Recycling And Record Breaking

by Jim on 2019/08/08

It was really hot today, Thursday 8 August 2019, 10 years to the day after I visited the farmers market in Corvallis, Oregon, before returning to New Orleans from an epic two-week trip to Minneapolis, western Canada, and Oregon, that started in late July 2009.

There Is No Hope

For the first time, I took some recyclable items to the drop-off place by the fire station in downtown Abbeville today, something that I probably need to get accustomed to doing, since I feel that my time in New Orleans, which has a recyclables-pickup program and where I left four afternoons ago to return here, will be coming to a permanent end in a few months.

I did break a record today. At some point, I was alerted that the Louisiana & Delta Railroad’s Abbeville Branch was being served with a train, the first train on the branch since the train one week ago today.

Oh my God, the Democratic Party primary for the Presidency is happening, and I just don’t think that we have much hope of selecting a decent candidate to knock off Trump!

There are some things that I like about some of the candidates, but, lawd, this whole process grosses me out, and no one candidate really excites me.

It was really hot. Did I mention that?

I had a job interview for a drafter position with Siemens or, apparently more accurately, a contractor for Siemens, and the questions about workplace culture, or whatever, helped to crystalize some insights that I have had about both myself and society and the economy at large.

Get To The Train Pictures, Dammit

I did first encounter the train when it was almost to the mill at the end of the line. I caught him at South Saint Charles Street, a shot that I had had in mind for a while but had never before done.

Yeah, that damned dumpster kills what might be a decent shot if you get away from the track a bit, though the closeness to the track helps to hide that nasty graffiti on the first car, especially when it is one of the few that has the big “SOUTHERN PACIFIC” lettering on the side.

The more significant story, though, is that, at this point, I have just broken a record; I have now photographed as many Abbeville Branch trains – real Abbeville trains west of I&V Junction – in 2019 as I have in all years prior combined, and, at the rate that I am going, I will break that record and keep breaking it for the rest of the year, as long as the railroad keeps running trains here, which I suspect it may not keep doing into the future beyond this or next year, which is a big part of why I so diligently photograph trains on this line.

So, with the notation of that milestone reached, with the hope that I don’t do too much recycling of views that I have done before, here is the train at the mill, only a thousand or so feet west of where I first shot it.

At right, at the mill, you can see three boxcars. The two boxcars closest to the camera were brought here along with another boxcar on July 25, when a fourth boxcar was also set out at Erath.

When the next-and-last train came one week later, one week ago today, it left New Iberia with two more boxcars, set one of them out at Erath, and continued here with one of the boxcars, leaving two boxcars at Erath!

So, today’s train also arrived with no boxcars! That should mean that the two boxcars that were at Erath are still at Erath! That should mean that the boxcars at the mill aren’t even loaded yet, even after a week!

Hey, look, it’s Peartree! He is emerging from the L&D’s taxi and is lining, or is about to align, the switch at the western end of the runaround track for the 1717 to run around the train that it just brought to town.

In the above image, the locomotive starts running around its train, and I like the effect of the trucks, one with a trailer, and van on Railroad Avenue, parallel with the train!

Below, the 1717 crosses Railroad Avenue to enter the main mill tracks, apparently just to grab the two hopper cars at right.

Peek-a-boo! Do you see the 1717 and its headlight between hopper cars and the boxcars below!

The 1717 pulls the two hopper cars.

Now, in the below picture, notice a certain subtle difference. The column of cars at left, now a part of the inbound train, has been reduced in length by half. The two cars pulled from the mill are still attached to the locomotive, but what you see below, with Peartree protecting and with a sedan getting a little bit too close for comfort, is the crew shoving five cars, including the two just pulled, toward the mill to spot three of the six empty cars with which they arrived in town.

Peartree walks Railroad Avenue as the 1717 and three inbound empty hopper cars are in the mill.

Now, the 1717 and the two cars pulled earlier emerge, the work at the main mill being done, without the boxcars being touched!

Now, back where the old mainline was, here is a view that I have not before done.

I like how that view shows both switches of the runaround track and the crossing of South Main Street.

