It was the summer of 1921 when NO&NE locomotive #6977 was at the head of Train #42 when there was a tragic derailment caused by someone tampering with the track. The location was right at the top of Richburg Hill which ascends southward from the Hattiesburg depot all the way to the present overpass at the abandoned sawmill town of Richburg, five and one-half miles southwest of the station. Train #42 was slowed by the ascent of the hill from the South and under control for the sharp curve just beyond the summit as it proceeded North towards Hattiesburg from New Orleans. The slackened pace was not enough to avoid serious derailment which left engine #6977 on it's side and the passenger cars piled in jigsaw manner behind the locomotive.
Mr. Harold H. Hargin wrote a poem to immortalize the event and the tragic death of the Engineer, Mr. Jim Jackson on #6977.
On June 14th and Twenty-One
At the gentle speed it had always run
A train widely known as "42"
Always here when it was due.
Was purposely derailed on Richburg Hill
By unknown persons with evil will
As the engine turned over the coaches crashed
And out of the doors the passengers dashed.
Out of the woods and houses nearby