Rail cars coming to town — on the highway

MCCOMB — Two train cars will begin a slow trek tomorrow from Hammond, La., to McComb, where they will become parts of the train display near the downtown depot.

McComb Mayor Whitney Rawlings tells The Enterprise-Journal a convoy of trucks transporting the cars will leave Hammond and head slowly north on U.S. Highway 51.

Plans to restore the cars will be scaled back to fit a new budget after the city received only $300,000 of an expected $600,000 grant from the Mississippi Department of Transportation grant, Rawlings said.

The city bought an office car and a postal car — one of only three of its kind in the country — from the Southeast Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society in Hammond for $105,000.

Plans call for construction of a canopy to cover both cars. The cars will be sandblasted, painted and restored.

With the help of some retired railroad workers, the city already has moved equipment, laid new track and gotten the area ready for the two cars, Rawlings said. He said he expects the cars to be in McComb by nightfall on Tuesday.

The convoy will have to lift power lines and other obstacles along the way to allow the trucks carrying the cars to move freely.

Local phone, cable and electric companies have been notified and are ready to assist, Rawlings said.

The process of placing the cars on the track in McComb is expected to begin on Wednesday, he said.

The convoy will travel with an escort from the Tangipahoa Sheriff’s Office until it reaches the Pike County line.

From there, Pike County deputies will escort the cars to McComb.

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