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Patriot Rail to acquire Louisiana’s Delta Southern Railroad

By | September 27, 2022

Route serving two Mississippi River ports to become Patriot’s 32nd short line

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Logo of Delta Southern railroad

Logo of Delta Southern railroadJACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Patriot Rail, which concluded its acquisition of Pioneer Lines earlier this month, will expand further through acquisition of Delta Southern Railroad, the companies announced Monday.

Delta Southern operates more than 40 miles of track in two line segments about 60 miles apart in Monroe and Tallulah, La., serving two Mississippi River ports: Lake Providence Port and Madison Parish Port. The company interchanges with Kansas City Southern on its Meridian Speedway, and with Union Pacific. Its customer base includes large-scale chemical manufacturers as well as forest industry shippers.

The acquisition of Delta Southern will give Patriot Rail a total of 32 short line operations.

“Including Delta Southern in Patriot Rail’s expanding network will enable further competitive options for rail shippers in Louisiana and across the country,” Patriot CEO John E. Fenton said in a press release. “This strategic acquisition adds to the company’s most recent expansion and exemplifies our growth focus on quality rail franchises to meet customer needs.”

The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions.

Patriot Rail completed acquisition of Pioneer Lines on Sept. 14, growing from 16 to 31 railroads [see “Patriot Rail completes acquisition …” Trains News Wire, Sept. 15, 2022].

7 thoughts on “Patriot Rail to acquire Louisiana’s Delta Southern Railroad

  1. Thanks Patriot Rail for acquiring DSR. This is the former Missouri Pacific line running from Memphis, Tennessee to Natchez, Mississippi. MoPac ran a streamliner on this route that was built especially for this line. The streamliner ran from Memphis to Tallulah, La. and was built to carry baggage and Jim Crow separated passengers. At Clayton, Louisiana, the railroad joined with another MoPac Line running from Collinston, La. to Natchez, Ms. The railroad was also joined near Ferriday, Louisiana by a rail line that went through several corporate changes (Louisiana Midland, KCS, Illinois Central). This rail line across central Louisiana was eventually abandoned.
    In Vidalia, La., the railcars were ferried across the Mississippi River on a barge to service a huge paper mill and to interchange with the IC railroad. This was a fascinating operation that could be seen from the adjacent highway bridge.
    The Monroe, La. part of the acquisition was also a former MoPac line running from Monroe through Eldorado, Arkansas and eventually Hot Springs, Arkansas.
    Quite an interesting piece of railroad history that Patriot Rail has acquired.

  2. Ricky, thanks for this interesting history. When I read the news item, I thought it was probably MoPac, a fallen flag road that doesn’t get much notice or mention.

  3. I saw the operation at Vidalia and Natchez once in the 70’s while the ferry was still operating. Have a photo of the MoP in Natchez, its only operation in Mississippi. I wonder if the boat was able to ferry the Geep across the river, otherwise they must have utilized the I.C. to get their locomotive into Natchez. Thanks again for your comments.

  4. Be interesting to see what Patriot does with it. DS has been looking better lately, to the casual observer driving by, maybe it will keep going that way? I do know the port at Lake Providence hasn’t seen rail service in years, if not decades. Used to be a place just south of the port that loaded cotton seed hulls, but that’s been gone for years as well. I know all of us together, (us taxpayers, that is!) recently financed a lot of work on the northern end of this line from LP to Lake Village AR. Let’s just politely say I don’t think it’s lived up to its potential just yet. Maybe someday…

  5. What I remember of Delta Southern, was thinking the track was so bad as to be abandoned. Then I saw a crew working it, and had to think that is one brave crew.
    The rails were as much as 4″ difference in height. The ties were falling apart. The rails were the only good thing I saw. But I didn’t look at the gauge.
    That was 10 years ago. I hope things have improved.

  6. Is there any way to post photos on this forum? I have always been fascinated by the MP operation in Natchez and there seem to be very few pictures out there.

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