Deviant Activity At Raceland, And From Raceland

by Jim on 2011/08/28

[Jimbaux got skillz, no doubt, ya hurd.]

“BNSF 1064 west” was audible on AAR Channel 12 as I was driving, deviating, from the ghetto to the farm for the weekend, a weekend that would see one of Raceland’s finest get married, a weekend that would see much of the town of Raceland vacate the town for the event held elsewhere.

Sweet!  That’s enough for me to deviate from my trajectory, ’cause y’all know I can get a good shot ’cause y’all know I got skillz.  Unless this is a repaint of which I don’t know, this should be an increasingly rare Heritage 1 painted locomotive.  I do believe that the H1 scheme is the best of the three paint schemes that BNSF has ever had.  Well, honestly, I believe that the Oracle of Omaha should tell Matt Rose and his boys to deviate from the characterless present name of the company and just rename the railroad “Santa Fe” and paint it all red-and-silver; now that the BNSF Railway is following me on Twitter, maybe someone over there will listen!

Mais, That Don’t Look Like A Train

One of my goals this fall is to document the fascinating sugarcane harvest in southeastern Louisiana, which is set to start any day now and will last until about Christmas or so.  Here are my first efforts at this while waiting for the train to show up.

The machine at the far left is a harvester.  The billboard in the background below is along US Highway 90 from which I had just deviated, whereas I am taking the picture from the old road, the former US 90 right next to the track where they both intersect with Kraemer Road.

Well, that’s enough of that for now.  It’s time for some trains, time to deviate from photographing sugarcane equipment.

Mais, That Don’t Look Like A Cigar Band Or A Swoosh

. . . And that’s exactly why I am here.  The “Heritage I” paint scheme is BNSF’s first (of three) paint schemes, and I think that it’s the best.  It only lasted for a few years after BNSF’s inception in the mid-1990s; before the end of that decade, BNSF deviated from this nice paint scheme and introduced the “Heritage II” paint which is based on the old Santa Fe red-silver-yellow “Warbonnet” paint with the cigar band across the nose, a paint scheme that is very cool, but not when the colors are replaced with BNSF’s orange and green colors, which look much better in Heritage 1 like this:

The second locomotive is in the Heritage 2 scheme.  The point of my above statements is that because the Heritage 1 paint scheme, which you see on the lead locomotive above, was replaced before the end of the 1990s, locomotives painted in that scheme are increasingly rare, which is why I’m really happy with the above catch, and why I was willing to make a slight deviation and burn some time to catch him.

I’m not sure what train this is, but there are only about two or three westbound BNSF manifest trains on this line, all terminating in Lafayette where block-swapping takes place.  Anyway, for the above shot, we’re on top of the truck (for the only time on this day) just like for the recent shot of UP’s MNSEW here, but, this time, for some deviation, I’m on the western side of the crossing.

The Chip Local?

Comint revealed that Union Pacific local train, the Morgan City Local, the LLS51, was at Raceland on the mainline, that the BNSF train you just saw was going to go into the hole, that the LLS51 would then get a “work-between” warrant between mileposts 39 and 40, shove into the siding from the east, do his work and make his pickup there, and that both trains would meet the eastbound Sunset Limited there.  Got it?

Mais, That Don’t Look Like Chip

It looks like Chip got a tan and gained a few pounds!  Actually, that’s not entirely true.  (Duh.)  As it eventuated, Chip had taken the day off, had deviated, which surprised his replacement as much as it surprised me.

Not-Chip was protecting the shove as his 12-car train backed into the siding.  He had one empty gondola right behind the power and 12 empty UP-family hoppers from North Boeuf, and he was in Raceland to pick up 11 loaded carbon black hoppers from the L&D.  Exactly why this interchange was being made in Raceland is still a mystery to me.

Below, we see Not-Chip radioing to Engineer Ken to resume shoving the train into the siding, which, at 2.2 miles in length, is the longest on the MudBug Sub, which is why you can’t even see the now-parked BNSF train at the other end of it.

Yeah, I erred in cutting off Non-Chip’s feet in the above picture.

Mais, That Don’t Look Like The HLCX 3863

I told you last time that it would be the last you’d see of the HLCX 3863, and according to a comment posted by Jeff at the bottom of that article, it has left Avondale too.  Steve The Levee Rider alerted me to some of his own photographic evidence of how the unit in question called the area around Opelousas home last summer.  So, it has a history around here.  Anyway, below, you get an idea of what replaced it:

Conductor Non-Chip, who seemed to have plenty of Chip’s professionalism (in the past, when Chip has been on vacation or has taken a day off, some of his replacements have really seemed to not know what they were doing), is seen above giving hand signals to Engineer Ken, whom you can see at the top right in the cab looking back to receive the signals.  To be more specific, the conductor is making a circular motion with his hands.  Although handset radios were invented a long time ago, crews find it easier in situations like these (when the trainmen can see each other at close distance) to use hand signals; in fact, some engineers even get upset if a conductor wants to use the radio when he’s hanging off of the locomotive!

If you’re wondering what they’re doing, another clue lies at the very bottom of both of the above and below pictures.  You can see that he’s rolling over a switch.  He’s just set the train out in the siding, the track that he’s on, and he’s deviating from the siding as he’s moving over the switch to the Lockport Branch, where he will make the 11-car pickup from the L&D.  Below, he’s now moving toward the camera on the branch track.

