1.  New Orleans & Carrollton RR Co.   4'8½"   1835 — Steam RR, Suburban

C. F. Zimpel in charge, engineering the NO&C steam RR installation.  The steam RR operation was distinct and separate from the streetcar operation, except for shared trackage (see map, page c3).

Steam RR service began on 25 September 1835 (B 9/25/1835, G pp. 14 ff., S pp. 6 ff.) with Benj. Hicks & Co. 2-2-0 English built locomotives and J. Green (“Green Bros.”) PM early design DT AR DD coaches, plus economically designed PM AR open side 3 CPT DD cars.  These had two back-to-back longitudinal roof benches (“knifeboard”) and two facing benches, side-to-side, in each CPT.  The NO&C built these “economical” cars in their Carrollton Station, initially building approx. 30.  See drawings of these cars in this section, pp. e2 and e3).

The big Carrollton Station burned 8 October 1868, destroying half the fleet of “economical” cars.  By 1840 the new shop at the same location was building new cars (DP 10/21/1840).

During the lease of the NO&C to Thomas Harper and George Merrick (1/1/1837 to 7/1/1838), the Green Bros. coaches were put up for sale (CB 1/3/1838 and G, p. 24) to the New Orleans & Nashville RR and the Red River RR (Alexandria to Cheneyville, LA).  The latter RR was the first built west of the Mississippi River.  The lighter open side 3 CPT cars became the NO&C standard, easing problems the RR was having with wet, soaked, soft soil.

When the NO&C's subsidiary, the Jefferson & Lake Pontchartrain Ry. Co., began service April 14, 1853, the RR was equipped with new coaches and motive power.  Poss. ten coaches, DT and probably AR, were BLT OS, and four BLT in St. Louis by S. B. Rowe.  Unfortunately, no images are known.  Surely Daguerrotype, water color, stencil, even file — from the 1860s — exist someplace.  Many photos of N. O. were shot during the Union occupation, which began in 1862!

The J&LP was abandoned in 1864, steam locomotives retired in 1867.  By June 1, 1867 (G p. 46) an undisclosed number of coaches had been sold, buyers not identified.  (4'8½" gauge Pontchartrain RR, even battered Mexican Gulf RR, were reasonable prospective buyers.)  NO&C records, according to G, on the 6/1/1867 sale, announced 8 locos “just sold” with four 42' coaches.  Still remaining were 10 - 40' coaches, 3 - 30' coaches, 15 - 30' flats, 8 - 12' “woodens”, 1 - 12' baggage (the 12' cars poss. the “economical” cars), 4 - RR hand cars, 4 - 30' box cars.

It was unfortunate that the economic hardships of the Civil War doomed the J&LP, which offered a ten mile journey from the Tivoli Circle Station, via Carrollton, to Bucktown (descriptions and an excellent map DP 4/10/1853, 4/12/1853, and 4/14/1853).  Bucktown was a busy lake port, with lake steamships putting in regularly, such as the Rosa, Sazerac, Leonora, Afton, and Florida, hauling cargo and passengers to and from “the Ozone Belt,” the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain.  The Belt offered a milder climate than New Orleans and attracted thousands who wished to escape the city's humidity, the heat, and the dreaded malaria and yellow fever epidemics.  The New Orleanians who stayed in the city all summer disdainfully referred to the users of the Ozone Belt as “migrants.”

Attractions that drew crowds who used suburban railroads and streetcars, beyond the necessities of employment, school, visiting, and shopping, are worth considering.  During the 1830s and 1840s, New Orleans became a center for drama, music, and opera.  Many patrons of such art thrilled at performances by Jenny Lind and Anna Cora Mowatt.  Trains, streetcars, and omnibuses had special late night schedules to serve those crowds.

One of the most popular kinds of events were horse races.  There were at least three tracks, or courses as they were called in New Orleans.  One very special one was the New Orleans Jockey Club's Eclipse Course on the NO&C's Broadway Branch (see map, page c3), on the “lower line” of Carrollton's city limit.  The Pontchartrain and the New Orleans & Nashville Railroads (which see) each served a busy course.  The Commercial Bulletin of March 18, 1837 reported “two full trains and a steamboat to the races ... The rush for the cars was astonishing ... Trains crowded full inside and out ... 5,000 attended [Eclipse course on NO&C].”

Another great draw was the occasional ascension balloon.  Trains in sections ran over the main line (Naiades) and Broadway Branch to deposit riders close to an open area near the Eclipse course, to see the magic of aerial flight.  People who had bought tickets and devoted an afternoon to see the ascension wanted to see results.  They brooked no disappointment.  (C 11/15/1841): “The balloon at Carrollton, we are told, did not go up yesterday, and there was much disappointment and wrangling, with some blows.”  Five years saw no improvement.  (B 5/4/1846): “[Signore] Muzzio Muzzi's balloon was torn and wouldn't fill.”  But six years later, balloon technology inspired praise.  (DP 12/26/1852): “A balloon of immense size ... Mr. Petin, the pilot of the ship...soared for many miles up and down” above the city and river.  “This ship's flights over a several day period” delighted thousands who took special NO&C trains at low operating cost.  These events were manna from heaven for any railroad.

Accidents were few during the NO&C thermo-specific locomotive era, but here is a quite spectacular one (DP 6/13/1874).  Dummy 5 attached to water car 1, while in motion, became uncoupled and ran full speed, overtaking dummy 3 pulling BT streetcar 61.  Two injuries, and “dummy 5 and car 61 smashed into pieces.”

