A Port Rail, Kansas City Southern Railway, and Timber Rock Railroad Bonanza

by Jim on 2023/03/31

Jimbaux sees that there's too many men,
Too many people,
Making too many problems,
And there's not much love to go 'round.

It’s Political

Wow, what a heck of a day this was!

This is the largest and most varied set of images that I have gotten in a while.  While I still think that variety is good, I am increasingly unhappy to get such huge sets of pictures for a day, because, especially as I get older, doing this takes so much out of me, and not just on the day that I make the images, but here I am. 

Most significantly, with the takeover by the Canadian Pacific Railway of the Kansas City Southern Railway to now officially be official in a few weeks, I made what will almost certainly be my last pictures of KCS Railway activity today.  It’s very unlikely that I’ll make my way back to the KCS tracks before the takeover becomes official in a few weeks.

And These Are The Hands We’re Given

The day’s activities centered around a ‘political’ meeting that I had in Lake Charles at 12:00 CDT.  I definitely won’t get into the contents of that here, as this publication is where my oppressed autistic self somewhat hides from the real world, where I am not openly autistic.

I awoke well before 05:00, but, due to plenty of preparation work to do, I left the house only at 06:49.  I wanted to arrive at the Port Of Lake Charles in time to catch the departure of the morning Port Rail train from the port to Harbor Yard (and back), and I needed something to do to occupy the time before and after the train.

The time before the train was occupied by this detour that I took to the south.

What in the hell am I doing way down south on Highway 14?

At about 07:52 CDT, I stopped to take a leak under the Highway 14 bridge.

I forewent the gasoline stop in Lake Arthur, with a plan to get gasoline at one of the Walmart locations in Lake Charles.

But why in the hell am I on this detour?

It’s for the most-embarrassing-possible reason.

It’s the reason that I feel that my life already is over.

The trip over here was pretty uneventful, except that I I heard on KPEL 96.5 FM some issues about the Youngsville police chief, though that doesn’t really have anything to do with my travels themselves. The travels were completely uneventful, except that I got stuck behind this Coca-Cola truck from Lake Arthur until Highway 99 that goes towards Welsh.

Anyway, as soon as I arrived at the Port Of Lake Charles, I saw this at 08:44.

That is a cell-phone snap.  I took the image with no time to spare, not getting out my SLR-camera gear yet.

Well, a chase is on!

This is my second chase of a Port Rail train in 2023, the first being on February 6.

The ambient air temperature was quite warm, I had the AC running at full blast, I was already getting sweaty, and I was wearing a tank top. This reminds me of why I can’t do electoral politics and so many other things. It’s a constant reminder of the greatest struggles that I have in life, my sensory impediments.

So, I had to go and get set up for a shot with the SLR camera, and, so I did.

These two images are at Jabez Drive.

Next, I am at Cypress Street.

Next, we see the train crossing Ryan Street.

I don’t think that I’ve done quite that view before.

Next, we are at 5th Avenue.

The above image is one of my favorite shots of the day, only because it mostly hides that damn graffiti, whereas the below image would be my favorite shot of the day – tied with an image of the last train of the day – were it not for that damn graffiti.

Finally, we are on Highway 14.

That may be the first one-car train on this railroad that I chase.

I checked out Harbor Yard.  There does not appear to be anything new happening with the construction or whatever it is that is happening by this police jury place, or even by the warehousing place to the west, since I last came here almost two months ago.

So, 35 minutes after the last picture, I am at 3rd Avenue to photograph the return trip, which is a healthier-sized train, as you can see.

The clouds cooperated here by blocking the sunlight, because, otherwise, this shot would have been horribly backlit.

Next, for our final Port Rail shot today, we are at Ernest Street.

Okay, that was cool.

Now, it’s time to go to Walmart.

What was I doing here?

I was seeking a certain product for The Duke.

He said that he could find this product only here, not back east.

It was some sort of biscuit product.

I never found it.

So, it was time to go downtown for my meeting, but, first, I had to get dressed.

I was catching Mox 96.5 FM in Houston on the truck’s radio.  I heard the song “Are You That Somebody?” by Aaliyah, which brought back some mostly unpleasant memories.  Relatedly, I no longer feel the need to pretend to like that song.

I changed my clothes by the air field by the track. 

Only after that did I go downtown.

This first cell-phone snap is from the drive toward downtown.

