||This little Whicomb model MO, serial No. 12185, was at the Levert-St. John Plantation sugar mill near St. Martinville, Louisiana. It was built as an outside-frame 3-foot gauge locomotive; and was converted to standard gauge by extending the axles outside of the frame, but only on one side! The locomotive was built in May1926, and was one of several dozen 3-foot gauge Whitcombs which were available for lease; usually to contractors for construction projects. After being leased out in 1926, 1928 and 1929, it returned to the Whitcomb factory at Rochelle, Illinois in January 1930 where it was rebuilt and its weight increased from 12 to 14 tons. It was leased out again in March 1930, and then went to Marquette Cement at LaSalle, Illinois in October 1936, presumably as a sale.No. 12185 moved to Louisiana in June 1940 when it was purchased by Alma Plantation at Lakeland for its 28-mile narrow gauge sugar cane railroad. Lakeland is in Pointe Coupee Parish, near the southern end of False River. Alma abandoned its railroad operation in 1949, and the locomotive migrated south to Levert-St. John Plantation near St. Martinville. Levert discontinued its 18-mile narrow gauge railroad in 1959, and the locomotive was converted to standard gauge to move cars for the two railroads which served the sugar mill. The mill was served by the Missouri Pacific branch from Port Barre to New Iberia and the Southern Pacific line from Breaux Bridge to St. Martinville; however, the MP line was abandoned in 1982 and the SP in 1985, leaving the little loco with nothing to do!
||4/11/1990 Upload Date: 3/5/2010 4:03:45 PM
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