Static Miscellany

by Jim on 2014/09/03

[Jimbaux knows that today is not the past and that he doesn’t need to relive it.]

Not That Much

This brief article of pictures that I took today – Wednesday 3 September 2014 – will likely not be pleasing to those of you who come here for good photography, but it might be okay for the railroad enthusiasts, as I have only some rather static shots of railroad equipment.

Seems A Bit Familiar

We’ll start where we did one week ago, at the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad’s France Yard, where we see one of the GP40s along with some cars.

Well, that’s okay.

I Miss The Cotton Belt

There are still some Cotton Belt cars with their original SP-influenced Cotton Belt paint and reporting marks floating around, and I caught two of them loaded with plate steel here at France Yard this morning, probably for delivery to a customer along Poland Avenue.

A terrifying thought has entered my brain in the last week.  I now see the possibility of model railroading in my distant future, a prospect that frightens me to my core.  Yes, as Aaron Lewis says, “today is not the past” and I “don’t need to relive it,” but, damn, I do miss plenty about the way railroading once was!

The problem – why I am terrified at the prospect of me becoming a model railroader – is how much of a time-drain, energy-drain, and money-drain it would be for me all while having me do a solitary indoor activity, and if I get into model railroading, I’m really going to get into it; I’m either going to be grand about it or not do it at all.  No, I need to use my precious resources for other things.

Why

An ideal model railroad layout for me would have almost nothing but stuff that no longer exists (or exists in only rare circumstances), as there would be little point in replicating what is contemporary.  I would want Southern Pacific GP9s, GP9Es, and GP35s leading short trains of mostly airslide hopper cars – of SP, Cotton Belt, Southern, Burlington Northern, and others – among sugar cane fields and sugar mills; little CF7s pulling various old boxcars and an Englehard tank car among similar cane fields; Cascade Green SD9s and SD40-2s moving various cars over wide-open high plains; yellow-and-blue GP35s, GP30s, GP60s, B40-8s, C40-8s, SD40-2s and red-and-silver GP60Ms, B40-8Ws, and C44-9Ws moving general freight and TOFC through sagebrush and mesa; D&RGW GPs and SDs moving freight through rugged mountains.  While I’m at it, I could sprinkle in some C&NW, Rock Island, Illinois Central, GM&O, white KCS, Chessie System, and Conrail, for good measure, even though I had no or practically no first-hand experience with each of those railroads.  Let’s not forget cabooses too.

Exactly why such scenes would bring me comfort, I have never been able – and, likely, never will be able – to know; perhaps the reason – and the reasons for the reasons – is not important.

How

The only way that I could see it happening if is I somehow had plenty of money to spend (or blow) on it, and I’m not just talking about all of the space and material that I would need to procure for a model railroad; I am talking about, too, paying people to build and wire it for me, as I, as I have already stated, do not want to devote so much time to it but particularly the building of it, which is the most time-consuming.  I would design the layout myself – all track plans, scenes, and rolling stock decisions – but would pay one or two people to implement the design.

Oh, well, it’s a thought, and that it shall remain, likely for a long time.

Anyway, it’s time to leave France Yard (and my model railroading thoughts) behind.

Yo No Sé Por Qué

Some sort of job was pulling out of CSX Gentilly Yard, but I don’t know if this was a bare-table train, a train of mixed cars, or just some switching happening.

As I got to Louisa Street, I looked back and saw what appeared to be a decent backlit shot of the front of the train.  Forgive me for not taking it; the temperature was high, I didn’t feel like getting out in the heat, and I’d have had to wait for the lens to unfog, as I took every picture today from the truck.

One Old Car Of A Fallen Flag At Gouldsboro

I’m still trying to figure out recent grain movements on the New Orleans & Gulf Coast Railway.  You’ve seen some of my recent pictures of Canadian Pacific hopper cars in Gouldsboro Yard; there have, lately, been just a few of them at a time there, which is peculiar to me given how grain so often moves – even on the NOGC – in unit trains.  Well, today, there was a long string of loaded grain hopper cars in Gouldsboro Yard, and most of them were UP family cars.  I’m wondering if this was half of a unit train and that the other half was somewhere nearby.  In light of recent proposals to bring up to three loaded unit coal trains per week on the NOGC and all of the automobile traffic problems that that would cause, I had thought recently of the benefits of breaking up unit trains on the NOGC, since trying to run a huge unit train at one time causes plenty of automobile traffic problems in plenty of places; maybe NOGC is now already doing that.