Downtown Lake Charles actually is rather neat.

There were more pictures from the meeting, but I can’t show them here.

More than an hour later, I got out of the meeting, feeling quite good about it.

Now what?

Well, I specifically wanted to see and photograph some KCS action, specifically because the KCS is soon to cease to exist, in like two weeks.

So, as a practical matter, that means that I needed to go west and then go north.  So, that’s what I did.  I went west, and I didn’t even bother to poke around Mossville Yard, because you can’t really see anything from public property there anyway.

So, then, that’s where I started to go north, though it’s really more northwest.

On my way northwestward to the Beaumont Subdivision, I stopped in Buhler to check out some gondola cars in the storage track, but I would get more than I expected in Buhler.

Well, that’s interesting.  I wonder why there is a string of gondola cars there.  I imagine that it is for maintenance-of-way purposes.

So, I decided to get individual ‘roster’ shots of the gondola cars before a surprise disrupted – but did not displace – my plans.

Here, at the northern end of the block, is KCS 802701.

Right next to it, here is TFM 56454.

Here is TFM 60835.

It must have been right when I was taking that picture that I was startled by the sound of approaching horns.  At first, I couldn’t figure out what was happening.

Even once I began to think that it was the sound of an approaching train, I could not, at first, determine the direction from which it was coming.

I went to the road crossing at the northern end of the siding, and, four minutes after I snapped the prior picture, I snapped this one!

Well, this is a pleasant surprise and treat! 

There is only one pair of daily trains on this line, and I happened to be going northward here when the northbound train was here.

Also, it has a “grey ghost” former-TFM GE AC4400CW leading!

It would be so appropriate if the last KCS train that I photograph is this one, with this still-grey locomotive leading it, and it seems like that is what might happen here!

You can see the conductor on the ground, indicating that the train stopped and has work to do here, making this all the more interesting!

This is a new shot.  I have never done this view before.  That will be true also for every single other picture that I take for the rest of the day today.

When I imagined and then planned this outing, I imagined that I’d encounter a southbound KCS train and chase it into Texas.  I don’t remember quite when I began to doubt that I would enter Texas along the KCS, but it definitely wasn’t just yet; this was still very much early enough that I might intercept a southbound train somewhere north of Dequincy and chase it southward, as far as Texas.

The three-car block of gondola cars along with the string of gondola cars in the storage track is a clue about what is about to happen, but it could go either way.

Yeah, and, now, what will happen is becoming even clearer, even though we still don’t know which way it will go.

Either they are setting out these gondola cars, or they are picking up some of the gondola cars.

I’ll just tell you the answer now: these three gondola cars were being set out, added to the string of gondola cars already in the storage tracks.

So, while the train did its work, I resumed photographing the individual gondola cars.

Here is the KCS 800619

Here is the KCS 800228.

Here is the KCS 801526.

Here is the KCSM 585584.

Here is the TFM 53193.

Here is the TFM 53005.

Here is the TFM 56516.

Here is the KCS 802832.

Here is the TFM 53055.

Here is the KCS 800821.

Here is the TFM 53012.

Here is the TFM 54128.

Here is the TFM 50024.

Here is the TFM 55119.

Here is the KCS 801948.

Here is a view of most of the cut as its size is being increased by the train adding three cars to it.

Here, again, is the KCS 801948.

Here is the KCS 800104.

We are into the piney woods part of Louisiana, which is a substantial part of Louisiana.

Here is the TFM 60465.

Here is the KCS 802026.

Here is the TFM 56348.

Yes, I am now done photographing individual gondola cars and also about done with everything here in Buhler.

Let’s have one more look to the northwest from this location before I head that way myself.

You can see that the train still has not departed.

I went north and set up at Miller Road and had to wait nearly 20 minutes before the train passed.  I did some messaging with Jane at the time, some of it related to the meeting that I just had.  That is making me feel hopeful.

Here is the train.

This is train M-LCSH, or whatever it is with the new numeric symbols introduced due to the merger, and, since the merger doesn’t take effect for another two weeks, I can still use the alpha symbols!

Other than a local train from-and-to Beaumont, this would be the only regular train on this line; apparently, the local train from-and-to Beaumont handles the Mossville traffic that goes and-or comes from west or south of Dequincy, and this train, the M-LCSH, and its counterpart handle the Mossville traffic that goes and-or comes from north of Dequincy.