The view below sacrifices the view of the crossing of the old branch mainline for an inclusion of the crossbuck at right and a better view of South Washington Street.

Below is a more encompassing view that shows all of the railroad cars in town.

Now, below, as a red sedan on South Washington Street crosses the tracks, Peartree protects the shove as the 1717 shoves the two outbound cars to the remaining inbound cars on the runaround track in order to then shove them across South Washington Street and South Main Street to the former packaging plant for spotting.

Four minutes later, with the coupling done, Peartree is now protecting the shove across South Main Street.

Understand, again, that the two cars next to the locomotive are outbound cars that were pulled from the main mill a little while ago and are just along for the ride with the spotting of these inbound empty cars.

Below is a cropped version of the above image.

With this crossing being at the intersection of Railroad Avenue and South Main Street, this is essentially a three-way crossing, and Peartree must look in multiple directions to protect the shove.

I like the airborne foot!

This is the first time that I make head-on photographs of shove protection across South Main Street, but I was about to discover what I think is an even neater view.

Wow, I like that!

Generally, I don’t care for images that show only part of a locomotive and no cars, but it’s the rest of that image, with the spur track swooping across Railroad Avenue and South Main Street from the runaround track, the branch mainline, and the old hull loader and neat trees in the background that tell this story well!

Then, I can turn around and get this image, with the 1717 on the packaging plant track with the cars at the main mill in the background.

It helps that the 1717 has, with its angular cab that makes it resemble, to me, the old CF7s, more or less become my favorite locomotive on the current L&D roster. (The 1500 is still active, but its paint job looks bad, and it doesn’t seem to come this way anyway.)

We see the whole side of the 1717 above.

Below is a cropped version of the above image.

Below, dust gets kicked up by the air release.

That is a signal that the work here is done!

Below, we see the main mill complex and the empty cars spotted there, the 1717, what remains of the former branch mainline to Kaplan and beyond in the left foreground, and, very faintly, a rail to the right of there that is part of the old track to the freight house that was moved a few blocks north of and east of here about two decades ago and is today a civic gift shop of sorts.

That’s it; that’s your outbound train now.

I chase thins thing east!

I took no notes about the above image, and the only way that I know that this is South Miles Street was by looking on Google satellite view and identifying the roof profiles of those houses in the background.

The train that passed here one week ago today did not pick up either of the two tank cars at Coastal Chemical on its eastbound trip, but today’s train is getting at least one of them.

He grabbed both of them!

This is the first time that I photograph an eastbound train from the southern side of the track at South Grosse Isle Road, and you can see that this is a good cloudy-day photo location.

I like it. I like the tank cars. I like how there are the same small number of tank cars as there are hopper cars, and I like how that number is two, not one or three.

I am weird, yes.

Out of Abbeville, in the Abbevile-Erath transition zone, I set up at Mack for what is becoming my signature swoosh shot of the train leaving Abbeville seen over the highway curve.

It’s not as neat as what I did here in the rain in April, but it’s still neat, I guess. I suppose that it’s not too much recycling.

What I don’t like is how the brightness from the highway is somewhat washing out the image as a whole, and I do wonder if this is one of the weaknesses of digital photography relative to film, or at least a function of my relatively cheap and relatively old digital camera.

I like how the short train fits into this scene once it gets past the highway.

I wish that the trucks and running gear of the locomotive had the old G&W silver or grey, and I wish that those hopper cars had big lettering and-or logos on the side of them, but, in 2019, I think that I’ll take this, and this is part of why I love this branch so much, because this is as good as it gets of the railroads of today, at least around here.

I then got set up at South Myrtle Street, one of my favorite photo locations, for what may be my favorite shot of the day.

I love it, especially how you can see the boxcars in the West Erath track in the background.

That was it for chasing this train. I broke off of the chase at this point, probably due to the idea of diminishing returns of continuing to chase and photograph it and then have to process the pictures!

There is no hope for me. The temperature was 91 degrees Fahrenheit even at 19:00. This heat really defeated me today. I walked into Anytime Fitness, and my key didn’t work. I had to get somebody to come open the door for me, an employee there. I went there only to get water. I am so exhausted!

I love the clouds.

That is all. Good night.


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