A Day On The KCS In New Orleans – 2 December 2007

by Jim on 2012/12/02

[Jimbaux is the master of disaster, wondering if all his dreams are dead inside.]

Hosting A Canadian-American Shadowing the KCS For a Day

BobE is a big KCS fan, and he wanted to see everything on the KCS in New Orleans that he could in one day here, which gave me as his host the excuse to shadow the KCS all day (at least the whole daylight part of the day), something that I had not done before and have not done since.  Such is how we spent our time on Sunday 2 December 2007, and shown here are some things that no longer exist in the forms shown here and are no longer on the property, including the KCS 605 seen leading this inbound Baton Route Turn at Central Avenue.

Do you see the milepost at right?  We’re actually on the Canadian National Railway’s former Illinois Central Railway mainline from Chicago to New Orleans.  The KCS uses a few miles of IC mainline track to access New Orleans and its own yard there (where we will follow this train) ever since the mid-1980s when its own mainline through Kenner and Metairie was removed because of the problems created with it and automobile traffic there.

The KCS 605, which was a regular in the New Orleans area, left the railroad’s roster a few years later, and it wound up on the roster of the shortline Nebraska Northeastern Railway where it now works on that railroad as NENE 605.

Now it’s time to head over to KCS West Yard, or what is officially known today as KCS New Orleans Yard, and see the New Orleans road switcher crew pull some cars out of the Baton Rouge Turn to prepare to take them to the New Orleans Public Belt Railway, which means we’ll see another thing of the past: yellow former UP units with KCS nose patches.  Do you remember these things?

Yes, we’re looking at job RNO105 using the KCS 917, building a cut to bring to the NOPB.  What ever became of these things?  Here’s another view, this one a more side-view allowing you to see the crossed-out “UNION PACIFIC” lettering on the long hood, from L&A Road, named for KCS predecessor the Louisiana & Arkansas Railway.

Well, that’s great, but now it’s time for us to go get set up by Cooter Brown’s so that we can shoot this neat move on NOPB trackage, and here we are!

The Mississippi River is just to the left of us here, and that’s Leake Avenue on the right.  (Don’t forget that you can get caption information for each image on this site by simply holding your cursor over the picture.)  The train, though eastbound, is on the westbound mainline of the NOPB.  KCS crews no longer operate here, as all such movements are now made by NOPB crews.  Here we are, below, at Walnut Street.

That’s the US Army Corps of Engineers building at the left frame of the image.

I can’t quite remember what happened next, but we learned that the crew and the locomotive of the train that we just saw would return to the KCS yard without any cars and would then take the outbound M-CXSH train (the train of CSX interchange traffic bound for Shreveport with setouts along the way) and drop it somewhere, either at Frellsen or Norco.

Here’s the light power returning on seldom-used KCS trackage connected the KCS yard and the NOPB:

This track usually sees only one movement in each direction per day.  Below, you can see the KCS yard in the far distance as a certain “Hot Sauce” peers out of the cab as the locomotive is stopped for a red signal at the IC diamond.

At least the lack of cars behind this locomotive allowed us to see the neat “KCS” patch on the yellow locomotive.

The wait at the interlocking gave us time to get back to the yard to see this:

Yes, that’s the skyline of downtown New Orleans in the rear with Pete Messina’s passenger car restoration shop at left in the old KCS locomotive house.

Mays Tower and the #54

It’s now getting late, and there’s only enough daylight left for one more train.  The RNO105 crew has boarded the M-CXSH – the old #54 – and will soon be blasting off out of town.  BobE and I set up at Little Farms Avenue in Harahan to get this shot of the train coming past CN Mays Tower.

Do you see the tower?  Do you see the CN switch job at right?  The KCS train at left is on the north-south mainline to Memphis and Chicago via Jackson, but at right unseen (to which the crossover attaches) is the old “Valley Line” that goes to Baton Rouge today and went as far as Memphis until the 1970s.  Here’s a closer view of the train, a very traditional and unimaginative, even if “correctly” lit, image:

Well, that’s a good way to end the day, isn’t it?  especially if “Hot Sauce” acknowledges the foamers, as he is seen doing below.

I’m glad that I did that all-day shadowing of the KCS in New Orleans on 2 December 2007, and I hope that you are glad that I did it, but I’m glad that I don’t do that anymore!  I mean, yesterday’s post with “Barney” leading the NOGC grain train in Gretna, with all of the time it took to make that post, apparently earned me $.05 of advertising revenue.  How much food will that buy me?  Oh, well, I guess I can’t yet graduate from the proletariat.

Thanks for taking this peek into the past with me.  We can learn from the past, can’t we?  What can you learn from the past?  What have you learned from views into the past, like this one and like others?



{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 NotAFoamer December 2, 2012 at 17:17

I like the skyline shot – it gives a better feel for the landscape.


2 Ray Duplechain December 3, 2012 at 03:19

Brings back memories of all the various views of the city from a locomotive cab. I would never recall or invision these if it were not for your photos and comments. Thanks…good job! Beneficial for “ole rails”; lotsa memories.


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