Western Pacific Heritage Unit Visits New Orleans

by Jim on 2013/06/17

So, yes, the UP 1983 – the Western Pacific heritage unit (the “heritage” fleet came about a decade ago when UP honored several of its predecessor railroads by painting one locomotive in each of the selected predecessor’s paint scheme, well, actually, an new paint scheme to honor the old paint schemes) – made its way eastbound into New Orleans on June 9 on Union Pacific train QLIWX, which Raymond photographed on the Livonia Sub, which becomes CSX train Q606 to Waycross, Georgia, hence the “WX” destination station code.  Two days later, it was photographed in Florida on the CSX on its way to Waycross, where it got turned around, as most UP power gets turned there, pointed back toward New Orleans on CSX train Q605-11.  Two days later, it arrived in New Orleans.

No, I Am Not Going Photograph This Thing Just Because You Think I Should

Kurt of Norfolk Southern Hampton Division fame reported its arrival, and he suggested that I get out and get some pictures of it.  Although I had never seen a UP heritage unit, I didn’t feel any need to get out there and see or photograph this thing, as these things aren’t “real” in the first place and are meant for attention, which goes against everything that I like about watching and chasing trains – that nobody is telling me I should do it (as opposed to getting plenty of pressure to watch television, go to sporting events, etc.)  Furthermore, Kurt informed me that the unit was not leading.  Nah, I don’t need to go see that, despite Kurt telling me that I ‘should,’ especially when other photographers can and will get (and have already gotten) many good shots of this thing leading.

That craziness about heritage units (especially UP’s, which, unlike Norfolk Southern’s heritage units, don’t have the predecessor railroad’s actual paint schemes) is something I find a tad bit revolting or silly, since, again, it goes against the non-attention-seeking nature of trains that so seeks my attention.  Nope, I have too much to do anyway, and I don’t need any front-coupled silly heritage units.

So, why, right after I had left the weight-room, am I standing on Franklin Avenue by a couple of street beggars to do this?

Yeah, okay, so I actually went out and did what I was “supposed to” do.  You’re welcome.

Actually, the two beggars had run away not long before I got the shot, which made me sad, since one of them would have been in the left part of the above frame right where the post is, and I wanted to capture him as part of the scene.  I guess they got scared at the sight of a white guy with a camera and a radio.  Anyway, the above shot is a new shot, and also one that I’m not likely to ever repeat.  It was selected as a way of finding shots that would emphasize trailing power, which would naturally be broadsideish.

I don’t really like how either of these turned out.  Oh, well.

Let’s just call it an experiment and be done.

However, let’s head over to Canal Boulevard.  A UP yard crew was aboard this thing, and this is evidence of some new operational practice.  Until very recently, CSX road crews or yard crews brought interchange trains going to UP over to the NS Back Belt where a UP crew would board.  Now, UP crews are boarding in CSX Gentilly Yard!  That’s new.  So, because of this, I knew that it was highly unlikely that he’d stop at I-10, which is a good place to get a shot this time of year.

So, I had to get him passing by the crepe myrtle trees on Canal Boulevard.

Again, I’m not satisfied with the result.

I kept texting Kurt, telling him that the train was on its way to the Huey P. Long Bridge.  He had seen and photographed the train much earlier in the afternoon as it arrived in Gentilly, and, hours later, he got to the bridge just in time to get a few shots.

About half a minute and about 1,000′ later, after Kurt got his bridge shots, I got this shot of the train passing the New Orleans Hamburger & Seafood Company.

Yeah, how’s that?  The Western Pacific Railroad and the New Orleans Hamburger & Seafood Company are two things that really don’t go together!

The WP, a railroad that stretched from northern California across northern Nevada to northern Utah, was purchased by the Union Pacific Railroad in 1983, hence the use of 1983 as the heritage unit’s road number.

Here the train is passing another New Orleans institution: Copeland’s.

And, after that, pissed off that I had spent so much time and effort on what really was a brief outing, especially compared to my standards of yore, it was time to make a delayed trip to the grocery store and to Bud’s Broiler, for the lateness of the hour caused by this outing plus the fact that I had a pile of dirty dishes at home gave me an excuse to pick up some already made food, making me even more mad at myself, and now it was too late to take my walk too.  Dammit!

Well, it wasn’t so bad; I know people who would drive 50 or 100 miles to see one of these things.  The pictures here were taken over a 12-mile span of varying but not increasing distances from my home.

After this, the UP 1983 would leave Avondale on UP train MAVLI.

Well, I hope that you have enjoyed that.  I mean, if I’m ‘supposed to’ photograph heritage units, then you’re ‘supposed to’ enjoy them, right?


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Bo Yates June 17, 2013 at 05:49


You are the bomb! Sure enjoy your photos and your blog!



2 Tom Wiseman June 17, 2013 at 15:55

Those shots are beautiful. I like very much.

Tom W.


3 Jimmy Matta June 13, 2014 at 15:54

That is my favorite of all the UP heritage engines
Nice shots


Leave a Comment

{ 2 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: