Robert Tomb cover photo updateThe "Cape Charles" was a rail car ferry converted to a suction dredge by the G&SIRR in late 1897. She is no longer on the equipment roster after 1918. The "Cape Charles" was origianlly built in 1885 for the Chesapeake Bay crossing of the New York, Philadelphie & Norfolk Railway. Rail cars were carried on the forward end of the boat with a two story cabins/dining superstructure aft of the walking beam engine. Sold to the East Louisiana Railroad in 1895 for the crossing between Spanish Fort and Mandeville, LA.
This weekend Christian Goepel and Robert Tomb posted some great images of IC's Ohio River ferry between Paducah, KY, and Brookport, IL. While digging around in my collection looking for more photos, I realized that the first ferry trip took place on December 3, 1888!
The ferry service was started by the Chicago St. Louis & Paducah Railway. The CStL&P was incorporated in 1887 to lay track from Centralia, IL, (later changed to Marion, IL) south to Brookport, IL, with a ferry connection across the Ohio River to Paducah. The CStL&P and the Chesapeake Ohio & Southwestern Railroad were co-owners of the Paducah Union Depot Company, which built a new three-story depot on Caldwell Street.
The CStL&P, along with several other railroads stretching from St. Louis east into Indiana, was owned by George W. Parker. In early 1888 these roads were leased to a new Parker-owned railroad, the St. Louis Alton & Terre Haute Railroad, which finished construction of the Marion-Brookport line.
On November 23, 1888, the StLA&TH took delivery at Paducah of the "George W. Parker", a side-wheel ferry. This boat was originally built in 1879 as a traditional packet steamer and was used widely on the Missouri, Ohio, and Mississippi rivers before being sold to the StLA&TH and being rebuilt as a railroad ferry.
The first ferry run took place on December 3, 1888. According to the Paducah News, the first train left the new Paducah Union Depot at 11am and was quickly ferried across the river. “In less than 40 minutes from the time [the train] left the depot it was hurrying through the Illinois woods towards St. Louis, which city it will reach at 8 o’ clock this evening”. Only nine hours to go from Podunk to St. Louis! (I know, I know, that was a big deal back in the day).
In 1897 the IC bought part of the StLA&TH (the NYC's "Big Four" got the rest) and in 1898 the IC leased the Paducah Union Depot Company for 99 years. The IC had previously bought the CO&SW (in 1893, but full control didn't come until 1896).
Shortly after IC took over the "George W. Parker" was retired. For the next few years the "DeKoven" and the "W.H. Osborn" shared duties. The "DeKoven" was later reassigned to IC ferry operations on the Mississippi River. In May, 1903, the "W. H. Osborn" was condemned and replaced by the "W.B. Duncan". The "Duncan" was the primary ferry on the Paducah-Brookport route until early 1918 when IC was ordered by the United States Railroad Administration to reroute its ferry traffic across the newly completed Metropolis bridge. Afterwards the "Duncan" also went south to other IC ferry operations on the Mississippi River.
The image of the Brookport, IL, "depo" (as it was labeled on the card) was scanned from an undated real photo postcard. Meanwhile, the image of the "DeKoven" was scanned from a heavily-weathered print. Both are from the collection of Cliff Downey.
|Robert Tomb commented on the above posting|
This is an RPPC of the "Duncan" at the Helena, AR incline.
|1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP|