Cypremort Branch

The Cypremort Branch leaves the main line of the SP at Baldwin at M.P. XXX.X. It was originally laid south from here in 1884 and completed in 18xx. The line served a salt mine at the end of the branch at Weeks, a carbon black plant (United/Ashland/Degussa) at Ivanhoe (MP xx.x) and various industries such as an offshore fabrication facility (Twin Bros. Marine) at the Port of West St. Mary. The Franklin and Abbeville Railroad used a portion of the branch from Baldwin to F&A Jct at M.P. xx.x via trackage rights until it was absorbed by the SP in 19xx. It appears as though a sugar mill was once located at Louisa. If so, it would surely have been served by the railroad.

As with most remaining Louisiana branch lines, the Cypremort Branch was sold to the Louisiana and Delta railroad (a Genesee and Wyoming line) in 1987. It is still served today by the L&D, however, the line from Louisa to Weeks is no longer used as salt is no longer shipped by rail on the line. The tracks are still in place, however, they are were in severe disrepair prior to the devastation of hurricane Rita in September 2005. They are in even worse shape now. The carbon black plant is the primary customer on the line which sees a daily train during the week and probably a train or two on the weekend depending upon customer need. Twin Bros. receives flat cars of plate steel at the port. A customer also receives an occasional covered hopper or box car also at the port. There are no other customers on the line. There is no evidence of the former F&A trackage or F&A Jct. itself.

Probably the most dramatic scene on the line is the sharp right turn that the line takes about five miles from Baldwin as it turns south. Even though the turn is quite far from public road, it is easily seen when the sugar cane is not too high to block the view. There is a simple run around track at the very beginning of the branch on which the L&D (and SP prior) uses to store carbon black cars and build trains. The US hwy. 90 overpass at Baldwin passes directly over this track and carbon black cars can be easily seen to the north while driving along the highway.

Another unique aspect of this line was the L&D's annual cane train which used the above-mentioned siding as an unloading area for the open top 20' containers of cut sugar cane being unloaded from the LDAX (Louisiana Dept. of Agriculture) 85' flat cars. The cane was cut near Lake Charles, shipped along the ex SP (now BNSF) line in special L&D trains, offloaded at Baldwin on the branch and ground locally. With the opening of a new mill in Lacassine (near Lake Charles) the cane trains stopped running.

 

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