First, we see a fairly new – 2006 – covered hopper car with a UP shield logo and CMO reporting marks.

This is interesting.  The CMO reporting marks belonged to the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis, & Omaha Railway – the “Omaha Road” – which was absorbed by the Chicago & Northwestern Railway in the 1950s.  I guess UP’s car fleet is so colossal in number that it can’t easily continue to get all of its new cars with UP reporting marks, but these CMO reporting marks seem to be limited to grain hopper cars.  Why?  Why CMO of all possible choices?  Did someone in UP management have some special affection for the CMO?

Also in this cut of grain hoppers that seemed to take up one entire yard track but no more than that was this old Chicago & Northwestern car with the dark green paint and the “Employee Owned” logo.

Someone help me out with this.  At what time was this green scheme used?  Was it only when the C&NW was employee-owned from 1971 to 1982?  Were the covered hopper cars painted yellow both before and after that time?  If so, is the paint job on this car at least 32 years old?

E’ank

Back on the E’ank again, I saw eastbound trains stacked up to the superstructure of the Huey P. Long Bridge in the late afternoon, evidently waiting for more than an hour on the inbound Crescent to arrive; this, again, is one of the big reasons why the Middle Belt would alleviate railroad congestion in the New Orleans gateway.  BNSF’s M-DYTCSX was waiting at the foot of the bridge, and what looked like a UP-to-NS train (probably the QLINSL) was at the superstructure; when a train is stopped at the superstructure, Avondale cannot send any trains up the bridge, and a crew must be aboard the train on the superstructure.  The Middle Belt with the staging yard in Old Jefferson would allow these trains and whatever else Avondale has to send over the river to slip into the staging yard and off the bridge, and allow the crews to come off of the trains, all while waiting for passenger trains to get out of the way.

KCS 1851

I don’t know what this is, but this KCS 1851 thing was outside of the passenger car shop by the KCS yard.

What is the story on this?

Thanks for any information.

That’s all for pictures for today.

This Is Gay

Well, many of you may have heard the news about Louisiana’s 2004 ban on same-sex marriage being upheld by a federal judge today.  I frequently find myself debating and commenting on the issue of same-sex marriage – like on WVUE’s Facebook posting on the topic, on NOLA.com’s Facebook posting on the topic, on The (Baton Rouge) Advocate’s Facebook posting on the topic, on KATC’s Facebook posting on the topic, on WDSU’s Facebook posting on the topic, on WVLA’s Facebook posting of the topic – greatly out of proportion to how much I care about the issue, and I think that I have figured out why; there is just something really weird about all of the efforts made to prohibit same-sex marriage, and it has more to do with being nosy and with threatening the rights of the individual.  In other words, why do people give so much of a crap about two consenting adults marrying?  The answer could simply be some homophobia, but that’s probably too simplistic of an answer.

The question to which that leads me is, why does homophobia exist?  To me, homophobia seems natural (just like homosexuality.)  Homophobia, like racism, seems very much to be an evolutionary survival mechanism.  Among men, weakness is despised, especially the more reason why they have to be fearful (of anything.)  I also find, among men, a directly proportional relationship between how much a man thinks of women as possessions and-or sexual objects to be conquered and how anti-gay they are; “homophobia,” then, is a very appropriate term, since men have some fear of being treated by another man the way that they treat (or, at least, think of) women, which is understandably scary.

