BNSF’s Last Pre-Isaac Stand On The MudBug Sub

by Jim on 2012/08/27

[Jimbaux wants you to experience the warmth before you go.]

Hurricane Isaac is on its way.  On Sunday afternoon, I photographed what appeared to be a combination of a normal CSX-to-KCS movement on the New Orleans Public Belt Railway and an effort to drag cars from the low-lying France Yard – and it’s outside the floodwall in addition to being low – to NOPB’s Cotton Warehouse Yard.  A little while later, an effort to procure some jugged water for the oncoming storm yielded a less-than-satisfactory result.

This afternoon (Monday), the last pre-Isaac action on the BNSF’s Lafayette Subdivision took place.  Perry reported three westbound Union Pacific trains earlier in the day through New Iberia, and I saw the last three westbound trains – all BNSF trains – shortly before dusk.

The Third-To-Last Train

Well, not of all time, but of life pre-Isaac, and it’s the M-CSXLAL, the solid interchange train from the CSX that originates in CSX’s Gentilly Yard in New Orleans.  Here it is at Chacahoula.

Foreign power is not usual on BNSF trains here.

The Second-To-Last Train

Comint indicated that there were two trains behind this one, and the first one was doing some work at Schriever.  Could it be making a normal pickup?  Or could it be grabbing as many loose cars as it can to get them out of the path of the storm?

I got to Schriever and saw an enormous train in the siding, and it was doing some work that I did not stick around to understand or photograph, but its length made me think that it was indeed picking up loose cars as I had thought.  I’m really not sure, though.

The Last Train

There was only one place that I could really see and photograph this train, since darkness would soon fall: Thibodaux Junction.  The problem is that almost all of this area is now private property.  It was less so five years ago when I was able to shoot it in the last two images in the 30 July 2007 post, but it’s even worse now.  This image rendered in this wicked aspect ratio was all that I could do, and I will post a larger version on the Facebook fan page shortly:

That’s the weekly BNSF stack train out of New Orleans – the S-NWOSCO (Stack – New Orleans to Southern California On-Dock) – sitting east of the east siding switch Schriever, my friends.

In this train’s wake, BNSF maintenance crews went and deactivated all of the crossing signals.

Isaac Thoughts

Some of you out there in Jimbauxland (people I don’t know personally) have written to me in the last couple of days expressing concern about the storm, and I have not had any time to respond; so, I’ll do it now.

First, thank you.  Second, remember that I’ve been through several of these things before.  In plenty of ways, this is really reminding of Hurricane Gustav four years ago this very weekend.  Third, I’m not in any real danger here, being somewhat accustomed to these things, and this not expected to be a really big storm anyway.  My best guess is that this storm will be more of an enormous inconvenience than a real dangerous or problematic event.  I’ll be okay.  I appreciate the concerns and thoughts, but the rest of you probably have your own sets of real world problems that you alone are adept at addressing.  The worst that will happen is that I will be out of electricity an internet for an indefinite time, which means that you’ll get a break from my photographic stupidity for awhile.



{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Donovan August 27, 2012 at 21:36

It’s very nice that you were able to catch the last trains leaving out of New Orleans today. I have been busy here, getting things ready for when the storm arrives. I missed the return of Union Pacific’s LLS14 to Eunice today, sadly, but i’ll save that moment for another time. Im curious as to why they MoW crews deactivated the crossings. Maybe to keep them from being short-circuited should any water rise up to them, which wouldn’t surprise me with all the low land over there.

Be safe, Jimbaux!


2 eric john monier August 28, 2012 at 06:44

i heard the dispatcher issuing track warrants to a few trains but that was before 3p.m. then i was at my parents’ house ~4:30-5:00 and heard another one passing through raceland.


3 eric john monier August 28, 2012 at 06:47

i do remember the dispatcher talking about a train parked at schriever too.


4 Brian Frierdich August 28, 2012 at 08:23

So are you playing R E O Speedwagons “Riding the Storm Out” on the sound system?
Take care and enjoy!
Brian (High and dry in Dupo, Il)


5 Tom Beckett August 28, 2012 at 10:21

We(JB Hunt) have been pulling equipment back from the coast since last week, and are now working with FEMA to stage relief supplies in the Atlanta area for the aftermath. Looks like everyone is in hunker down mode for the duration. My non stop monitoring of The Weather Channel tells me you’re probably right about the enormous inconvenience, since it’s slow moving and expected to drop up to 20″ of rain in some places. We’re actually looking forward to the rain here in Arkansas, where there has been almost none since June. Still, water is a powerful force, so be careful and we’ll see you when the lights are back on.


6 Nathan Kaufman August 29, 2012 at 05:47

Very random question based on this post here, but where did the Napoleonville Branch go? Since you backlink everything, I usually end up following them to see where they end up (it’s like that “do not push” button, however you invite the push on your blog).

Nathan Kaufman


7 brianna August 31, 2012 at 23:12

thanks for pictures…been trapped without power since tuesday night in the lower 9th of new orleans and a window broke and floor flooded…anyhow picturrs were bright spot of my day. finally walked to the quarter and chargedmy phone. sorry for errors, typing on a water damaged phone. thanks again. good luck in Nola.


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