New Albany – Although the Gulf, Mobile, and Ohio — the GM&O — railroad went out of business in 1972, its name and fame live on in New Albany.
The official name of the organization that operates the Tanglefoot Trail, which runs from New Albany to Houston, is the GM&O Rails to Trails Recreation District. The organization was formed in 2006, for the purpose of developing the now popular Tanglefoot cycling and hiking trail that opened to the public in September 2013.
Three workers from the Three Rivers Planning and Development District, the administrative agency for the Tanglefoot Trail, were in New Albany a few days ago. They installed a new all-weather bulletin board and signs at the trailhead in downtown New Albany. They hauled the bulletin board and signs to New Albany in a trailer with GM&O identification.
The new bulletin board was the latest in many improvements to the Tanglefoot since it opened. Another recently installed nearby feature is the new bridge which carries the trail over New Albany’s Main Street.
The GM&O corporation was formed in Mississippi on November 10, 1938, for the purpose of acquiring and combining several other railroad operations, one of which was the Gulf and Ship Island Railroad that ran north and south through New Albany.
The Gulf and Ship Island Railroad was the successor to the Ripley Railroad Company formed by Colonel William Clark Falkner in 1871. GM&O as a railroad operating company was a relatively short-lived organization. Its assets were acquired by the Illinois Central Railroad exactly 43 years ago on August 10, 1972.
The Tanglefoot Trail is a ten-foot-wide paved and well-maintained recreational facility 44 miles in length.
It is expected that the renovation and repurposing of another old GM&O asset on the Tanglefoot Trail will be announced in the near future.