Leaving my daughter's after having a memorable Christmas and making points all around with my irresistible forte' as a charmaster, I was given reign by my wife to take my time returning home. We had ended up in southeast Louisiana in separate vehicles by design, something to consider as a tradition in the future.
I knew just what to do with this opportunity. I'd take an imaginary rail voyage from Arcola to Frisbie.
This map shows that route plus a little extra on each end which may be considered as "getting to the station" and "getting home from the station", all a part of any rail trip.
Please understand that the pictures will not be of the quality or scope normally garnered from using the motorcycle as a tool. I lowered my standards in this pursuit as I hope you can, also.
Looking at the map. The first thing that came to mind is a question someone had asked, "Why did the Southern Pacific build the "BR", Baton Rouge route between Lafayette and Anchorage (Sunshine, Port Allen, La.?". The route of I-10 closely follows that line. The savings in distance is considerable.
Done with that observation, let's proceed from Arcola on US 51, above Hammond and work south to Hammond quickly without too much fanfare since that route is covered intensely in other offerings.
Arcola Station, La.10 and US 51
Looking north at the Arcola passing track.
Moving south through Amite.
Past industry along the rails, all covered in previous writes.
The Independence, La. Station
The old Home/Grocery at Tickfaw
A "service station".
After crossing the Hammond to Baton Rouge rails I turned west on US 190.
I saw this place sign and thought, "Baptiste". I've been living in S. La. too long.
Snapping what I could and missing a lot what follows is just a collage of shots along the way.
When we get near Baton Rouge it will get interesting.
Of note, Canadian National is rebuilding the trestles, a sign that this branch is not dying.
I've been familiar with this area for a while.
One night I had to rescue a downed biker nicknamed "Crash".
Then I had to ride his damaged bike back to Holden.
I remember being in a constant turn.
The La. Highway Dept. has provided a shoulder for train watching.
A new trestle.
My daughter has already put her initials all over it.
This was the first cool moment of the trip.
I felt my mojo was returning.
Gotta get the number.
The placed is no small time deal.
More potential trestle rebuilding.
Into Livingston, the site of a huge rail disaster. A You Tube on the wreck can be seen HERE.
This is the area where it happened.
Hum? A long time friend from the area added this,
"The morning of, Livingston train derailment/explosion
I was in the bathroom, 4:30am, just cracked the
water valve to brush my teeth...the house started rocking!
I peeked out the door to see if the water heater had exploded.
Keith had a big old shepard dog -
jumped up, hit his head under the house and went to wailing". I believe a vet bill followed. His name was Holmes.
Steve's house was 4.5 air miles from ground zero. The media reported that the train crew was drinking and that an unauthorized female guest was driving the train too fast when it happened.
A personal picture. I had a blow out here.
They fixed it. Note the architecture. This place has been here a while.
Blowout / fireworks, ha ha.
More rail stuff west of Livingston.
I don't think it is rail oriented, only "rail served".
The road left the rails here.
I felt a loneliness.
Ignore the red line. I was on 190. It looks like there might be some history there.
I'll flip over to Google Earth and see.
A "Railroad Ave." is a hint.
The diverging road at right is interesting.
The light white line mimics somewhat the side track seen above.
I didn't take any pictures of Denham Springs.
The depot is still there though moved from its original location,
so says a native.
I was soon across the Amite River.
Why such a large bridge? The river expands.
Into E. Baton Rouge Parish
I'd take a right onto N.Sherwood and then left (west) on Choctaw. I was in the groove.
I would be for a while on the south side of the tracks.
Immediately the rail service was evident.
The old fashion array of warning lights reminded me of Church Point.
Moving on down the line a sidetrack was noticed.
Oh my goodness, a freight platform.
I had a noticeable heart rate elevation.
That was all here.
This is the spur on the left to the picture above.
What lay ahead garnered a grin.
I'm not really sure what kind of car that is.
Here's a place holder. I'd leave the wide opened area and enter a new environment.
This was a new area indeed.
It was time to cross the tracks and proceed on Choctaw, now on the north side of the tracks.
More rail that you could touch.
There were warehouses!!
I have a affinity for warehouses.
The darker and older the better.
Oh boy, a cross track.
What would occur was time and space lottery.
I looked to the left at the cross track. Then the red lights went off.
I could not believe my pure luck.
Coming from the right, he stopped.
It was an illusive (for my area) KCS engine.
More on it below.
He got out to open a gate and motioned me on.
