[Jimbaux wants you to experience the warmth before you go.]
Hurricane Isaac is on its way. On Sunday afternoon, I photographed what appeared to be a combination of a normal CSX-to-KCS movement on the New Orleans Public Belt Railway and an effort to drag cars from the low-lying France Yard – and it’s outside the floodwall in addition to being low – to NOPB’s Cotton Warehouse Yard. A little while later, an effort to procure some jugged water for the oncoming storm yielded a less-than-satisfactory result.
This afternoon (Monday), the last pre-Isaac action on the BNSF’s Lafayette Subdivision took place. Perry reported three westbound Union Pacific trains earlier in the day through New Iberia, and I saw the last three westbound trains – all BNSF trains – shortly before dusk.
The Third-To-Last Train
Well, not of all time, but of life pre-Isaac, and it’s the M-CSXLAL, the solid interchange train from the CSX that originates in CSX’s Gentilly Yard in New Orleans. Here it is at Chacahoula.
Foreign power is not usual on BNSF trains here.
The Second-To-Last Train
Comint indicated that there were two trains behind this one, and the first one was doing some work at Schriever. Could it be making a normal pickup? Or could it be grabbing as many loose cars as it can to get them out of the path of the storm?
I got to Schriever and saw an enormous train in the siding, and it was doing some work that I did not stick around to understand or photograph, but its length made me think that it was indeed picking up loose cars as I had thought. I’m really not sure, though.
The Last Train
There was only one place that I could really see and photograph this train, since darkness would soon fall: Thibodaux Junction. The problem is that almost all of this area is now private property. It was less so five years ago when I was able to shoot it in the last two images in the 30 July 2007 post, but it’s even worse now. This image rendered in this wicked aspect ratio was all that I could do, and I will post a larger version on the Facebook fan page shortly:
That’s the weekly BNSF stack train out of New Orleans – the S-NWOSCO (Stack – New Orleans to Southern California On-Dock) – sitting east of the east siding switch Schriever, my friends.
In this train’s wake, BNSF maintenance crews went and deactivated all of the crossing signals.
Some of you out there in Jimbauxland (people I don’t know personally) have written to me in the last couple of days expressing concern about the storm, and I have not had any time to respond; so, I’ll do it now.
First, thank you. Second, remember that I’ve been through several of these things before. In plenty of ways, this is really reminding of Hurricane Gustav four years ago this very weekend. Third, I’m not in any real danger here, being somewhat accustomed to these things, and this not expected to be a really big storm anyway. My best guess is that this storm will be more of an enormous inconvenience than a real dangerous or problematic event. I’ll be okay. I appreciate the concerns and thoughts, but the rest of you probably have your own sets of real world problems that you alone are adept at addressing. The worst that will happen is that I will be out of electricity an internet for an indefinite time, which means that you’ll get a break from my photographic stupidity for awhile.