The Last-Ever Train From Valentine Paper – 7 January 2008

by Jim on 2013/01/07

[Lately, Jimbaux finds that he should be the one behind the wheel.]

The End Of The End

(But Not The End Of The End Of The End)

One month ago, you saw the last ever railroad delivery to Valentine Paper, not only some of my best train pictures, but, put all together and with the writing that accompanied it, one of the more soulful photo essays that I have ever done because it comes as close as possible to indirectly explaining – or perhaps justifying – this unexplainable obsession with trains and railroads.  You will see in the comments section that Barry asked if the empty boxcars were ever retrieved.  I thought that I had explained such in the writings above his comment, but the pictures that I post here in this post – taken on Monday 7 January 2008 – should remove all doubt.

What you saw a month ago was indeed, as I called it, the “last-ever railroad delivery to Valentine Paper,” but it wasn’t the “last train to Valentine Paper,” and my wording was intentional.  Afterall, as Barry’s question presupposes, there needs to be another trip to the plant to get the boxcars, and there was, one month later, after the plant had closed.

High Mileage

Yeah, I put plenty of mileage in the 30 hours that ended with me back in New Orleans after these pictures were taken.  You’ll recall that the day before, I photographed the KCS business train crossing the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge.  Then, I went back to Woadieville that night, and the next day, I’m out in bayouland taking the below pictures only to have to return to Woadieville that night.

I wasn’t totally able to arrange to escape from professional obligations, but I escaped early enough to get the train coming northbound in Mathews just past Sugarmill Road with the three boxcars in tow, three boxcars that had sat at the plant for a month.

This is it.  This is the last time that you will ever see boxcars on this line.  The Lockport Branch was in service for about another 16 months after these pictures were taken, which accounts for four trains, all with only tank cars to Valentine Chemicals, and two trains of which I photographed.  However, this is the final movement of boxcars on this line.

Let’s get our obligatory sugarcane field broadside, where the train appears to be suspended in sugarcane.

Oh, Lockport Branch trains, I really do miss you so much, especially with boxcars.  As I wrote in the post a month ago, I will forever perceive in your shapes, your world, your arrangement.

Service on the Lockport Branch had already become infrequent by this time, necessitating the use of MofW crews in a hi-rail truck preceding the train.

I’ll never forget you, Lockport Branch, and your boxcars behind mid-20th-Century locomotives slowly moving on jointed rail; I live to show your glory to the rest of the world.

How many times have I seen your trains and longed for understanding?  How many times have I seen those oh-so-classic boxcars moving on your tracks?  This, this view below, this cane field broadside, was indeed, for seeing boxcars on the branch, the final time.

That’s it.  It is finished.

That is most likely the last time you’ll ever see boxcars on the Lockport Branch, and that is surely the last time ever that you will see something coming from Valentine Paper, which had already closed by this point.  So long; it’s been real.  Thank you.  I am grateful.

A Quick Diversion

Those Of You Who Say We Shouldn’t Photograph Military Trains, Please Look At This

Before we head back to Wardaayville, let’s make a quick run by Schriever to see what’s happening on the track over there.  Wait!  What’s this??

Ooohh, Laaawd!  Oh, no you didn’t!  Yeah, I photographed military cargo moving by rail, and tanks at that, against the ‘advice’ of some Louisiana foamers, but wait!  Look in the far right portion of the picture!  There are people just sitting there waiting for the Sunset Limited, and they can plainly see the tanks and could actually go touch them without anyone noticing it.

I want everyone who has ever said that people shouldn’t photograph military trains – and some of you reading this have said that directly to me – to gaze upon the above image.  Do you see what I see?  Do you see two people sitting and waiting for the westbound Amtrak train for which this freight train is in the siding?  Do you see how they have an unobstructed and up-close view of not just any military cargo but tanks?  HELLO!!!!

Their Train Comes

The #1 shows up shortly thereafter, and I photograph it thus:

And that’s a wrap, mes amis.

I’m grateful that I was able to get these images of the very last train ever to or from Valentine Paper – and, as far as I know, I’m the only person who photographed this train – and that I, too, have the platform with which to share the images with you.  Thanks for taking a look at these pictures, taking the time to see what I value.




1 Ray Duplechain January 7, 2013 at 18:32

Last photo, see the Special Agent’s vehicle on the overpass. He is following the military’s movement of the tanks.

2 JIMBAUX January 7, 2013 at 22:34

Uhh, yeah, okay, Dupe. Really!
Hey, I’m surprised that you, of all people, don’t have more to say on a post showing the last-ever train from Valentine Paper! Can you tell us more about your experiences with the Lockport Branch?? and Valentine Paper??

3 Barry LeBoeuf January 15, 2013 at 20:03

I figured as much…didn’t think they left the boxcars at the plant. thanks for clearing that up….we’ll ketch you on the flip side…

4 Johnie Stafford February 11, 2013 at 20:11

Thanks for the L&D pics, I miss seeing those colors. I did a summer internship there shortly after they began operations.

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