Thanks Jim. I was able to learn that the Rock Island Arkansas & Louisiana opened for operation on February 1, 1908. There is no reason to believe the Evangeline Railway existed before that because without the RIA&L it would have ran from its starting point to nowhere.
How does this tie in with my family's Confederate history? Simple, some of the family members claim they were told that when the train on the Evangeline Railway rolled by at night when my great-grandfather John Roberts was living it would spur him to a drinking binge. Knowing about the horrible train wreck his regiment, the 7th Mississippi, was in at Ponchatoula, Louisiana it seemed to logically support the story. Altogether the 7th Miss. was involved in three train wrecks. My 2nd great-grandfather, Richard Chaddick, is believed to have been in all three wrecks.
But, Richard Chaddick passed away May 3, 1900 and John Roberts passed away November 29, 1903. This new found information should suffice to refute those stories. Maybe they went drinking, but trains had nothing to do with it LOL!