NOGC Day, Street-Running Hat Trick – 27 December 2005

by admin on 2015/12/27

Hey, everybody!  These pictures were taken on Tuesday 27 December 2005, a day that I apparently devoted in its entirety (meaning, all of the daylight part of the day) to foaming the New Orleans & Gulf Coast Railway, mainly in the Gretna area, in order to photograph all that could be photographed and know all that could be known about operations.  This was, as was often the case in late 2005, a day of firsts for me, and it was the day that I learned a specific aspect of some operation patterns of the NOGC.

We start our morning in West Harvey, where the NOGC would park much of its power overnight.

The NOGC still does often park power here, though I don’t think usually this much, even though there is a little yard office there now as of 2013.

There’s Barney!  There, too, are three switcher locomotives.

The next thing that I know that I did was go to Waggaman 10 miles to the west and got this shot, 42 minutes after the prior image, at CTC Live Oak on the UP Livonia Subdivision.

The reason that I went as far west as Avondale was that I wanted a peek at UP’s Morgan City local (the LLS51) so that I could see if it had any Lockport cars.  It did, five boxcars to be specific.  One car was a British Columbia Railway car!  Another was CN, and another was GTW but with the URL for CN’s website painted on it.  So, these would be set out at Raceland on this night, and I think that I know where I’ll be tomorrow!  We’ll get to that, though, and it will be busy enough, as you will see.

Okay.  Eighty minutes after that, we have our first action of the day, and my first telephoto images with frontal lighting of street-running on Madison Street, but, more specifically, my first shot of a southbound train on Madison Street.

You might recall that I photographed a train on Madison Street for the first time on 17 October 2005, though I lacked a telephoto lens at the time, and it would have been too dark that moment anyway to have the effect that you see in these images.  You might also recall that, five days before these pictures, I got my second train on Madison Street with the grain train that moved through here, but those were side lit, which would be the case of any train moving in that direction under sunny skies.  So, these two images here are my first frontally-lit telephoto images on Madison Street and my first images of a southbound train on Madison Street, the former being mostly a function of the latter.

I guess that this was trash pick-up day, and maybe there was still plenty of Katrina-related trash here – and maybe plenty of Christmas-related trash too.

So, this was the first time that I photographed a train heading south out of Gouldsboro Yard, and I chased it, getting some more new shots in the process.

Here we are in Terrytown, the above picture and the below picture being taken from the same spot.

Most (and, perhaps, all) of the cars in this 16-car train are bound for the Chevron-Texaco Oak Point refinery south of Belle Chasse; you’ve seen some of my photographs of switching being done there.

Next, in Belle Chasse, I set up to get the train coming through the Intracoastal Waterway bridge.

Do you see the headlight and the water tower – the same one that you saw in the Terrytown pictures – in the above image?

The above image shows the northbound lanes of Belle Chasse Highway going over the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway; the southbound lanes go through a tunnel!

Next, we’re in Belle Chasse proper, one of the few times that I’ve ever photographed here.

You can see the train leaning into a curve; it’s a sharp curve, and it took the train in a direction that made almost any photograph that I could take of it backlit.  So, I broke off of the chase.

Almost an hour later, I’m back in Gretna, and a reconnoitering of Gouldsboro Yard suggested that a train was about to leave westbound through Gretna on 4th Street.  So, that’s where I went.  Here is what the street looks like without a train.

So, for the second time today, I photograph street-running on the NOGC, this time on 4th Street, as a pair of the yellow switchers move what I figured out then – probably on this day – to be the non-local traffic, meaning mostly Belle Chasse NO&LC traffic, meaning not traffic that needs to be switched before being interchanged with Union Pacific in Westwego.

How’s that?  The train had 19 cars; the last three were gondolas, one of which was of the Chicago & Northwestern Railway!

About 90 minutes later, we’re back at roughly the same spot, and here comes our second westbound train of the afternoon – and likely of the entire day – down 4th Street.

I figured out that this second train is the “local” train – which is a funny thing to say, since all trains on shortlines like this one are locals.  However, the term is still instructive because “local” is a relative term.  The earlier westbound went straight through from Gouldsboro to UP interchange in Westwego, whereas this second train will stop at local industries – mostly or even entirely Kinder-Morgan in Harvey – between those two points to do work; so, it’s likely that all of the cars in this second train are bound for being spotted at an industry this afternoon.  Because of the direction of the switches, it made more sense for the NOGC to drag all of its inbound carload traffic to Gouldsboro Yard and sort it there, even if some of those cars would come right back west the same day without being loaded or unloaded.  (I don’t know if this still happens, since I don’t know the purpose of the new yard in Westwego-Marrero – called, weirdly enough, “Harvey Yard” – and if it now sorts inbound traffic.)

That is three trains doing street-running in Gretna on one day; I don’t know of any other time that I did the hat-trick of photographing three trains doing street-running in one day.

So, next, we are in Harvey, as our train moves across the Harvey Canal.

The Kinder-Moran tank farm is just to the left of the frame, and the train is in the process of stopping to work there.

All three of those images were taken from the same spot!  Next, we move further west and into Marrero for a longer view.

I guess that I figured that this was all for the day at this point.  I have no idea what I did in the nearly three hours between the above picture and the below picture, but this is how we end the day.


Two years to the day later, I got several pictures in central Mississippi, particularly along the Kansas City Southern Railway’s former Mid-South mainline.


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Steve Boyko December 27, 2015 at 17:10

Great street running shots!


2 Henry Dell January 16, 2016 at 18:24

A fantastic collection of very interesting photos!


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