Speaking of Dequincy, that’s where we are next.

I am, here, set up for a shot of the M-LCSH, a symbol that indicates that our train is a “manifest” train coming from Lake Charles (Mossville, actually, as KCS doesn’t actually operate in Lake Charles anymore and has not operated there for almost 40 years now) and terminating in Shreveport.

Here is a view of where the Lake Charles Subdivision diverges from the mainline, the Beaumont Subdivision.

This junction is called “North Dequincy Wye”.

I am just getting some pictures of some maintenance-of-way equipment while it still has full KCS markings and logos.

I have already been seeing pictures on the internet of such things being relabeled for “CPKC”.

Gosh, is that really what the new railroad is going to be called? 

Anyway, here is our train, with 38 cars.

Yes, the view isn’t that great, but I am glad that I still did it anyway, since there didn’t seem to be any options that I hadn’t already done except for the Highway 27 crossing on the southern edge of town.  I hope to return here some other time to get that shot.

I don’t remember where I got ahead of the train, but I got ahead of it in time to get set up for a shot at Singer.

First, I want to get a shot of this log truck exiting from Highway 109 going north.

Okay, that was interesting.

The song “Land Of Confusion” (I don’t recall which version) was playing on the radio, hence the reason that it is today’s song.

This is something of a zinger of a shot, I think!

It’s my zinger at Singer.

How is that?

I am in new territory here.

I arrive on the southern edge of DeRidder, the first time in my life that I come to this neat community.

I can’t believe that I drove all the way to DeRidder!

I am set up at the junction of the KCS and the Timber Rock Railroad, the former Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway branch that reached here and once went as far as Oakdale.

KCS parks plenty of maintenance-of-way equipment here.

Here comes the train.

I am getting tired.

This last shot that I made of this train is pretty cool.

Yes, I decided to let this train go at this point.  I was tired, I needed a toilet, I needed refreshments, and I wanted to explore DeRidder.

Here is where I found some good refreshments and a toilet.

I am at Cat’s Coffee & Creamery in downtown.

It’s a charming setting, because it’s right across the street from – and has a view of – the KCS track.

This hit the spot, I tell you.

There is the stainless-steel KCS caboose on display at the depot museum by the track.

I heard horns!

So, here is a southbound train approaching.

This looks like – and, I was told by a knowledgeable and well-placed source, likely is – the M-SHLC, the southbound counterpart to the train that I had just chased from Buhler to here.

I just didn’t feel like chasing this thing south, as I wanted to explore DeRidder, where I had not imagined myself visiting today, a little bit more, and, since I was almost certain that it was the M-SHLC, it wasn’t going to Texas, even though, for that very same reason, prudence would have dictated that I chase this thing to its destination, since I had to pass that way, unlike trying to get to Texas, to get to my bed tonight.

So, that’s it.  I was, at the time, still thinking that I’d intercept a subsequent southbound train later and chase it all the way into Texas past Dequincy, but that did not happen.  So, barring a very unlikely trip back this way in the next two weeks, the image above will be the last image that I make of a Kansas City Southern Railway train.

I wanted to explore DeRidder more, since I had never been here prior to this afternoon.

I put my SLR camera away.

The above image and the next nine images are cellular-telephone pictures.

The old passenger depot is now a museum.

Right at about this time, I saw a Timber Rock Railroad train coming from the west cross the KCS mainline going eastward!  That was a sign, even though I was still, at this time, thinking that I was going to chase the next southbound train that came through here past Dequincy and into Texas.

I had to get out of these clothes.

That was much better.

I had gotten quite sweaty.

I began to think that the next southbound train through here might not make it to Texas before dark.

Therefore, I began to think that that southbound KCS train that I photographed a little while before almost certainly will be the last KCS train that I ever photograph.

Here is a law-enforcement monument.

This is called “KCS Park”.

Here is a prisoner-of-war-and-missing-in-action memorial.

There is plenty to learn about this community.

If I lived near here, I would come and walk around for an hour every day here, exercising while also doing some passive foaming.

Across the KCS mainline was the end of – and a passenger depot for – what became a Southern Pacific branch from Lake Charles!

A small amount of the ex-SP trackage is owned and operated by the Timber Rock Railroad today.

It is used to access and serve the Ingevity DeRidder plant.