Like plenty of the commenters of crazy comments on the aforelinked pages, I, too, am homophobic myself; had you asked me a little bit more than 10 years ago if I thought that same-sex marriage should be allowed, I’d have said no, that it should not be allowed.  That was, I see now, an emotional reaction, even if, like most stereotypes, it has a rational basis (hence my calling homophobia an “evolutionary survival mechanism.”)  Then, something happened: I became an adult.  The logical part of my brain realized that there wasn’t any justifiable reason to prohibit same-sex marriage, despite whatever personal – i.e., emotional – disgust I might have at the thought of it; mere feelings, in other words, are not a sufficient reason to justify something’s prohibition, especially when that something is already accessible to the rest of the population and especially when same-sex-marriage does not harm anyone.

So, it’s not that I “support” same-sex marriage – and I really wish that people would stop using that word at all regarding this issue; I just don’t see any particular reason, any justification, for being opposed to it.  Ergo, all of these people vehemently screaming that they refuse to “support” same-sex marriage are really suggesting that they are going to deliberately try to prevent same-sex marriage from happening, since they don’t need to “support” it in the first place.  I simply can’t find the prohibition of same-sex marriage to be defensible; that does not constitute “support” for the matter, but it does mean that it would be wrong for me to stand in the way of same-sex marriage.

In many of the aforelinked Facebook postings, some opponents have brought up the issue discussed last time of wedding cake, wedding photography, and wedding reception providers being forced against their will to perform services for same-sex couples, citing this as a reason why same-sex marriage should be opposed, with at least one commenter suggesting that this is what proponents of same-sex marriage are really after (as if a marriage license is necessary for ordering wedding cake or wedding photography.)  This is, I repeatedly tell these people, a separate issue.  There are actually many homosexual people who are against the forcing of providers of such superfluous and artistic services to serve everyone.  They are smart enough to see that the freedom of choice that they are increasingly receiving through same-sex marriage legalization is the same freedom of choice that is under assault by forcing providers of artistic and superfluous goods and services to serve everyone who wants their services.  Advances in freedom are great, and I welcome them (at least partly because, as I have said, I have no justifiable reason to oppose them), but they should not be – and do not need to be – accompanied by reductions in freedom for others.

No More

Okay, really, with model railroading and homosexuality, that really is enough for one episode!  With any luck, I might get some decent train pictures over the next week or so, and, with any luck, they might appear here; with any luck, you might like them, or you might not.  Whatever.

Take care.

Jimbaux

{ 4 comments }

1 Norm Schultze September 5, 2014 at 10:33

It’s also about tax policy, tho that is left unsaid…..

It is also about the ‘equal protection of the laws’. But really, why should any of us care about consenting adults.

2 Angeline September 6, 2014 at 09:09

I’ve always wondered why homophobia exists, and I’ve never been able to answer that question either. Maybe we never will. I think your thoughts about weakness have merit; I’ve wondered that myself. It makes a lot of sense when you think of societies and cultures that put less value on women also seem to have more homophobia as well. It would definitely be an interesting psychological issue to explore. What worries me is not that people are homophobic, but the excuses they give for that homophobia. To say that despite there being no good reason to be “against” homosexuality, one still has those feelings is at least acknowledging that those feelings may be wrong. However, when people start trying to rationalize their fear and by saying homosexuality is wrong, that homosexuals are sinners, and attempting to make some correlation between homosexuality and pedophilia, they start to feel that their irrational fear is justified; and this of course is very dangerous. I hope I’m making my point clearly enough.

I don’t think I ever thought much about same sex marriage in any case when I was younger. It was just not an issue I really cared about. I do remember wondering why some people were so threatened by homosexuality, however. I’ve always had a ‘live and let live’ attitude towards it. It doesn’t affect me, I don’t think it’s wrong in any way (I truly believe that it’s part of the natural order of things), so why should I care if they marry?

Maybe you are finding yourself debating about the issue a lot because people really aren’t presenting valid arguments against same sex marriage?

3 Clayton Chaloner September 7, 2014 at 09:00

I have been reading and looking at you site every time you have an e-mail, I like it because it tell me about the area you cover
and other information that you post. I live in Manitoba, Canada.

4 Tex Collins September 7, 2014 at 15:13

Have not heard from you – are you alright?

Tex Collins
214-384-9508

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