Prior to Hurricane Katrina, The Mid-City Marine and I discussed the possibility of traveling to Rich Mountain together for one of the gatherings of railroad enthusiasts there, usually in late October and late February, to observe, chase, and photographs on one of the most scenic portions of the Kansas City Southern Railway. As you might have read from my “New Orleans Introduces To The World” piece, Katrina obliterated our plans to live near each other, as she blew my pal and his wife to Georgia.
So, we didn’t travel to Rich Mountain in October 2005 as planned (even though I alone went), we didn’t go to Rich Mountain in February 2006 (even though I went alone), and we didn’t go to Rich Mountain in October 2006 (even though I went, with someone else), but, despite his living in Georgia, we made it happen in February 2007 when he came in a rental sedan to New Orleans to meet me (my old truck was falling apart at the time), and we traveled to the mountain together!
What you will see here are 25 images from Friday 23 February 2007, the first of three days of our trip.
Likely, we made an obligatory stop at the Whataburger on the northern side of Shreveport.
The first time that we took out the camera was at Shoreline, north of Shreveport, to see this tied-down southbound train.
We’re right at the end of the time when you could still sometimes see spartan-cab power on regular road freight trains on the KCS.
Not long after these pictures were taken, the SD40-2s and their brethren that remained on the KCS roster were relegated mostly to work train and local duty.
Next, more than two-and-a-half hours later, we are in Arkansas, in the interesting community of Ashdown, where we see this southbound loaded coal train off of the BNSF Railway.
Most of the coal trains here have a mix of KCS and either, depending on the road on which they originated, UP or BNSF locomotives.
I believe that, due to the more forgiving track profile south of here, Ashdown is one place where some of the locomotives on these coal trains get removed.
One of the many reasons that I find Ashdown interesting is that it is the junction of the KCS and the Kiamichi Railroad, and, near the junction, we saw what appeared to be a parked interchange train coming from the west.
This trackage is formerly of the St. Louis – San Francisco Railway.
Next, another two-and-a-half hours later, we’re on Rich Mountain itself, and it is almost dusk, but there is still a little bit of daylight left to make some hand-held images.
Here comes a train.
There is my pal, observing the Grinstein Green SD70MAC.
I like that paint scheme. Here’s a reminder that all caption information can be found in the filenames, which can be read by positioning your mouse arrow over the image.
Next, we arrive in Heavener, and, with just enough daylight left, we get the neat old locomotives on this neat H-train.
This was a southbound train – the H-KCSH – parked, probably not yet recrewed, and probably already done its Heavener work, ready to climb the mountain.
The H-trains – the H-KCSH and the H-SHKC – operate between Kansas City and Shreveport and consist entirely of traffic that is set out and picked up between those two cities; so, the H-KCSH that leaves Kansas City daily arrives in Shreveport with a completely different set of cars, setting out and picking up for local trains and shortlines along the way.
The “H” stands for “haulage.”
I like the tree in the above shot. Also, make a mental note of those covered tables at the far right of the frame, as they will play a role in tomorrow’s story.
Okay, now, the train is moving.
A big treat in this train for me is these Airslide hopper cars.
These were common on H-trains; what were these things carrying, and where were they originating?
These likely will always be tied with old-fashioned railroad boxcars for my favorite kinds of cars, since my youth involved seeing plenty of these things – many with railroad logos – carrying refined sugar.
Two months earlier, I had seen some of these things on a KCSdeMéxico train.
Now, with this train leaving, and the skies getting dark, it’s time to head to the fuel racks to get a few shots there before heading to Poteau to the hotel.
I used the tripod for these images.
I can’t remember if we first ran into Shawn Levy – a.k.a., The Shadow Warrior – here this evening or here the next morning, but I’m thinking that it is the latter.
In any case, regular readers of this site should remember that some of the story of the next day was already told shortly after Shawn’s death in 2013 when I told a story of his life, how he lived it, how it influenced me, what we can learn from it, and some of the story of that day, but please stay tuned for tomorrow’s images; yes, some of them you have already seen, but there will be more!
Now, it was time to head to the hotel in Poteau; it’s possible that we went to Braum’s that night, but I don’t know.