October, Don’t Hate Me, And Chip Come Lately

by Jim on 2012/10/20

[Jimbaux is a shadow of a soul.]

October Surprise

Although I’ve posted some “one-off” pictures on the Facebook fan page since then, this is the first time in nearly two months that I offer new (not “five years ago”) pictures here on the site itself.  The last post with new content was on the eve of Hurricane Isaac.

Only A Part Of The Other Me

(What, you’re not listening to today’s song?)  October has been a hell of a month so far, and I need a break before I myself break.  Thanks for the messages about the loss of our dear grandmother.  She had a heart of gold, taught us so much, and maybe you can see that I have inherited some of her stubbornness and was using it even right about the time of her death.  As you might expect, I have plenty more to say about all of it than I’m going to take the time to do here.  Don’t I always have something to say?  Aren’t I very much like my grandmother?

Foam, Please

A friend asked the other day if I’ve really been foaming at all lately.  The answer is that I haven’t very much at all, and I wonder if some of it is by choice, as I don’t seem to want to do it much now.  That could mean any number of things, and maybe knowledge of what those things are is not necessary, but, whatever the case, I caught Chip on Friday afternoon, and, after the few weeks I’ve had, work madness, interviewing both US senators serving Louisiana, and other craziness best not described, I was surely happy to see Chip, who had been on vacation the week before.

Plenty of History Here

Here we see Chip’s train – the Union Pacific’s LLD51 – move as far west as it will move today and about as far west as it ever moves.  I’m standing at Federal Avenue in Morgan City, and the train is about at the Fourth Street crossing.  Do you see the milepost 80 at left?  That’s the aptly named Railroad Avenue at left, paralleling the track.  We are about a half-mile east of the Atchafalaya River, and that is historically significant because this was as far west as the railroad – the New Orleans, Opelousas & Great Western – went for the first 20 years of its existence, and to the right of about where I’m standing was the beginning of the long-gone loop track that was used to turn trains and equipment around here before the line was extended further westward.

Also, in Chip’s earliest days of railroading on the Southern Pacific Railway, for whom he started working in April 1968, he and his crew would sleep in the caboose just to the left of where I am standing on now-gone trackage.  The tank car in the above picture is a load of molasses from Raceland Raw Sugars, and the hoppers (except for the ADM hopper which is just along for the ride since it was in the yard track with the rest of the cars at Avondale) are empties from MTI in Raceland.

Speaking of Chip, here’s the veteran railroader attaching the Raceland pickup to the eastbound New Iberia tonnage in the Morgan City scale track, and those are the only two tasks that his train did on this day.

Those 18 cars of New Iberia tonnage – 17 carbon black loads and one Abbeville rice load – had sat in the scale track since Sunday, five days.  For whatever reason – mainly, the lack of any other work to do this far west – this pickup was not made on Wednesday.

Yes, Patterson Tubular has not received any  loads since Wednesday 10 October, and there’s apparently not much happening at Boeuf either.  I wonder why.

Don’t you love Chip’s smile?  You did see him three weeks ago at the gas plant at Paradís, which hasn’t had much business either lately.  Here we see Chip climbing back on the GMTX 2625 after coupling the cuts and attaching the hoses, soon to go back into the scale track to get the entire train to leave town.

Not only was Chip’s train not busy, but neither was the rest of the railroad, it seemed, as he got a warrant all the way back to CTC Live Oak.

A New Shot At An Old Location

I have shot pictures at Bayou Ramos over the last decade, but I don’t recall ever shooting an eastbound train there or from the eastern side of the bayou.  Since the train is moving southeastward at this location, and since this is late on a fall afternoon, this is about the only place that’s well lit that we can see this train.  As I thought about how Chip was like my grandmother in some ways, and as I thought about the temporary nature of all things, including the oak tree before my eyes, with the pollutants flowing through the waterways of our fragile deltaic ecosystem under perpetual threat from man-made forces here at the end of the biggest river system on the continent, and including my grandmother, myself, all of my hopes, dreams, and problems, and you and all of your hopes, dreams, and problems, this was the result:

That’s definitely not all that I have to say now, and it’s definitely not all that I have to see now, but it’s all that I have the time to share.  What can you share?



{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 nitro October 21, 2012 at 03:44

I can share the good moments standing on a bridge with you on a warm humid morning waiting on a csx train on my first time foaming , also standing waiting on an ns job in pull into Oliver yard , how I wish my schedule would permit that again , now since I have a decent camera , the Deacon nitro


2 sataraid1 October 22, 2012 at 22:56

Okay, that picture of Chip peeking across the nose of the locomotive may be the best one yet. I am envious.


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