Originally the "Shreveport Holding & Reconsignment Depot", Slack Industrial Park had its beginnings in 1948 as a military supply depot for nearby Barksdale Air Force Base. It was served by both the KCS and the Texas & Pacific railroads; the tracks from both lines still exist and are in use (the ex-T&P line is now owned by Union Pacific). While today it is known as "Slack Industrial Park" (named for a deceased airman), it has gone through a number of names as its usefulness slowly diminished to what it is today: a mostly desolate area marked with unused military-style warehouses and abandoned railroad tracks.
Stretching one mile long, the site lies just to the northwest of the incorporated town of Forbing, Louisiana. Despite the emptiness and otherwise derelict conditions of most of the site, life and rail service does still exist in limited quantities, as Beaird Industries (a metal fabrication company) and Ash Grove Cement continue to rely on railroads; a few other companies are scattered throughout the park, but with no need for railroad service.
The entire area was once served by a double-ended double-tracked railroad siding that ran the length of the park. Both tracks ran on the east side of the park along a line of warehouses, with crossovers between the tracks spaced at varying distances, typically around 1,000 feet apart. Other tracks split off the west track, themselves double-ended; thus the entire park looked like a ladder when viewed from the sky, the spaces between the rungs of which varied greatly. A couple of spur tracks also existed within the park. The rail history of the site also includes an engine house, as military installations often had their own locomotives and maintenance facilities; the engine house was located in close proximity to the cement plant's location.
Today, the park sees little rail traffic if at all, save for the trains on the parallel KCS mainline which used to serve the tracks. Most of the tracks and switches are in disrepair; some of the tracks are even disjointed or broken altogether. Ash Grove Cement, at the northern end of the park, is served by the KCS on a regular basis; its lead track is maintained. Beaird Industries also uses its own switchers and cars for moving equipment and ore cars about its facility; one can witness a pickup and setout of flatcars to Beaird by KCS at least once a week.
Slack Industrial Park is visible at Google Maps. The link shows the southern end of the Park where the tour starts.
The pictures below were taken during my visit to Slack Industrial Park on December 28, 2005. I have visited the park before and have walked along the abandoned tracks many times. Not much has changed here in the past couple of years. It's almost eerily quiet, as thoughts of when trains used to rumble down these tracks filled my mind.
Subdivision: KCS Beaumont
Mileposts: 563.6 & 565.2 (July 1, 2006, Timetable #7); 564.4 (August 10, 1996, Timetable #1)
Direction of Entry: N & S
Car Capacity: 45