Historical records tell us it operated between 1909 and 1918. According to historian Dr. Karl Koenig, "this railroad, built in the early 1900's, ran from Covington to Mandeville, passing through Abita Springs. It was called the "Doodlebug". The first such train was gas with a later one being run by electricity. The depot was on the site of the present Covington City Hall. It ran several trips a day to meet the boats that landed in Mandeville. It was very popular with young people and presented a very pleasant outing because big excursions came from New Orleans to Mandeville on weekends." Click on the images to make them appear larger.
When it reached Mandeville, the train track ran right onto a pier off the lakefront so passengers getting off a Lake Pontchartrain steamer could jump right on board the train without even going to land first.
Heading southward, the tracks for a while paralleled Soell Drive and Helenbirg Road, then headed straight for Chinchuba, where the La. 22 and Hwy. 190 intersection is today. From there the tracks came into Mandeville, zig zagging through the street grid, and finally crossing Lakeshore Drive and going out onto the pier where the lake steamers docked.
It appears to have crossed Lakeshore in the area between Coffee and Carroll Streets. Click on the images below for a larger view.
JOSEPH BIRG DIES IN. NEW ORLEANS.
(From N. 0. Daily States)
Joseph Birg, 69 years of age, leading sugar and rice planter, director of a number of banks and builder of the electric railroad from Mandeville to Covington, died at 9 a. m., Monday. November 25, 1918, at his residence, 826 St. Charles avenue, New Orleans, after a few day's illness.Mr. Birg was a native of Franklin, St. Mary parish, where he lived practically all of his life. He was one of the organizers of the First National Bank at Franklin, which was St. Mary's first bank and later it was merged with the Commercial Bank & Trust Company and Mr. Birg was president from 1906 until the time of his death.
He was the owner of Katie Sugar Plantation, a partner in the operation of the Camperdown refinery and a director of the Louisiana State Rice Milling Company, Inc. He served on the police jury of St. Mary parish for many years.
Mr. Birg's private philanthropies were numerous. He was modest, of a retiring disposition and enjoyed a
large acquaintance in New Orleans and throughout the state.
He was a son of Felix Birg and Mary Ann Birg. The death of his sister, Helen, five years ago, affected him deeply and later he named the township between Covington and Mandeville "Helenbirg."
He is survived by three nieces, Grace Richard Landry. Katheryn Richard, wife of Harry L. Lazarus, Jr., and Florida Richard, and one nephew, Birg Richard.