The IAVLB at Baldwin, Louisiana, 29 January 2012

by Jim on 2013/01/29

The early afternoon of Sunday 29 January 2012 finds Union Pacific Railroad train IAVLB emerging from the siding in Baldwin, Louisiana, on the BNSF Railway’s Lafayette Subdivision, formerly of the Southern Pacific Railway, and appropriately, therefore, a patched SP locomotive – UP 6345 – is the sole power leading this intermodal train (hence the “I” prefix) from Avondale (hence the “AV” origin station code), just outside of New Orleans, to Long Beach, California (hence the “LB” destination station code.)

Jimbaux himself was returning from a glorious and memorable weekend of family in Acadiana, but he momentarily turned back to look from where he had come, where the IAVLB was going, off into the great distance, the west.

Great forests, plains, deserts, and mountains, this train would see over its 2,000-mile journey to the Pacific Coast via Lafayette, Houston, San Antonio, El Paso, and Tucson, and the containers would then cross the Pacific.  Now, this short train was passed, leaving Jimbaux in its wake, while Jimbaux gave the train the same treatment after taking one more picture.

Each has his own path, his own destination, often well unknown, but the paths of each can and do often cross, allowing one to observe, engage, and somehow attempt to “know” the other.

Yet, Jimbaux at this time could not foresee that his path would lead him back to the area of the iconic and charming Bayou Teche only a couple of moons later, where he served a tour of duty for much of the rest of the year, one for which he is grateful; and slain and injured police officers and their families could not foresee the tragedy that would take place not far from this location almost a year later, an event that has made national news.

Yet, despite tragedies and hardships, Jimbaux remembers the peace and serenity of the fleeting passage of the IAVLB west of Baldwin on that memorable mid-winter afternoon.



{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Donovan January 29, 2013 at 15:49

Nice photos, Jimbaux! Thank you for sharing this encounter you had. I enjoy seeing those former Southern Pacific engines, especially on the former Southern Pacific Lafayette Subdivision. I have been hoping for a long time for a chance to photograph such an engine on that line. Preferably, one of the unpatched locomotives or one that is patched but still retains its SP letters on its nose.

Such was the case a couple weeks ago on my birthday, January 11. I was in town looking for a train to use my new camera on. A westbound eventually appeared, and to much my surprise, with a patched SP leader with the SP letters still on the nose. The moment was great but the photo didn’t turn out so. Here is a link to the not so great picture:


2 Ray Duplechain January 30, 2013 at 21:55

When I see these Photos of the former Lafayette Division, Southern Pacific I experience the same feelings as . when I think of the passing of my ancestors. I grew up and worked on that piece of railroad for more than 40 years. This was the main line of the ML&T from Algiers to Lafayette. Between Bayou Sale and Cade was double main track on the south side of the present track. When the main track was removed from service the sidings at Bayou Sale, Baldwin, Jeanrette, Judson, West Tower and Cade were created. Also,the double track was maintained for a few years thru the street in New Iberia. Good “stuff” keep up the good work….rxd


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