Many of the railroad subjects of which I am known to photograph are in this one set of images taken on Thursday 22 December 2005.
First, The Appetizers
Apparently, I spent Wednesday night, after doing another Lockport Branch chase, in Bayouland, because on this Thursday, when I would get some great images in and near Gretna on the New Orleans & Gulf Coast Railway, I photographically started in Chacahoula, getting this image of the Louisiana & Delta Railroad’s westbound Schriever Job.
Well, that’s nice. Now, it’s time to head back east to Whoadieland. On my way, I stop in Raceland and photograph a cut of cars for the Union Pacific Local to pick up from the L&D, including the three boxcars that you saw on the Lockport Branch yesterday.
The hopper cars on either side are from the MTI place in Raceland just west of where that picture was taken.
Next, we stop at CTC Live Oak in Waggaman, where we see UP’s QLINSB coming past the signals on the Livonia Subdivision.
This sentence is your periodic reminder that all caption information for each picture can be found in the filename of each image, and the filename can be read by holding your mouse arrow over the image.
Next, just a little way to the east at Willswood, we see the Chip Local.
Now, that’s the way that the Chip Local is supposed to look, as far as I am concerned! This one has only bulkhead flatcars loaded with plate steel (bound for an industry just a mile west of here), boxcar either for Valentine Paper or for one of the industries at Boeuf, and loaded pipe gondolas!
Coincidentally, 10 years to the day later (the day that I am typing this paragraph), I saw the Chip Local at this same spot in this same direction. The power was UP 1099, a GP60, and the train had nine cars: five potash hopper cars for a customer in Raceland that started receiving shipments in 2014, and four tank cars, most or all of which were bound for the Discovery Gas Plant at Vallier in Paradís. I miss the way that the train looked in 2005!
Now, The Main Course
Okay, now that the appetizers are done, it’s time for the main course: a New Orleans & Gulf Coast Railway grain train doing, among other things, street-running and using UP road power on UP trackage back when the big road power on grain trains still went that far.
So, we start in Gretna, and we are on the former New Orleans & Lower Coast on Madison Street, with an empty grain train approaching from downriver.
This scene looks different today, since the street was recreated in 2012.
I guess the shot below suffers from distortion, or maybe the track really does lean.
Back then, you could still see plenty of fallen flag logos on these grain cars.
Also, there are some lease hopper cars in the mix.
Union Pacific train GLSRMY-13 from Shasta Springs, Kansas, had arrived on the NOGC earlier in the week and was taken to Myrtle Grove; what you are seeing here is the return trip of the trainset northbound.
Next, the train has to “double over” into the yard (a process that I explained in the 17 October 2005 post, showing the first time that I had observed this phenomenon); so, it’s likely – though not certain, since I had, by this time, figured out the pattern might have at least attempted to work my way around it – that these next two pictures are from the second shoving into the yard. We are in Algiers now; Algiers is the portion of the city of New Orleans that is on the western bank of the Mississippi River.
I wish that there was a little bit more than this track being used as a switch lead to see here; the NO&LC’s headquarters and roundhouse were just up the river (behind-left of camera-frame) from here.
So, next, the road power is on the other end of the train as it takes shape on the non-NO&LC part of the other side of the yard.
So, what happened before UP power stopped moving east of Westwego, an operational change that was made about a year later, was that grain trains would keep their road power all the way to Gouldsboro Yard, and then NOGC power would take the grain trains down the NO&LC to the elevator at Myrtle Grove and back, while the UP road power stayed in Gouldsboro Yard for the day or two (or maybe more) that it took for this train to cycle back up the river; the UP road power, having sat for probably a couple of days in Gouldsboro Yard, would then be put on the front of the outbound empty grain train, as you see here. I had heard that the reason for stopping this practice (sometime, I think, in late 2006 or early 2007) was that horns got stolen off of the UP locomotives when they were at Gouldsboro!
So, nowadays, NOGC power gets on grain trains in Westwego, and the UP power goes to sit – and, perhaps, be serviced in – Avondale Yard while the NOGC is handling the train.
So, these pictures of big, six-axle, Class I power on the UP-owned track that NOGC operates east of Westwego are rare!
Back to our story, we see our train with our big locomotives coming down Fourth Street in Gretna.
To the degree that anyone cares about what constitutes an iconic New-Orleans-area railroad scene, this is surely one of them!
That’s a big different than the Geeps and switchers that you are accustomed to seeing here, isn’t it?
Oh, I should say that we’re close to dusk here, and this shot is possible like this at near-dusk only because this is basically the winter solstice.
I love it! Once on UP rails, this train would become train GEMYSK-22 on its way to Salinas, Kansas.
Next, after leaving Gretna, we have a chance to get a kind of scene that isn’t normally possible on the NOGC; the length of a grain train means that the Harvey Canal bridge will still need to be positioned for railroad movement as the front end of the train gets close to Barataria Road in Marrero, hence this shot.
For any train not as long as a grain train, this shot would have the span of the bridge sticking into the air.
The roadbed of the former Southern Pacific Railway mainline is just to the right of the train, while the train is on the former Texas & Pacific Railway line.
Next, we are in Westwego, and we set up to do the shot that I did for the first time two days before.
That’s different and okay, I guess.
That’s all for the action today; let’s have one look at tank cars in Harvey before we head back to the crib.
Okay, back at the crib, we see my truck still filthy from the Lockport Branch from the day before (or maybe two days before that.)
Okay, this marathon of 2005 holiday train chasing will continue, but the episodes tomorrow and the day after will be brief, followed by a break on Christmas day, and then picking it right back up again! Stay tuned.