I told him I didn't want to go.
But, I did.
I think KCS has more switchers in Baton Rouge than anywhere else. They serve the petrochemical plants as well as this industrial area. I remember where Dolese concrete was on Choctaw Drive .
If I read the unit number in your photos correctly as 4345, this is an SW1500, built in April 1971 as KCS 1525.
Almost all KCS power is in the Belle livery now, and the switchers do look good. The irony is that when that livery was in original use on the Southern Belle, etc., the official livery of KCS's lowly switchers was black.
At this point I want to show you where the rails he was on led.
Buckle your seat belts. We're going flying.
From Choctaw to Chippewa
Then a surprise.
It seemed that there was a yard above Chippewa.
Backing out a little.
We leave and head on north through the industry.
Until we get to "the bridge".
That is to follow. Let's bypass the bridge and go a bit farther.
Our tracks will follow US 71, the old Louisiana & Arkansas RR (KCS) route toward St.Francisville and Angola. The tracks crossing it are old Illinois Central tracks going to Slaughter where there was
a branch heading back west to St.Francisville. The history of it all is overwhelming.
Now we will look at what was south of Choctaw.
There was a gate he had stopped to open.
How about this shot?
In this picture the gate is opened to the south.
The practice of using gates on railroad crossings is archaic but works.
The gate leads to this.
Notice the names on the parking spurs.
While you're dragging around, go a bit to the west and look at Sorrel Avenue (which crosses the CN Baton Rouge-Hammond line that parallels Choctaw) going south into a light industrial/warehouse area interlaced with tracks. Note that the east-west streets in that area are named Neosho, Pittsburg, Joplin, De Queen, Mansfield, and Leesville. They're all points on the KCS system. This is because the area was a KCS development, just northwest of the company's Baton Rouge Yard.
Moving on as this is getting LONG.
I was headed to the terminating wye at the end of the line.
Ahead sat two familiar looking engines.
An attempt to catch the north wye arm failed.
But, it you need rubber stamps, there's a place for that.
Not so, I caught it.
Back to what lay ahead.
I was at the Canadian National Yard, previously Illinois Central.
A purple engine caught my eye.
That didn't work.
Nor this one.
This is as good as I could get it and it's a pic in a pic.
Well I'll be. Check this out.
These people are down here. We might as well know about them.
Now being hooked up made sense.
I'd leave the rails and make haste to the US 190 bridge.
GN Gonzales is a motorcycling historic landmark.
They were the original Honda distributors in the area.
If you got a Honda, it came through GNG.
Under the KCS underpass.
Up "Scenic" Hwy.
Heading to The Bridge.
Crossing the IC / CN rails previously mentioned.
I was wanting those guard arms to fall.
Looking north on the CN.
Under the bridge approach. As a kid this was always high drama.
I guess it still is.
I'm still milking it for what it is.
To the north. This was a large concrete plant. May still be.
To the south was a large bauxite plant owned by Alcoa Aluminum if I remember.
There is sandblasting ahead.
The bridge needs corrosion assistance immediately and is getting it.
Potty farm below.
I'd head west on US 190's oak line boulevard.
I had almost turned off at Lobdell. I would have met a train.
More industry along the tracks.
At Livonia I had to take a look.
I got behind a "crew boat, aka "limo" that transports crews.
After hearing the horn of a passing freight we both left.
Across the bridge.
I think this was the route of the old E.Krotz Springs to Lottie rail route.
Over the Atchafalaya into Krotz Springs.
I once again nailed the old rail bridge.
Headed west to Port Barre.
Near the tracks in Port Barre, this building still is yelling, "I'm RR".
One was lurking in the PB yard.
I "U'd" and returned. That's the Bayou Teche Trestle.
But how about Frisbie?
Frisbie was the last flag stop before Port Barre on the Southern Pacfic
branch that had originated in Cade, La.
It is my missing link as I've always been hesitant about venturing out there.
In the truck I wasn't.
Here is what being at Frisbie is like today.
Standing in that cold windblown field, my imagination raced.
Looking north to Port Barre and the infamous cross tracks
of the New Iberia and Northern and SP where the
SP had gotten caught destroying NE&N tracks.
The zoom takes us very close to that point. La.741 is just to the right.
Looking south to Leonville and the Teche crossing.
From Frisbie, the home of that famous throw thing.
That's it. Happy New Year. PS: A little more info is below this picture.
I couldn't identify a car in Baton Rouge.
OO-L added this: