8 August 2001 in Chama . . . 7 August 2006 in Lockport and Schriever

by Jim on 2011/08/08

[Hey, Mister, can you help Jimbaux?  He’s a loner on the run; he’s just looking for tomorrow, and he ain’t going to hurt no one.]

Ah, yes, Jon Bon Jovi’s Blaze Of Glory album, something that I associate with the Colorado (and northern New Mexico) narrow gauge railroad system, for reasons of it being very new music the first time I explored that area as young teenager.  I’ve never actually seen the movie, and I don’t particularly care to see it, for I’m afraid that it might spoil the music for me!

The Past, 2001 and 2006

Today, I present to you something very different here on Jimbaux’s Journal.  Today, I present to you the oldest of my photographs that I have yet shown here on Jimbaux’s Journal, only the third time I present scanned film here.  (I went digital in the summer of 2005.)

The Land Of Enchantment

The state of New Mexico has a very special place in my heart.  Indeed, it is a “land of enchantment,” and Jimbaux spent plenty of summers there as a teenager starting in the 1990s with family.

I Don’t Ever Seem To Get Enough; Still, I Guess I Can’t Complain

(You’re not listening to today’s song?)  The sad thing about the photograph that I’m presenting here today is that it was the last time I went to New Mexico.  I’ve wanted to get back there very badly since then, but it hasn’t happened.  I hope that it will soon, but, as the song says, I guess I can’t complain, since I’ve been able to visit, explore, get to know, and imbibe many different places since then.

We see below the morning of 8 August 2001 in the hamlet of Chama, New Mexico, a place that is a living museum, a truly amazing place.  This is a well preserved part of a once vast network of narrow gauge railroads mostly in southwestern Colorado, but also in the extreme northern parts of New Mexico.  For those uninitiated about railroads, “standard gauge” in North America (and much of Europe) is 4 feet and 8.5 inches between the rails.  The gauge for the former Denver & Rio Grande Western line you see below is three feet, which was good for building railroad lines into the steep mountains.

Why was I standing on top of a boxcar?  Well, as a few of you already know, Jimbaux is something of a carpenter too, and I was part of a group of volunteers restoring antique equipment.  It was a great honor to be working not only on this old equipment, but also with people from not only around the country but also around the world!  My work partner for that week was an older man from Australia, but I do not remember his name.  One thing I do remember well was that since I was the young buck there, I was the one on top of the boxcar pulling up with a rope the part of the roofwalk with the grab irons that we had pre-assembled on the ground!  Fun times, and I wish I really wish that I could return.

I Didn’t Find A Truth; I Only Found An End

One thing that we see above is some rather raw photographic talent; if I were standing atop that boxcar now, I’d compose the photograph a little bit differently.  Care to guess what I find deficient about the above picture?

No?  Well, the main problem, and the only problem that I see with it, is that I left a little bit too much dead space between the brake wheel and the locomotive.  This could have been corrected had I merely squatted a bit lower to close the distance between the two objects (or stood a bit further back to achieve a similar result.)

It should be noted, too, that as I’ve recently written, I got my first SLR camera in May 2001 with the help of my father.  It was a Nikon N80, and, thanks to digital technology, it was soon obsolete.  However, I had been doing SLR photography since the summer of 1998 with my father’s 1960s Pentax camera; coincidentally, the first time I used it was in these same places in New Mexico!

‘Cause What You Get In Life, You Take It

I lament that I can’t make it back to the Land of Enchantment and to the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railway, but I should not fret.

Summer 2006 On The Branch

Since I posted a picture above that is also of a subject near (or maybe far) and dear to me, I ought to post some pictures taken five years minus one day later of a subject that it is indeed both near and dear to me: the Lockport Branch.

They Say Good Things Come To Those Who Wait, But It’s Life That Goes So Fast

As I wrote in February the first and only time I’ve yet featured the Lockport Branch on Jimbaux’s Journal, the Lockport Branch is probably not long for this world; there hasn’t been a train on it in about two-and-a-half years.  In all likelihood, the only train that will ever run on it again is the one that pulls up the rails.

On 7 August 2006, just a little bit more than a year before Valentine Paper in Lockport, to which the four boxcars in the below picture were bound, shut down for the last time, I snapped the below pictures in a place where a train has not run in more than two years, a place where vegetation is reclaiming the track much like the sugar cane is seemingly swallowing the train seen below.

Don’t you love how the train appears to be just wading through the sugar cane field.  Actually, the train is about to make a very sharp to turn to its left; the track goes out to the right frame of the picture, but you can’t see it behind the soon-to-be-harvested sugar cane!

Winners Are Losers, And Losers Will Have To Face . . . All Those Yesterdays

Further down the line, the same train (on the same day) is seen at one of my favorite photo locations on the line, approaching Myrtle Drive.

I’m not even sure if the LDRR 1851 is still on L&D property, or, if it is, is still in that cool red-silver-black Mountain Laurel paint scheme that I miss so much!  Below, we see the going-away shot of the train from essentially the same location.

That’s about where the photo record ends that day on the Lockport Branch.  I seem to recall that I had a dentist appointment that day, and that must be the reason why I abandoned chase of the train that day.

Apparently, after my dentist appointment, I got back by the tracks just in time to not only see the L&D Schriever job, the train you see above, arrive back in Schriever, but also to see the westbound Sunset Limited arrive there with the private car Hialeah on the rear.

Schriever is a flag stop, an unmanned station, the first stop the #1 makes after leaving New Orleans.

Have The Ghosts Of Justice Brought You Here To Me . . . To Taste The Barrel Of A Loaded Gun?

(You’re still not listening to today’s song?)  Thanks for accompanying me on this journey, not only into my past, but meaningful parts of it in meaningful places.  Remember, if you like what you see here, you might want to click on the below icon when logged into Facebook.


Promote Your Page Too

For those of you reaching this via some posting on some internet forum for railroads or photography, remember that I don’t post all updates there, especially those that don’t have anything to do with railroads, especially those groups specific to some railroad, area, or even a train (like the Sunset Limited.)  So, joining the Facebook fan page is, for now, the best way to be alerted to site updates.

Each Day You Kiss The Rising Sun

Thanks for stopping by and visiting.

All for now . . .


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Howard Bunte August 9, 2011 at 01:24

nice pic of the C&TSRR… with real steam still working (FOUR K-36s having been overhauled and now working on their new ‘boiler tube ‘ life… almost 2000 days of working high pressure steam)…
had a fire last season, having burned the Lobato trestle work wood superstructure, warping the tracks and damaging the iron crossmembers…all fixed now, opened late, but season is going along fine.
Ought to get out there, to see 4 living breathing steam locos, pride of Baldwin locomotive works… 1925…
nice pics, which I remember when you posted them LAST time… coming thru the ‘came…
and when you worked on the cars, for a day… and caught a bit of the fever which says, “you mean I can drive a thousand miles, pay my own bills, and get to actually TOUCH/work on/ these cars?”… where do I sign up?
your friend in hammering… HNB


2 Tom Becket August 9, 2011 at 11:30

I understand the pull of New Mexico. I first went there in 1982 on a trip to Arizona-I was driving out with a friend who was moving from Long Island to Phoenix-then again in 1984, and I was hooked. My next trip out was not til 1996, when I delivered a load of auto glass to a dealer in Albuquerque-a long dry spell for western travel, but when you live on the east coast and have limited resources, trips even as far as Ohio can be a stretch!! I went there several more times during the five years I worked for JB Hunt. While those trips were mostly just transit to other places, it was still good to get there. But I never gave up. The world has a way of coming around on you, and I knew at some point I’d get back there, if I just had some patience and planned. Now, living in Arkansas, it’s a lot closer. I’ve been there on weekend trips, as far as Belen over a three day weekend. Every time I go there, I discover some magical place that reminds me why it’s the Land of Enchantment, and why it has such appeal. Don’t give up on the idea. As unlikely as it may seem now, you’ll turn around some day and karma will smile on you, and you’ll be headed off to the west.

When I saw the item on the Lockport Branch, my first though was “Erie Lackawanna?? Cool!!” Silly me, wrong Lockport.


3 Patrick D. Champagne August 9, 2011 at 18:55

Hey, Jimbaux!!

This sure brings back memories. I sold a radio system to Louisiana & Delta RR when they first established themselves in Shriever. I can’t recall the name of the person with whom I was working, nor do I recall (I no longer have files to research any of my former customers) the name of the parent company, which was headquartered somewhere in New York. Is the LDRR still operating in the Schriever area?

The purchase was conducted in the depot shown in your pictures. I wish I could remember the name of the Manager with whom I was dealing, but I do remember him as a very amiable, hard working & conscientious person, AND last, but not least, knowledgeable in his profession.

Uncle Pat


4 EDITOR - Jimbaux August 9, 2011 at 20:37

Nonc Pat,

Interesting are the connections that my grandfather’s younger brother is making to this!

Let’s see if I can help you here. Just off the top of my head, The L&D was incorporated in about 1986 to work the former Southern Pacific branches. At that time, the Lockport Branch was not included, but also, at that time, both the Napoleonville Branch and Houma Branch radiated from Schriever. Both of those lines are now, sadly, gone, of course, and I fear that the Lockport Branch will suffer the same fate.

That the L&D’s Schriever operations ever used the ex-SP depot is news to me, but it makes sense, as the building it now uses on the other side of the mainline was then a brickyard (with rail access, of course) of some sort. As to your question of whether the L&D still operates in Schriever, well, you didn’t read well enough! 🙂

Indeed, the parent company of the L&D is based in New York, western New York to be specific. It is still today a part of Genessee & Wyoming Industries, a company that owns and operates shortline railroads around the world (US, Canada, Mexico, and Australia.)

Lastly, I’ll venture a strong guess that the manager with whom you worked then was the great Forrest L. Becht, who managed the L&D from its inception in the mid-1980s until about 2000. I believe, then, he went to manage some shortline in Arizona, but I can’t remember for sure. Regardless, after hearing about the man for years, partly from L&D crews who hold him in high regard (and it’s unusual for railroad crews to think of their managers in positive ways) and partly from his photography and literature, as he was something of a railroad enthusiast himself, I had the great pleasure of meeting Becht a few years ago at a slide show where both of us presented our own material. I believe he started his railroad career with the Santa Fe.




5 Steve Laser August 9, 2011 at 20:20

Thanks for posting that C&TS pic! I needed a fix. My first ride was in 2001. I like the pic just the way it is – you get a good look at that 3′ gauge track 🙂


6 John West September 2, 2011 at 00:21

I really like the picture of the train in the cane field.



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