Since I did not know what else to do with my life and my precious time back then, on Saturday 26 November 2005, I did just what I did on all but one day – Thanksgiving Day – in the week preceding: take pictures of trains. Fortunately, I limited myself on this day to a radius of only about three or so miles, and, in the process, as has been a theme lately, I got a few more “firsts” of things for which I have since then become more known in the very small world of railroad photography.
We start at Avondale, where we see my first-ever pictures of the Morgan City Local – the LLS51 and later LLD51, the Chip Local – at Avondale, not that I have a large amount of pictures of this train at Avondale.
Apparently, back in those days, the train still went as far west as Boeuf almost every day. I suspect that the white tank car is bound for the still-then-open Valentine Paper on the Lockport Branch, and the cars of plate steel are almost certainly bound for the metals place in Waggaman; note the parked westbound BNSF train, once again with a green, spartan-cab leader.
Three years to the day later, I would photograph The Chip Local again, at Schriever and Chacahoula.
Next, we go to Live Oak in order to get a lame image of a westbound train moving from the Avondale Subdivision to the Lafayette Subdivision, the first time that I ever do this shot.
That appears to be the MNOHO, and you can probably tell why I don’t much do that shot. For the below shot, I didn’t quite time it right, but that’s probably because I didn’t even see the potential that the other train in the distance gave to the shot.
Yes, here is our SP 7128 that we saw a few days ago, once again, and this train appears to be the Luling Local; once again, I am doing a first here, as this is the first time that I do any shot at Willswood, a place that became a regular photo location for me.
Next, we are back at Live Oak, and there is a ballast train – apparently bound for the CSX – coming through the crossover from the Livonia Subdivision to the Avondale Subdivision, and this is my first “crossover” shot – a view that I have done many times since – at Live Oak.
The cars were all CSX ballast cars, and they were loaded; it’s a safe assumption that this train was bound for the CSX in New Orleans with the ballast being used to, in an eastward direction, repair the mainline out of New Orleans that had been severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina and that was still out-of-service; so, CSX was, at this time, operating in New Orleans, but it was still isolated from the rest of the CSX system, with freight trains still detouring on the Norfolk Southern line.
The CSX mainline between Mobile and New Orleans would not be fully repaired and reopened until February 2006.
Wow, that last locomotive looks ancient! I guess it is a C30-7 or some other variety, but what might it have been – as in, who would have owned in – prior to it being a CSX locomotive?
Anyway, this might have been the day that I began to see the pattern of trains coming off of the Livonia Sub and moving via the crossover onto the Avondale Subdivision, but it would take me several more years to figure out why this happened, and why some trains did this and some don’t. Basically, any train that doesn’t need to be switched at Avondale can and usually does use this route, since all of the flat-switching happens on the northern side.
So, on this same day that I shoot at Willswood for the first time, I shoot a train on the Avondale Sub at Willswood for the first time.
The former Southern Pacific mainline between CTC Live Oak and Avondale is today’s Avondale Subdivision.
Moving over to Avondale, we see the head-end of the train enter the yard.
That BNSF manifest train is still parked there, nearly four hours after we earlier saw it. Let’s get one last look at the CSXT hopper cars before we get out of here.
Okay, that’s all for today; stay tuned for tomorrow, when we’ll have the first Sunday Sermon at a new location.