Mystery Photos Number
Thanks to David Price for steering us in the right direction. This photo
was only a small portion of the entire image, which can be seen below.
This new photo shows the sawmill of G. H. A. Thomas & Co. of Springfield,
LA and the gauge is of 62 inch or 5'2". Why did Thomas have such a weird
gauge and where did he picked up that locomotive. It all started when the
New Orleans & Lake RR ordered a group of steam dummies from Porter
for their 5'2-1/2" gauge transit road in New Orleans in 1882. The weird
gauge was to insure that freight cars from the connecting 5 foot gauge
roads could not be toted down the streets of New Orleans. This includes
Porter c/ns 825-830, and when the transit company was electrified around
the turn of the century (anyone out there has any history on the transit
roads of New Orleans?) this group of Porters were available for purchase.
G. H. A. Thomas who was based in New Orleans purchased at least one of
this group ; Porter c/n 830, which shows up in Porter's records as being
completely rebuilt by Thomas. In fact enough parts were ordered to show
that this engine must have been wrecked in a terrible way. There was originally
a 325 gallon saddle tank engine, note the unusually high domes which would
have cleared such a tank. Also this engine was originally a 2-4-2t with
coal bunker, losing the bunker and rear wheels in the wreck and gaining
an extra wheel up front.
Photo Courtesy of David Price. Note their only new engine in the far left
background, Lima shay c/n 2169 built in May of 1909 and numbered 7. Putting
the age of this photo after 1909. A 1907 lumber mill guide shows Thomas
with two locomotives, which would show its quite possible there was at
least a second ex-New Orleans & Lake RR. Porter on the roster and seeing
how the shay was numbered 7, all six of the Porters ended up here numbered
1-6. Porter records show parts were being ordered as late as 1911 for at
least one, c/n 825, but only locomotive, 830 was indentified as to its
owner, G.H.A. Thomas, but with no date as when the parts were ordered.
Very possible that the photo shows Porter c/n 825 instead but more than
likely a little of each locomotive in that group, 825-830, has been incorporated
into this one poor locomotive.