.
- May 1975, the Monroe, Mobile Railroad sells most of its major trackage rights to the Cahokia Northern this including Monroe and Neely Yard's.
- August 1975, the Cahokia Northern begins to asses the condition of it's newly acquired tracks.
- September 1975 the Monroe Mobile declares bankruptcy.
- November 1975, The Cahokia Northern begins to financially assist the Monroe Mobile, also announces the final year of the River Queen Line's operation.
- March 1976, a fuel tank at Monroe yard leaks 60% of its diesel fuel into the Cahokia River. The Cahokia Northern payed for the clean up effort and was forced by the State of Mississippi to move its tanks away from the banks of the Cahokia River.
- June 1976, a Cahokia Northern Switcher in Goshen Mississippi catches fire. The section of track it was on brought it down a residential street. Two nearby homes that sat close to the tracks also went up in flames. Fire crews were unable to reach the blaze quickly due to the train blocking the road. The families later filed lawsuits against the Cahokia. In the same month a northbound Grain Train from Monroe Yard plowed into a waiting coal train after the crew of the grain train fell asleep and blew a red signal.
- September 1976, the Last River Queen passenger train arrived in Mobile Alabama ending the only passenger service in the area at the time.
- February 1977, the Cahokia Northern acquires the Monroe, Mobile Railroad. Lays off all employees of the Monroe, Mobile
- December 1977, the Cahokia Northern unannounced begins to abandoned lower priority industrial spurs, leaving some industries unserviced.
- May 1978, The Cahokia Northern closes it's facilities in Neely Yard.
- July 1979, the Cahokia Northern declares bankruptcy.
- December 1979 the Cahokia Northern runs its last train from Monroe Yard to Mobile Alabama.

The line fell silent for a few years after the last train ran into Mobile. The lack of trains being able to move local goods took its toll on industries based along the railroad tracks. Many industries struggled to find alternatives over the following months. The Seminary Lake Gravel Pit was the hardest hit by the lack of rail presence. The Gravel pit was located along the edge of Seminary Lake just Northwest of Neely. The pit had to be accessed via transfer barge due to the unforgiving swamps, cliffs and lake separating the lake from direct access to Neely Mississippi. September of 1981 the region was screaming for operations to resume on the railroads. A group of former Cahokia Northern executives approached Banks, and investors to help bring life to the region. Being former Cahokia employees investors were hesitant to jump on board with the idea. But eventually enough interest was drummed up and thus the Monroe Neely & Gulf Lines were born. The first train ran on October 6th, 1981 delivering a mixed consist of freight to the port in Mobile Alabama.

The engines at the time were previously abandoned Cahokia trains that had been sitting in the yard for some time awaiting their fate. A handful of former Cahokia Alco RS-2’s, and GEU25B’s made up the roster. But newer engines were brought on shortly after inaugural operations. By early 1982 the MN&G placed orders for the EMD GP38-2 and EMD SD40-2. Second hand EMD GP30’s were picked up formerly operating with Union Pacific, and Southern Railways. The operation also began sifting through railcars that have been sitting in yards, sidings, and branches for a few years. The ones that could be patched were dragged to Monroe so they could return to service. The ones that were too far gone were brought to the scrap yards and sold off for a decent profit. The movement of freight was heavily relied of the of transferring of cars via CSX in Mobile Alabama, and Burlington Northern just outside Patton Mississippi.

Last edited:
The early years brought major prosperity to the new operation. CSX began to move trains along the MN&G’s tracks. In the agreement CSX could use the tracks if they assisted in repairing and restoring the tracks to a better state. And thus began the long project that would span five years. Starting in 1986 on the North end of the tracks. Crews would also begin the process of repairing the lines numerous bridges. And determining the status of them. The General George S. Patton Bridge that spanned the Cahokia River into the Northern most end of the MN&G was in rough shape. The Bridge was a twin, 420 foot Steel Truss bridge. Both spans were in pretty rough shape. Cost effectiveness showed that eliminating a span would allow for cost savings and save time in repairing one of the current spans. July 4th, 1987 the Southern Most span of the Bridge met its fate. A fire work display would be launched from the span, and during the finale the bridge would be blown up. It was a very patriotic display to the name sake of the bridge.