For over 200 years, wars, religious contentions, economic distress, natural disasters, and other upheavals have brought diverse peoples to New Orleans.  The city has become a complex cosmopolitan center.  French nationals founded the city in 1718, followed about 40 years later by French colonials relocated to Louisiana by the British (who defeated France in what many consider the first truly global war — called in the American colonies “the French and Indian War”).  Spanish people came later, in smaller numbers.  After the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, Americans began moving to the city, usually settling above Canal Street.  Their part of the city became known as the “Garden district”, with homes set back from the sidewalk with grass and flowers in the area between homes and sidewalk.  The earlier homes in N. O., especially in the Vieux Carré, had inner courts and gardens, surrounded by walls and parts of the houses, with house fronts touching the sidewalk.  Germans arrived after the upsets of the Napoleonic Wars.  The British occupation of Ireland and the subsequent “Potato Famine” compelled thousands of Irish to arrive.  Slavery brought thousands of Africans.  Before the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, many slaves were freed and stayed in the city.  Some had been adopted by childless white families, some inheriting money and property, many starting businesses, even making fortunes.  Dictatorships and harsh economic conditions caused people from Central and South America to seek homes in N. O.  Hatians and Cubans were early emigrees.  Castro's 1959 revolution saw thousands of Cubans come, and Haiti's political and economic problems caused many to seek asylum in the Crescent City.  The unsuccessful 1956 Hungarian revolution against the Soviets, and the collapse of the U. S.-made S. Vietnamese government in 1975, saw hundreds of Hungarians and Vietnamese come to New Orleans.  Terrible economic hardships of the late 19th century drove thousands of Italians and Sicilians to the U. S., many settling in New Orleans.

There is a large element of New Orleans' population that enjoys and supports the highly civilized, diverse, well educated community.  This explains in part why the revival of the streetcar is successful in the city.  San Francisco ties together its fascinating sights with their cable cars, as does New Orleans with its streetcars.  What's even more commendable is that citizens of both cities use their well maintained historic rail equipment regularly.  People who insist that the operations are purely “for the tourists” don't know what they are talking about!

New Orleans & Carrollton RR Co.
All-Time Locomotive Roster
NameBuilder &
“New Orleans”Benj. Hicks & Co.
Soro Works
18354'8½"2-2-036" Leading
48½" Driving
9x16Ordered 12/3/1833, recd. May 1835.Note 1.
“Carrollton” *""""""Ordered 12/3/1833, recd. Autumn 1835Notes 1,1A.
“Enterprise”Wm. Norris, Phila.(14)1836"4-2-030" Pony
48" Driving
10½x18Class B,WT. 20,165 lbs.,30 HP Notes 2,2A, 2B.
“Lafayette”"(16)"""9x18Class C,WT. 15,705 lbs.,28 HPNotes 2,2B, 2C.
“Washington”"(17)""" "
“New Orleans” (2nd)Benj. Hicks & Co."" Note 3.
“Pelican”NO&C RRc. 1850-51" Notes 4,6.
“Orleans” *  Norris & Sons, Phila.  "" "
“Alabama” *"" "
“Florida” *"" "
“Lake” *1853"Reported “new” (DP 4/14/1853)Notes 5,6.
“Union” * Notes 4,6.
“May” *4'8½" "
“Jefferson” *" "
* Listed in 6/1/1867 NO&C RR roster — 8 locos in all (G 1992 3rd edition, p. 46).
1.  Sold 1837, probably to Red River RR Co., Alexandria, LA.  Sale notice (CB 1/3/1838) describes “two English locomotives and tenders”.
1A.  (C 10/10/1835) Barque “Margaret Johnson,” Capt. Jackson, 60 days from Liverpool, to BB&Co. “Locomotive engine to E. J. Forstall & Co.” (the “Carrollton”?).
2.  “For sale — two six wheel locomotives, one in good working order” (DP 6/22/1855).  Two of four owned; exact ones unknown.
2A.  18" piston stroke.
2B.  Norris records claim these were built to 5'6" gauge, but this seems to be highly implausible.  No explanation is known.
2C.  Some records say built in 1837.
3.  Destroyed by fire Oct. 7, 1838; in use only three months.
4.  Supposedly four locos ordered 1850-51.  Here that group has four possible from seven sold, exact ones unknown.  The “Alabama” and “Florida” could have been built at NO&C shops, as was the “Pelican”.  Norris could have supplied much of the running gear and other assistance to assemble the locos in New Orleans, with boilers made in N. O.
5.  (NOT 12/6/1865 p. 10) “Blew up with the 6:00 AM train from New Orleans.”  Accident occured “at the turntable” in Carrollton.  Pressure at 100 lbs.  Two men scalded, no deaths.  “Explosion in middle sheets beneath the locomotive”...“Iron at break 1/16th of an inch (!) thick”...“Locomotive ‘overheated’ in shop last year”...“boiler from local service”.  Possible “Lake” BLT at Carrollton, as well as “Union”, “May” and “Jefferson”.
6.  Some of these locos could have been diverted by the BLDR from one or more RRs cutting back orders.  Another possibility is that some of these might have been second-hand locos.

Copyright © 2008, 2010, 2014, 2015, 2016 Louis C. Hennick.  All rights reserved.


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