Tuesday 22 November 2005 was a photographically glorious and variety-filled day! This is one of my better sets of pictures in a long-time, and it shows some interesting things that were already old relics in 2005 and mostly-non-existent by the time I am typing and you are reading this. I attempted to generate a non-spoiling summary to put here at the beginning of the narrative, but I just can’t seem to write a sufficient one! Also, there are several more “firsts” for me, the first time I photograph at locations that came to be common photo locations for me.
We start with the it-ain’t-like-this-anymore theme right away, as I start the day in Bayouland, getting shots of the Louisiana & Delta Railroad’s westbound Schriever Job leaving Schriever in the morning behind a locomotive still in the Mountain Laurel paint scheme.
There are no longer any L&D locomotives in the Mountain Laurel paint scheme, and that makes me sad, as I really love that scheme, though my love of it took awhile, because I associated them with the scrapping of the Napoleonville Branch, one of their first tasks upon arriving on the property.
Heading west before I headed east back to the city, I grabbed the Chacahoula broadside.
I like that. That was the first time in almost two years that I did this shot. In late 2003, I had a particularly unpleasant encounter with a local who was apparently the grandson of the woman who lived on the property between here and the track to the left; although I was on public property on the shoulder of the highway, he threatened and cursed at me after the train had passed, and I didn’t know what to do, the first time that I had such an incident, and souring me on this shot for awhile.
Apparently, after taking that image, I went north on the Brule-Guillot Road.
I don’t know how I arrived back at Waggaman; possibly, I went north, the scenic route to or through Vacherie. Somewhere, probably along Bayou Lafourche, I photographed this sugar mill.
Maybe Raymond Washington knows which mill this is.
Anyway, more than 90 minutes later, I am at my new shot at Waggaman, at CTC Live Oak, where I get this southbound train on the Livonia Subdivision.
I’m getting to like this location, and the coming weeks will show more from here. This is Union Pacific Railroad train QLIWX, on its way for interchange with CSX in New Orleans; the “WX” is station code for Waycross, Georgia.
Okay, let’s get out of here; well, let’s do this first.
Okay, now, we go to new places.
Next, we have a first for Jimbaux. You’ve seen many of my pictures of the street-running on 4th Street in Gretna that the New Orleans & Gulf Coast Railway does on the former Southern Pacific Railway trackage that comprises the part of the Union Pacific Railroad’s Gouldsboro Subdivision that NOGC leases from UP, and you’ve seen many of my pictures nearby of trains – both parked and moving – in Gouldsboro Yard preparatory to them moving westbound on the 4th Street trackage.
Well, the first that I did either shot was the first time that I did both shots, today.
I guess, by now, I had figured out this routine. See, we’re at midday here on a weekday, and I was usually at work when this practice happened; so, it took my off-week to be able to document this action.
Two minutes later, the train is departing the yard.
In the above picture at the far right, you can see what is left of the former Texas & Pacific Railway locomotive shops; this may be my only shot of the edifice (I don’t look far ahead into the archives from these points when I do these retrospective articles), as it was razed in early 2006.
Now, finally, here it is, my first-ever shot of street-running on 4th Street.
That might mean something to those of you who have seen my many shots from this area over the years.
I mean, that’s the first time! Anyway, there was some parked equipment – two locomotives and a bunch of grain cars – in East Harvey as the train approached.
Here’s the train.
Keeping with the it-ain’t-like-this-anymore theme of today, the GP7s left the property for good in early 2013.
A half-hour later, we’re back at Avondale, where we see the QLINSB arriving.
That isn’t inspiring, but that was the first time that I ever saw a UP SD70ACe. Oh, and what’s up with this mixed-up foreign power on today’s UP interchange trains? The QLIWX that we saw earlier had an NS locomotive leading, even though that train goes to the CSX, and this QLINSB has a CSX locomotive, despite the fact that this train is bound for interchange with Norfolk Southern.
Next, I went west into St. Charles Parish to photograph the MNOEWB-22, which had intermodal cars up front; apparently, UP had yet to, post-Katrina, resume running solid intermodal trains through or to New Orleans, and it just put what little intermodal traffic there was in manifest trains.
That’s the first time that I ever did that shot too, but it may be the last time too; I don’t care about it and don’t like it, hence that I don’t much include it in my “first” list of today’s firsts.
Next, we are back at Avondale where we see a very interesting scene that made one think that this might be the early 1990s in Denver, Amarillo, or Kansas City!
Wow! How about that? We have a clean (at least on the front), unmolested SP locomotive and a “Whiteface” Burlington Northern locomotive in the same image!
The Whiteface BN locomotive was on the front of a parked BNSF Railway train that was staged to go west later in the afternoon, already making me think that I need to chase this thing, while the SP locomotive was moving west so that it could go through a switch and then go back east to couple onto the rear of the train – with its tail end right next to the yard tower – that you see next to it in the above pictures, so as to act as a manned rear-end helper for the train’s trip up the Huey P. Long Bridge.
We’ll see more of both the SP and the Whiteface BN locomotive, but, next, we’re in Waggaman where this interesting-looking train is arriving.
We have one 6,000 horsepower on a train with nothing but tank cars, a train that I recall being told then was the MLIAV, which seems plausible.
Much or all of the MLIAV is relatively local traffic, to be put into trains serving industries out of Avondale, or to the NOGC.
Okay, so, now, let’s refocus our attention on this train – the QLINSL-21, bound for interchange with Norfolk Southern – climbing the bridge with the SP locomotive pushing.
This might be the first time that I took a picture in Bridge City.
That’s neat! Oh, this scene looks very different today, with the land being cleared for the new lanes that are there now.
Well, that was nice. Now, we return to Avondale for our other target.
I basically made a decision – probably shortly after I first saw this train 90 minutes before – that wherever this train was when the sun set, that is where I would be. So, until it moves or until it gets a crew and gets permission to move, I’ll stay here, and, during that time, I see stuff like this.
Okay, so, nearly an hour later, we are nearly 30 miles to the west, grabbing this shot.
I like how this is ending, with great light and a neat old, rare, and endangered paint-scheme.
This is a really great catch on its own, but it is even more special and remarkable on the same day that I was able to catch the SP locomotive as a pusher, a GP7 leading my first shot of NOGC street-running, and a still-unmolested Mountain Laurel locomotive leading the Louisiana & Delta Railroad’s Schriever job.
Perhaps I should have just ended things right here, but keeping true to my promise, I went to Schriever (because the sun was still out, and that’s where the train was), but it was too late to get any great shots, as the train had to stop to make the pickup – that you saw the L&D placing there yesterday – out of the storage track.
In these last two anti-climactic scenes above and below, at right, you see the M-NWOLAL – our train that we have been chasing, the New Orleans to Lafayette manifest – parked on the mainline while the locomotives are to the left making the pickup.
Well, that’s all, and now it’s time for the dark and lonely ride back to the ‘hood. What a day this has been. I didn’t plan on photographically ending the day a half-mile from where I started it, but that’s what happened!