And it’s on the small amount of former SP track that I found and photographed my first Timber Rock Railroad train!

I didn’t expect to see original Conrail paint today!

That’s it for my visit to the ex-SP trackage in this area.  I then returned to the junction between the TIBR and the KCS.

I didn’t realize that what I was seeing here, which was the power set of the Timber Road Railroad train that I had seen cross the KCS eastward a little while earlier, would foretell what I was about to see when I went exploring the TIBR line west of here.

So, I returned to the depot.

I climbed on the caboose.

I cannot remember if I heard horns for and-or saw the TIBR train go westward or if I simply went westward just to explore the Timber Rock line.

I imagined that I would follow the line – or the train, if I had known that it was moving westward on the line – into Texas, because I had the idea of going to Texas today, even if I didn’t see any trains on it.  I just wanted to explore.

Well, just west of DeRidder proper, not long after I got onto Graybow Road, I spotted tank cars moving westward through the woods!  Wow, even if I had known about it when I was in downtown DeRidder, that’s some good luck right there!  If I hadn’t known that it was there, I neither had to move far nor wait long to see a train on this line!  If I had known that it was there, then I got to DeRidder at a good time!

I got ahead of it and got my first shot of it at Hayes Road.

This is so neat!

Well, it’s neat by 2023 standards.  This would have been fairly bland even by 2003 standards and definitely by 1993 standards.

So, this thing was moving at about 10 miles per hour.  I envision rebuilding this line as a bridge carrier as a way for KCS and Union Pacific to bypass Beaumont and Dequincy and for the BNSF Railway and KCS to be able to access each other north of Beaumont.

Three decades ago, there were blue-and-yellow Santa Fe four-axle EMD locomotives moving ungraffitied Santa Fe boxcars along this wooded Louisiana line!

Imagine what that looked like right here.

I feel as though we should try to make that reality return.

This is absolutely amazing, a great way to end the day, and something that was completely unexpected!  I am going to chase this train until I can’t anymore.

This train had 13 cars, all of which were tank cars, presumably from that Ingevity place.  One of them had A3257 placard. I did not expect to be doing this today!

Also, the engineer waved at me and smiled.  He looked a little familiar, too.

I wonder if he knows me.

I wonder if he is who I think that he is.

This view isn’t nearly as cool as the two that I already did of this train, but this is what you do when the train that you are chasing moves at 10 miles per hour.

It reminds me of the Lockport Branch, the Acadiana Railway branch to Crowley, or the KCS Gulfport Subdivision prior to 2012.

Okay, there is a siding here farther down the line.

Let’s have a look at that track.

I love it!

So, then, something happened.

This happened.

It’s nice to finally meet you, after knowing of you for two decades!

That would be all that I photographed of this train, as it would soon stop at the TIBR facility.

Let’s just say that I had an interesting experience here.

The train stopped.  The plan, I learned, was for the night crew to add cars to it and then take it west.

That means that it would happen after dark.

That means that I am not going to Texas today! 

And, since it’s getting late, since I am far from my bed, and since I am farther from my bed than the part of Texas that I had initially imagined visiting today is, that is fine.

That’s all for the SLR-camera pictures for the day, and what a heck of a day it was!  I said that I would chase that last train until I couldn’t anymore, and I did!  I photographed the Port Rail train, two Kansas City Southern Railway trains, which are very likely to be the last-ever KCS trains that I photograph, and, for the first time in my life, a Timber Rock Railroad train.

I learned that DeRidder recently got a Whataburger; so, quite hungry, I went there.

I texted back and forth with a friend who is familiar about this area while I was there.

It took me a while to eat this, because I was so tired.

That resulted in delaying my departure, which, considering how tired I was, was a problem.

That’s all for pictures for the day. 

I was now worried about being able to make it to the house before falling asleep, as I had been awake since 04:00.  I arrived I-10 in Lake Charles at 20:37.  I think that I stopped somewhere to get some caffeinated-and-or-sugared drink to keep me awake, and I arrived at the house, exhausted, at 22:18.  All sweaty, I had to take a shower before I went to sleep.

So, obviously, I didn’t process all of these shots and write this lengthy essay “today”.  Thank you for your understanding!  That’s the reason that I don’t remember some details that are relevant to the story.

Anyway, this was a heck of a day, right? 

I hope that you liked the pictures and the story.



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