Bob Gray is a retired railroad engineer of the Columbus and Greenville Railway in Mississippi. Bob is an avid live steamer. He has attended meetings at the Annetta Valley & Western Railroad in Texas for over 40 years. AV&W's Gray Yard is named in honor of Bob Gray.
Bob owns an 0-6-0 switcher in 1.5 inch scale built by Paul Brien.
The 0-6-0 switcher, number 1079, sat on the steaming bay with its fresh new paint job awaiting Bob Gray of Columbus, Mississippi, to steam it up. At the Mid-South Live Steamers 16h Annual Spring Meet, May 6-8, 1983.
Bob & Louise Gray of Mississippi celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary at the Annetta Valley & Western Railroad Spring 2008 meet.
Bob's experience as an engineer on a full-scale railroad really shows out on the 7-1/2 inch gauge track. An example of his skill at the throttle was shown at the Spring 2013 meet of the AV&WRR. The track at AV&WRR has very little grade, with the exception of the newly added Stamey Loop, which climbs 3% coming out of the loop and into a curve.
He put together a 12-car train, with 3 riding adults, behind his beautiful 0-6-0. We didn't think he would make it out of Stamey Loop. He didn't on the first try, his drivers just started spinning. So he slowly backed up half way back up the hill, then took a running start. He came flying around the corner, and steadily climbed up the hill and out of the loop. It was a sight to see. Dick Melcher and Daris Nevil witnessed the event from the Shady Rest siding.
Bob played an uncredited part in the movie "O Brother, Where Art Thou?". He appears as the fireman in the locomotive at the opening of the movie.
Bob Gray on the old Columbus & Greenville Railroad, from which he retired about 1973 after surviving a train wreck. He served as a consultant on the movie, "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou", which was released in 2000. Here is Bob standing alongside the track where the train scene was filmed at the beginning of the movie. Bob had actually been in the cab of the steam locomotive while the scene was shot. He has a photo of himself taken with George Clooney. Photo by Terry Shirley.
- The train is featured in the opening sequence. It was shot on the Columbus & Greenville Railway near Leland, MS and consists of Dardanelle & Russellville Railroad Locomotive #4 from North Dardanelle, Arkansas (Baldwin 2-6-2 built in 1913, W.T. Carter & Brother #4, Reader RR #4). The stock car (CB&Q), tank car (Superior Oil) and outside braced box car (NP) came from the Texas State Railroad at Rusk Texas. The hopper car, steel box car and flat car are from the C&G Railway and the wood caboose is from the Reader Railroad at Reader, Arkansas. Everything, except the C&G equipment, was brought to the C&G at Greenville, MS by truck.
Then and Now
Terry Shirley posted the following on FacebooK:
- I had the chance to create a "then and now" set of photos of my Good Friend, Mr. Bob Gray, at the Southwestern Live Steamers train meet in Annetta, TX. this past weekend. I took the first shot in 1978, but I didn't know him personally then. Here he is on the same engine, in the same pose in 2015, almost on the same spot. Mr. Gray is 85 years old and made the trip up from Mississippi to attend this train meet.
Bob Gray at the Annetta Valley & Western Railroad, 1978