Finally

by Jim on 2019/10/10

Finality

No, it’s not the end of this branch or the end of my life or the end of the world, but there was finality, in more ways than one, on this day, Thursday 10 October 2019.

For the first time in 13 days, the Louisiana & Delta Railroad’s Abbeville Branch was served. As I wrote two days ago, there were 13 empty hopper cars in New Iberia; so, I knew that there had to be a train coming soon.

There it is, the LDRR 1717 with eight empty rice hopper cars, seen from South Hospital Road.

I am guessing that it stopped and set out some other cars at Erath.

But what that would mean is that, even though 13 days have passed since the previous run, the rice mill still can’t take all of these cars!

That’s not a good sign.

Here is the train crossing South Saint Charles Street.

Damn, I hate that stupid graffiti.

I guess that the below scene is better, even as there is no locomotive in the picture.

I wish that the trains here looked like they did 30 or 40 years ago!

Okay, now, it’s time to go to the mill, and I was thinking that I’d see Roderick, with his “taxpayer” crap, there by the mill.

That stupid, disgusting, dishonest, and reactionary “taxpayer” garbage has to go.

Anyway, here is the train arriving at the mill, and then the 1717 breaking off from its train.

There is Peartree lining the switch!

Here is a new angle.

Now, the 1717 goes into the main mill complex.

So, I then went myself to the other side of the mill.

There would be no need to pull money from “taxpayers” in order to, say, abolish student loan debt.

Oh, here is a truck with an interesting little plate on the front.

Okay, now, the 1717 is ready to emerge from the mill with some cars.

Here are some outbound cars.

Only one of them is graffitied, and not badly.

You can see, in the above image, the inbound cars in the background.

That’s a nice, clean hopper car, but I wish that it was wearing the just-as-clean paint that it wore from the factory!

So, now, you can see the momentarily empty mill tracks at left.

Let’s have a look westward along Railroad Avenue.

Here is Peartree protecting the shove of the cars pulled from the mill onto the mainline past the runaround track switch.

That man started railroading in 1973!

One of the cars just pulled from the mill, this badly tagged UP 94787, was apparently not loaded and will be put back in the mill with the other cars.

So, now, Peartree is watching as the coupling is being made.

Now, it’s time to attach the air hoses.

Okay, pull on them!

Peartree walks away from the moving cut in order to get a better view of it.

This is an art as much as it is a science, isn’t it?

Now, it’s time to shove that cut into the mill, and Peartree had a new dude, Chimney, with him today.

Chimney, apparently here for the first time and in training, rides the SSW 70422 across Railroad Avenue and South Jefferson Street into the mill.

Peartree then boards the cut.

Now, that is a classic railroading scene right there.

That SSW 78764, seen below, was the sole Abbeville car on the 17-car UP New Iberia Turn from my big day chasing it from Avondale to New Iberia eight days ago.

That was a good day!

With that work done, the 1717 and crew move toward the remaining two inbound empty hopper cars in order to shove them across South Main Street to the former packaging plant.

I like these scenes, as the sequencing of them gives you a sense of motion.

I also like the 1717, now my favorite locomotive on the L&D roster with the demise of the CF7s!

Can you tell why it’s my favorite non-CF7 L&D locomotive? I just gave you the same clue twice!

Well, that was fun.

Now, Chimney and Peartree are protecting the shove into the former packaging plant, which is now just an overflow area for when there is more rice to load into railroad cars than there is space at the main mill complex, as they ride the SSW 70306.

That’s a sharp curve right there.

That’s a classic Peartree scene and a classic Abbeville scene right there.

Chimney lines that difficult switch.

Peartree watches the coupling.

He must have trimmed his beard recently!

Now, Chimney rides the 1717 into the other track to grab the outbound cars.

The veteran Peartree, the wise sage of the Louisiana & Delta Railroad who would have worked these locations even back in the days when the Southern Pacific still operated here, explains to his new apprentice how the work at the former packaging plant is to be done.

Do you see the rice chute?

In the old days, only boxcars were loaded here, with all hopper cars loaded at the mill.

Now, they leave with their outbound cars.

Back at South Jefferson Street, Peartree watches the coupling of the outbound cars from the former packaging plant to the cars pulled earlier from the main mill.

Our outbound train is built!

And, off we go!

I really like this scene here, this broadside shot with Peartree walking back to the front or back to the crew automobile.

Here, below, is the train crossing South Young Street.

So, at Erath, at the West Erath track, I see only four cars parked. This confuses me, because it meant that the train would have come with 12 cars instead of the 13 that I (claimed that, think that) I saw in New Iberia two days ago, but perhaps one of them was bad ordered.

Hey, this would be a great place at which to load outbound recyclables onto railroad cars!

Here comes our train, after it stopped at Coastal Chemical to grab the two cars that the last train, the September 27 train, brought 13 days ago.

Let’s see a cropped version of that image.

So, now, our train has 10 cars, which is, I guess, a healthy-sized train for this branch. There were 11 cars at the rice mill, from the train 13 days ago, meaning that today’s train left three of the cars that were brought from that September-27 trip at the mill.

Scanner?

As I was driving to the next shot, I noticed that my radio scanner was not on my seat and not anywhere visible to me as I was stuck in the driver’s seat. I guess that I’ll have to get out and dig around at the next shot, but something about this just doesn’t feel right.

I got out at the next shot, at Jude Road, and started to look around, but, even digging around, I could not find the scanner. Well, the train is coming; so, I had better get the shot and then worry about the scanner.

Hey, that’s not bad!

As you likely can ascertain, I am shooting almost into the sun here.

So, this is about as good as one can do in these lighting conditions, and it’s normal for a train on this line – when there is one at all – to be moving in this direction at this time of day.

I guess that I’ll get a crossing shot before getting down and making a decision about what to do next.

Is this the end?

I couldn’t find my scanner, and I knew that getting decent shots east of here would be difficult; I wouldn’t get any shots as good as the ones that I just got here.

So, I made the decision to use the remaining daylight and the remaining time left before someone would move my scanner wherever I may have left it to go and look for it.

I went back to every place at which I had been since I last knew to have had it, and I looked all around but could not ever find it.

So, sadly, now, I am scannerless, and I cannot afford to replace it.

I bought that scanner at a Radio Shack in West Fargo, North Dakota, in the summer of 2008, and it is the second such Radio-Shack scanner that I lose in such a manner, the other having been lost in Berwick at the dock at the Atchafalaya River in 2005.

I must have put it on the hood of my truck or the top of my truck as I got out somewhere.

So, this was a good day picture-wise and train-wise, but it ends on a bittersweet note. I hope that you like the pictures here, because they surely cost me plenty. If you would like to help me afford to purchase a new scanner or to do anything else that I do here, please consider becoming a patron of this publication, which you can do for as little as $1 per month.

Merci.

Jim

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