Port Gardner to Angola

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Rails in a field.... Just north of the Port Hudson/Port Gardner area, it is hard to imagine that trains once ran over these rails on their way to cross the Mississippi River by barge. Photo by Brian Binkley.

The abandoned line is a segment of the road that was originally formed as the Louisiana Railway & Navigation Co. as a means of crossing the Mississippi River by a ferry operation at Angola, LA. The LR&N became the Louisiana & Arkansas (L&A) which was eventually absorbed by the KCS. The majority of the line between St. Francisville and Angola was apparently abandoned by the L&A in the 1950s. But KCS used the line to service industries north of Baton Rouge and continues to use the remaining portion out to Port Garnder. The current end of track is near the Georgia Pacific paper mill in Port Hudson, LA at a point identified as Port Gardner. For about 2 miles north of here the rails are still in place although mostly covered by dirt and grass. The line turns west to form a wide arch around the Port Hudson Battlefield. Where the arch starts there is a grade crossing (LRN Xing 1 & 2, LRN ROW, Rusted Rails). The line continues on mostly private land, although part of is skirts through the battle field and is rumored to still have rails in place and possibly a bridge as well. The LR&N crossed the Illinois Central's The Woodville Branch on a high wooden trestle. The trestle is gone but the approaches are still there. At this location there was an interchange with a small yard. There are still some rails in place at the location where the line crossed US61. Further north the LR&N crossed LA964 and eventually crossed Thompson Creek on a trestle, turned west to cross the IC near where the Woodville Branch's end of track is now. Near the trestle there was a branch (the South Shore Railway) to Jackson, LA that eventually continued to Mc Manus, LA where there was another interchange with the IC. The line continued north through St. Francisville paralleling the IC. The line skirted the river to Angola where there was a ferry operation. There was a big stink a while back when an area tourist railroad "confiscated" the rails that were still in place all along this line for use on the tourist line. The tourist line is located in Jackson and uses the remains of the South Shore branch to that location as well as the old depot there. Across the river from Angola, the line extended from Filston (aka Incline) to Torras Junction. Towns on the line from Port Gardner to the north were Paloma, Manheim, St. Francisville, Bingen, Plattenburg, Brandon, Tunica, Angola, Filston/Incline and into Torras Junction.

Thanks to Brian Binkley for contributing information about this route.

Are the tracks for sale?

Randy
New Orleans, LA
3/15/2011

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Is the "tourist railroad" you reference in Jackson the Old Hickory Railroad? If so, what was the "big stink" about the rails? I was told the track was donated to the Old Hickory. I would like to learn as much as possible about the South Shore RR and its relationship to Jackson. I am with the Greater Baton Rouge Model Railroaders who have their complex in Jackson. Thanks.

Andrew Martin
St. Francisville, LA
8/18/2011

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Can you hike the rail system. If you can hike it please let me know, i am a new resident and really like history about rail roads, since my grandfather was a rail road police man

Andrew Woodruff
Baton Rouge, LA
12/27/2013

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In St. Tammany Parish they converted an old railroad into a biking/hiking trail, something they called from Rails to Trails. It would be great if they could do the same with this old railroad bed.

Mike Davison
Port Hudson, LA
4/23/2016

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Shortened Link: http://a-r.us/9co
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