After this, he pulled the carbon black cut out, which necessitated his getting back onto the mainline, but once he shoved his cut back to the train, coupled to it, attached the air hoses, and shoved all the way into the siding, he gave up his warrant to DS 209 so that the eastbound Sunset Limited would be free to pass.

Mais, That Don’t Look Like A Union Pacific Train

Sometimes, as I was reminded this evening, big locomotives, in this case of the Union Pacific Railway, that normally haul anything other than human beings, sometimes need to deviate from those tasks and actually haul people, as was the case here, apparently the result of a failure of one of the Amtrak locomotives around El Paso, Texas, which is why this train was running about five hours late.

Though events like what you see above have happened before, and though I’ve known about them and even seen pictures myself, this is the first time I ever photograph such a thing.  We’re definitely deviating from my usual passenger train pictures here.  Not only that, but since the Union Pacific runs directional running here, you’ll also never see any eastbound UP trains here other than the Morgan City Local, speaking of which . . .

Yeah, not only has the sun ducked behind some bothersome cirrus clouds now, but you can also see why I despise those nasty carbon black hopper cars.  A train with nothing but those is just one step above light power, in my book; I’d rather a bunch of empty flat cars.

Mais, That Don’t Look As Good As Last Time You Shot Here, Jimbaux

Yes, in this case, we’ve taken a deviation for the worse, and it’s not just because of sunlight and the rolling stock.

For anyone who still cares, I finally got around to replying to the responses to my question about what I believe made picture #4 in my second-to-last post, a post with shots from this same location, so cool.  See my reply in the comments section of that article.  Once you read all of that, you’ll understand why the below picture of UP hoppers is slightly less cool than it would have been had I not deviated from my method here last time.

Well, that was really enough of that.  I got my sweaty, filthy self out of my sitting position in the very finely granulated dust of that sugarcane field because I had to get myself to the farm and get showered, for the next day, I’d head west with the family on a pilgrimage to see one of the finest of Raceland, the town you see in this and the previous post, get married.  My cousin Bug tied the knot west of here in the heart of Acadiana, and much of the town of Raceland was there, though a mere bug he is not, much like Jimbaux, a man of several talents who rose (or was raised) from the sweet sugarcane  fields (almost) that you see in this post.  May you and your lovely bride have a wonderful life together!


Now that I have a life again, I’m not only behind on postings to Jimbaux’s Journal, but also in plugging the work of my friends as well.  I’ll try to make up for it somewhat here, though, in a few cases, I’m posting links from established media.

Noe’s Maternity Shoot

Like Melanie, I’m not much of a fan of photography of pregnancy, but my girl Noe did an excellent job on this with one of her clients recently.  Check it out, and note that she has a Facebook fan page for her services too.  Make sure that you tell her that Jimbaux sent you!

An Auto Wreck On The Plains

Joy got some good shots of an unfortunate event in Oklahoma a few days ago.

A Train Wreck On The Plains

Have y’all seen these wicked photos of the wreck of the California Zephyr in Nebraska a few days ago?  Seriously, mister crane operator in Benkelman, Nebraska, how dumb can you be?  Seriously!  Did you think that just because you were tearing down the elevator that that meant that the track next to it was also no longer used?  Wow!

Landing At LAX

The Thirty-Six sent me this really cool compressed video with musical accompaniment of a landing at LAX, complete with captions showing different landmarks on the ground.  Cool, eh?

Is Desalination The Solution For Texas And Other Places?

I don’t have a dog right in the middle of the fight, but I am very concerned about the situation with the drought in Texas, as well as other similar situations worldwide.  A recent article from National Geographic discusses the desalination issue.

Do The Laws Of Physics Apply To Your Decision-Making Too?

In one of his recent posts, Grumpy explores this issue which I’ve been pondering for years.  Maybe it’s true that everything that happens had to happen, but the best part of that post is his saying that “this would mean that you had no more choice in reading this sentence than I did in writing it.”  Yes, indeed.  That’s deep stuff.  It means simultaneously that regret is indeed a sheer waste of time and that, paradoxically, you have no control of your tendency to regret things.  Wow.  Yuck.  Maybe it means that to deviate is merely to follow course.  Wow.

BC Rail

We lost a really good one when the British Columbia Railway ceased being a separate identity in the middle of the last decade, as scenes like this become increasingly rare.

To Conclude With Skillz, To Deviate From This Deviation

That’s enough plugging, except for one thing; if you ain’t on the Facebook fan page for this site, you might want to be, as every update (two-to-four per week, usually) gets posted on the page and will show in your news feed.


Promote Your Page Too

Yeah, I want to thank my homeboy and fellow whoadie The Cajun Porkchop for turning me on to Gang Starr, the artist behind today’s song.  (What, you didn’t click on the “Skillz” link at the very top of this post?)  Did y’all know that The Cajun Porkchop is, in addition to being a foamer and a photographer, also a rapper?  Like Jimbaux, Porkchop has only one published rap song, a really good one just published a week before the Saints won the Super Bowl last year.

Now, as far as I know, Porkchop and I are the only two human beings on Earth who are Cajun-foamer-photographer-rappers!  Neat, eh?

Like Jimbaux, Porkchop is working on writing, recording, and publishing more rap songs.  If my plans take hold, “Write It Down” (a parody of “Wipe Me Down” by Louisiana rapper Lil Boosie) will not be my only recorded and published rap song for very long.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this deviation.

Skillz . . . Skillz . . . Skillz


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Nancy August 29, 2011 at 17:28

Great pics, James. Are you home for good?


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