The Lockport Branch was originally laid in 1882 from Raceland Jct. at M.P. 40.0 on the SP main line to Lockport at M.P. 2.0. It was then extended in 1907 from Raceland to Lockport at M.P. 9.7. Permission was granted by the ICC in 1930 to further extend the line on a spur from Lockport to Jay (Valentine) at M.P. 14.1 to serve a sugar mill and Valentine Pulp & Paper. The entire line exists and is in operation today under control of the Louisiana & Delta except for the wye at Lockport and the spur into Lockport.
The beginning of the branch at Raceland Jct. is actually a large wye. The branch main diverges from the main line at the east end of Raceland siding. The other leg of the wye leaves the siding further west and rejoins the branch main. A storage track is present as the branch runs parallel to LA hwy. 182 (old US hwy. 90) toward the city of Raceland and the Godchaux sugar mill. A spur serves the mill today which ships only molasses by rail. In the past, however, large quantities of baggasse were shipped by rail from here to the Celotex plant in Marerro. A spur heads straight into Raceland and the branch peels off to the left to follow Bayou Lafourche to Lockport and Jay. In the 1970's, the locomotive and caboose would be tied up on the "post office track" into Raceland. An agricultural distributor along the bayou was served by the railroad at one point. The rails can still be seen crossing LA hwy. 308.
The line then passed through cane fields to Mathews. where it served the Georgia sugar mill. The mill was abandoned for several years, and finally razed in the mid 1990's. A small double ended, side rod industrial locomotive served the mill as well as a home built wooded box-cab loco with a former buldozer engine for power. These were both scrapped with the mill despite my valiant efforts to save them.
A wye track was present at Lockport with one leg extending across LA hwy. 308 into Lockport. A freight house, a few warehouses and Haliburton were industries that were active in Lockport. Local railfan Jeff Guidry remembers the operation of the line into Lockport. The track into Lockport has been abandoned.
The end of the line is in Jay. The only shippers past Raceland are Valentine Pulp and Paper and Valentine Chemicals. The Louisiana & Delta still serves these plants every few weeks with some consistency. The crew is based in Schriever. and runs over the BNSF to Raceland Jct. and take the west leg of the wye to enter the branch main. The SP had actually removed the west leg of the wye in the early 1980's and re-installed it to facilitate operation of the line from Schriever in its last few years of operating the branch. In fact, the Lockport branch was not included in the initial sale of branches to the Louisiana & Delta. It was another few years before the Lockport Branch and the Breaux Bridge Branch were finally sold the L&D.
Local rail entusiasts James Robichaux, Jeff Guidry, Wayne Shell and myself continue to document this branch on a regular basis.
From Jeff Guidry off the LRMRG list:
"I seen there were some questions about the spur that used to go into Lockport, LA. Actually the track did not go into Lockport: it went to Rita, LA. Lockport is on the west bank of Bayou Lafourche and Rita is on the east bank.The industries that was served by SP were: IMCO--A drilling mud company-receved cars of bag drilling mud Baudoin Lumber Company-received cars of lumber Lockport Wholesale Grocery---long stopped getting service even before I watched the trains in the 70's spot the businesses. PRO-LICK-This was nothing more than a business that received tank cars of molasses and mixed it with cattle feed.It had one storage tank. This only lasted about 1-2 years from 1978-1980. IMCO left in 1979?? and went to Houma.PRO-LICK folded up.The Bollingers had something to do with PRO-LICK.The lumber yard closed in 1981-1982.The last customer to receive carloads was Melancon Shipyards; a small shipyard that opened up on the former IMCO site. The cars were loaded with plate steel.The downturn in the oilfield killed the business with Melancon. There also is a Shell Oil distributor next to IMCO/Melancon, but I'm not sure if it ever received tank cars of oil/gasoline. SP even had a agent here into the late 1970's. Rita was served 5 to 6 days a week." -JEFF GUIDRY
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