Black Foamday

by Jim on 2014/11/28

[Jimbaux knows that the word on the street is that the fire in his heart is out.]

Hello.  Here are some pictures from the day after Thanksgiving taken in Lafayette, Duson, Elks, and New Iberia.

We start at the Whataburger on Ambassador Caffrey Parkway, because, you know, I am in Lafayette and just must eat at “W,” the first time that I eat at a “W” since the last time I was somewhere that had one, which was when I was last in Gulfport to chase KCS’s Hattiesburg Turn in January.

Sadly, however, this was not a good experience, and it was by far my worst “W” experience ever.  I should have known something – and should have walked out – when several minutes went by before I was even acknowledged.  I guess I had my mind set too hard on Whataburger, but that’s what happens when you have silly food traditions; I have been told that there are now other “W” locations in Lafayette, but I don’t yet know where they are.

Actually, I wasn’t even acknowledged, at least not until I asked someone, “are y’all taking any orders?”  I’m surprised that I even bothered to ask that instead of simply walking out, but, again, I did it only out of some rabid fixation on eating at Whataburger.

Maybe this place was just having a bad day, what with all of the Black Friday shoppers out, just as rabidly fixated on shopping for material goods as I was on eating at Whataburger and taking pictures of trains.  In any case, it took a long time for my meal to come out, the guy didn’t offer any ketchup, meaning that I had to go back up an ask for it, making me wonder why he walked out to hand my my food in the first place, and what I received did not even look like what I had ordered.

It didn’t taste that great either.  Of course, that’s what I get for eating fast-food, even if it is the ‘cool’ Whataburger.

Now, let’s swing by Lafayette Yard to see what is there.

I don’t get to see SD40-2s or any four-axle BNSF power east of here anymore (like was common enough 10 years ago.)  So, forgive me for the pictures of locomotives with things obstructing the view of them.

What really caught my eye was this Yellowbonnet GP60.  Man, I’d love to see and photograph that thing leading a train!

I often ponder the philosophical dilemma of whether a railroad enthusiast’s – or a community of railroad enthusiasts’ – fascination with various paint schemes is nothing more than a form of corporate worship, almost as bad as wearing clothing with the clothing manufacturer’s logo and name conspicuously and deliberately displayed.  Compared to my fascination with the Santa Fe or KCS or CN, how much worse is the woman who walks around wearing clothes screaming “Hollister” or “Abercrombie & Fitch” or some such large logo?  That’s something to ponder on this day devoted to consumerism and materialism, even if I have no intention of participating in this so-called “Black Friday.”

What are your thoughts on this?  Is the concern or fascination with different paint schemes and the different railroad companies represented by them on or close to the same level as being a walking advertisement for apparel makers?  Or does the involvement of geography, history, operations, and being an observer – rather than a consumer – of commerce mean that railroad enthusiasm nowhere near as shallow as being a walking advertisement of consumer products?

Anyway, here is a new shot, and one with some potential for when I am back in this area and not feeling so bad.

That, mes amis, is the westbound Z-train about to have a live crew change.  I was about to head east back home, but then I heard the inbound crew radio to the outbound crew, and I heard the inbound crew getting permission to leave the warrant on the train, the combination of which meant that the train would depart soon.  With not much else to do in the meantime, I decided to photograph the crew change.

I had earlier scoped some shots west of town – I’m not familiar with this area – and knew about where I was going to shoot him once he got moving.

The orange hat signifies a trainee, hence the reason why there are five railroaders (and one crew van driver) in these pictures.

I guess the outbound crew is based in Houston.

Now, it’s time to head west to get set up for my shot, a new shot – well, all shots in this article are new shots – here east of Duson.

Yeah, that’s not great, but it’s okay.  I’ll take it.

Later, however, once the train was gone, I discovered a better shot just a little west of here, as I went all the way to Duson proper to get on I-10 and head east; well, maybe next time I am here, I will shoot there.

I made another run by the yard, but I did not get out to take any photos until I arrived at Elks, which is east of Lafayette.

I knew that there was a run-around track here and a spur, but I did not realize (until after I got home and asked on the foam groups) how extensive the spur was or how many customers it served.

I guess I’ll need to return here at some point.  I also did not realize that this is the normal tie-down spot for the locomotives of the Louisiana & Delta Railroad’s “BR” job, which works the Breaux Bridge Branch; “BR” stands for Baton Rouge, since the line to Breaux Bridge was originally the beginning of a branch to Baton Rouge, but the part through the Atchafalaya Basin was washed away in the Great Flood of 1927 and never replaced.

I have thought that if that line still existed – or was rebuilt – all the way to Baton Rouge, BNSF could not only switch to Baton Rouge as its interchange point for what it now sends to CN in New Orleans, but it could also transfer to Baton Rouge much traffic that gets interchanged to CN in Memphis now – especially unit trains – since it would be far more efficient than the reverse moves required by going through the New Orleans Gateway.  Oh, and the state would be able to run a passenger train from New Orleans to Lafayette via Baton Rouge!

Let’s make a stop in New Iberia before dusk.  Here we are on St. Mary Street at L&D’s locomotive shop.

The LDRR 1847, a newly acquired former Rock Island GP18, was over the pit on the other side of the locomotive house; I couldn’t get a good view of it, at least not one worthy of photographing.

Before I left town and before the sun set, I was able to photograph at the beginning of the Midland Branch this cut of loaded rice hopper cars that had apparently arrived from Abbeville on Wednesday night.

The yard was full of cars and apparently could not take these rice loads.

Anyway, that’s all for this episode.



1 Mike Murray December 13, 2014 at 10:31

This is the spur line right?

2 kevinmsmr December 13, 2014 at 21:12



3 kevinmsmr December 13, 2014 at 21:11


The other two What-a-Burgers in Lafayette are on University Ave. just north of I-10 (exit 101?) and on W. Pinhook Rd. at Kaliste Saloom Rd (across from Walgreen’s, and much closer to Elks).


BNSF really doesn’t like people taking pictures in their yard. Last year I found a place off BNSF property with an unobstructed view of parked locomotives; they noticed me taking pictures and now they park where the views are always obstructed.

Nonetheless you got some nice pictures!

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