1991 track repairs were completed. The new tracks increased the speeds of trains from at most 35 mph to 55mph in most places. The increase in speeds also drew interest from Amtrak to launch passenger service from Patton Mississippi, to Mobile Alabama. The service was headed by EMD F40PH’s. Amtrak also constructed a yard in Patton Mississippi and in Mobile for the trains and cars it would base there. The new service would use the old name from the Cahokia Northern, the River Queen Line. The roster also continued to increase. 1994 the loans from the banks and investors were paid back and the line was officially operating under its own financial gain. 1995 the line picked up EMD SD50’s, SD60’s and the GE C44-9W. Also some more proper yard units and switchers were picked up. The EMD SW10 and SW1500. The following years have been quiet. Industries over time have continued to close as time moves on. The current operation transfer freight with Kansas City Southern, BNSF, and CSX, though some CSX trains do move up the route. Primary freight along the MN&G today is made up of Oil, Automotive, Ore’s, Grain, Steel / Scrap, Waste, and Produce. Today the MN&G features a two scheme railroad, in homage to the two former railroads that gave way to the MN&G today.


- EMD GP30
- EMD GP38-2
- EMD GP40-2
- EMD SD50
- EMD SD60
- EMD SW10
- EMD SW1500
- GE Dash 9-44CW

A brief recap. The MN&G is a semi fictional line based in Mississippi and Alabama. The line stretches from the fictional town of Patton Mississippi to the RW city of Mobile Alabama. A key feature to parts of the route is the fictional Cahokia River. Major inspiration of the line comes from my new home, the St. Louis metro area. I find the large amount of crisscrossing rail networks insane and quite fun to watch. Everywhere you turn is old tracks turned rail trail or still active main line tracks for a numerous number of operators. Growing up in Maine, which inspired my other project the Carrabassett Valley Railroad, gave me the idea to work on an area I'm not terribly familiar with. I choose the Deep South of the United States because i've never been and its a state you don't hear too often of when it comes to major rail networks. It seemed prime for the project. Currently the project is in its earliest stages and I'm working on a very underpowered machine. I will be upgrading sometime in the future but its taking some time as I'm working toward other things in my life as well. I hope you all enjoy the progress of this project and if you have any suggestions or comments about the project please let me know! Thank you all for your interest and sorry for that back story. I think I rushed it or did it when I was burnt out after work so it didnt come out as planned. My bad guys!
Last edited:
Current over view of key town locations on the route

Formerly Monroe yard, now Cahokia Yard with Downtown Monroe sitting just behind it

The Monroe City Skyline on the Blaine County side of the Cahokia

Tiny industrial town of Hallock with a Cement facility along the Parsonsfield Branch

Main St and Elm crossing in Kegly just across from the former passenger station

Goshen Mississippi. Featuring a small street running industrial area through some low income residential.

The Northern terminus of the MN&G, Patton Mississippi. Seat of Blaine County

Union Street looking East, across from the Blaine County DMV. Great place to watch trains come down the viaduct.

Patton Union Station, north terminus of Amtrak's River Queen Line. Amtrak's Patton Yard just across the street of the station. The General George S. Patton Bridge can be seen in the background on the right

A slight overview of the amtrak yard in Patton.

Here we have the beginnings to the lake side community of Halladay. Halladay is loosely inspired by a lake side community near me in Illinois, Holiday Shores, with also some feels for a lakeside town back home in Maine. Currently I'm starting here from the community center and working my way around the lake. The lake can be seen on the map just Northwest of Riverton. The lake it sits on the shores of is partly man made. The original lake was about 2/5's its current size. Halladay will feature a main road the loops around the lake perimeter. As shown below the town's center is quant. It has some small housing adjacent to the main road. A Blaine County CO-OP sits just beside the tracks. Theres a small post office and Volunteer Fire Station. A MFA gas station sits on the end of Old Halladay Rd, the towns former "Main Street". A few mom and pop shops still inhabit this street today. The MN&G main never used to cross the lake, but when the project to expand it was announced accommodations were made to keep the tracks right where they are. The town sits between mile posts 5 and 6 and are in a 55mph zone. This portion of track is very busy with BNSF, CSX, and KCS interchanging onto the line bound for Cahokia Yard in Monroe. A score of smaller freight trains heading to and from the Monroe Industrial Spur can be spotted zooming by briefly in between the larger freight trains. This along with most of the map is still far from done, but this is the first area I'm taking time to really plan out as well as lay some texture down to get a feel for what I want to do.

​ Halladay Town Center

Standing on Old Halladay Rd looking toward the crossing on Lake Shore Drive

Halladay Blaine County CO-OP

A small unscheduled freight passes by from Cahokia Yard bound for Patton Industrial a few miles away.

The Industrial trains often carry Gondolas with Steel Coils for Patton Steel Works, and boxcars for various goods along the spur
Well I got sick of Cahokia Yard in Monroe. It was just too tiny for a larger yard. I've also been looking into transfer yards and Im doing it wrong XD. So I'm in the middle of creating a much larger yard to accommodate all the traffic. Not the final product but thought id share some during construction updates. This will be the last time I touch the MN&G until wednesday. Ill be transferring this route as well as the Carrabassett Valley Railroad over to my new desktop once it arrives. Hopefully all content makes it over smoothly!