Mobile And Gulfport

by Jim on 2020/01/05

My time in New Orleans, the city and metro area that, in my early adulthood, I decided would be the place for me to chart the course of that part of my life, will come to an end at the end of this month. I secretly never envisioned myself growing old in New Orleans; so, while my impending departure is not really by choice, I am also not fighting it and am actually relieved by it, even though there was so, so very much more that I wanted to accomplish here, but various factors prevented me from accomplishing them.

With that in mind, there were some things that I wanted to do that could only easily be done while having a place to live in New Orleans while I can still do them, and one of them is to spend a day checking out the railroad action in Mobile, Alabama, something that I had done only once before, way back in 2006 with someone else.

This time, I went there alone.

The Journey

Today, Sunday 5 January 2020, I left the Mid-City crib at 07:05, already running too late to get the great first-light action on the Terminal Railway Alabama State Docks line, dammit! At 07:44, on Interstate Highway 10, I entered Mississippi, and, at 08:13, I exited I-10 on US Highway 49 in Gulfport and arrived, at 08:17, at Whataburger. Yes, dammit, I have to do this!

At 08:30, I reentered I-10 at US Highway 49, crossed the Mississippi Export Railroad east of Moss Point at 08:59, entered Alabama at 09:50, and exited into Mobile proper at Water Street at 09:28.

I got gasoline at the fueling station across from the old Gulf, Mobile & Ohio Railroad depot, and then I got a picture of the depot.

I like that.

Here is the old Southern Railway building – maybe an old depot, maybe just an old yard office, I don’t know – right next to it.

The neat and peculiar thing about being a railroad enthusiast in Mobile is that all of the major yards are right next to each other, just north of downtown.

Here I am at the CSX yard, getting my first action shot of the day.

With mainlines in three directions from the city, whereas every other railroad in town just comes to the city with one mainline, CSX is essentially the dominant carrier in Mobile.

I believe that this is CSX Siebert Yard.

This was, 40 or so years ago, the Louisville & Nashville Railroad.

Next, I head north where I should have been two hours before, on the Terminal Railway Alabama State Docks, where I caught the job I should have caught in better locations and in better light earlier in the day shoving its way back to the TASD yard, its morning work almost done.

Unfortunately, that would be the best that I could do of this neat locomotive and job; more unfortunately, shooting that job or something like it was the main reason that I wanted to come here. Maybe I can come again before I leave New Orleans at the end of the month?

On my way back south to the TASD yard, I spotted a job working the southern end of the Alabama & Gulf Coast Railway yard, and I just had to stop and get a shot of it.

This railroad’s reporting marks are “AGR” and is, obviously from the paint scheme, owned by shortline conglomerate Genesee & Wyoming.

It was part of the BNSF Railway before that, and BNSF sold the line shortly after its (BNSF’s own) creation in the mid 1990s, and it is an ex-Frisco line.

Here I am at the TASD Interchange Yard.

That is the Three Mile Creek Bridge, and next to it is the tower that once controlled it and, perhaps, the yard but is mostly unused now but still does house the bridge controls.

Here is a TASD yard job kicking some cars.

This, too, would have looked better hours earlier; I really should have left the crib at 05:00!

Below is a view southward into the yard, with downtown Mobile in the background.

I returned to the AGR yard.

That is a Meridian & Bigbee Railroad locomotive working the yard.

Above, in the northnorthwestward view along Telegraph Road, you can see the Norfolk Southern Railway yard at left; like I said, all of the yards are right by each other!

There is some good potential for shots like this at the AGR yard.

I would like to have seen this place 30 years ago!

The G&W just continues to grow!

I like the bulkhead flatcars, many of them carrying plate steel, in the NS yard.

I like bulkhead flatcars.

I also like boxcars, but modern boxcars are relatively boring, and they too often have graffiti on them.

I hate graffiti.

There is just something very industrial about this scene.

I then went to McDuffie Island, where I noticed that access here is restricted compared to when I was last here, which makes me sad.

I am now less okay with how certain nonresidential parts of the planet Earth that no person created can be deemed to be not accessible to human beings; laws are human constructs, and this is a representative democracy, is it not?

Anyway, I then went farther south, to the area of the Brookley Aeroplex, and I found some seemingly-still-active traditional city industrial tracks.

This is at a brick place on Avenue C.

I didn’t see any cars here, though.

I think that all of this is CSX territory.

I wish that this part of railroading could come back, and I think that it could, perhaps through some reregulation.

What I have recently learned about economics helps me to understand how and why such things are both economical and desirable.

“Free markets” are and always have been creations of sovereign governments; they are not opposed forces as so many wish to lead us to believe.

There is a sign there for the USS Alabama exhibit.

Here is a boxcar at a recycling place on 9th Street.

Later, after grabbing some food in that same convenience store and being subjected to some excess noise from some really loud men who appeared to be part of a work crew of some sort while I was in that store, I am eating, and here is a view that shows that Southern Railway building with the GM&O station behind it.

Here is a dock view (okay, not really a dock view) which I like.

I wonder where this UP hopper car is going.

I photographed it just in case it is going to Abbeville, Louisiana!

Hey, look, here is a train, an AGR train, on The Curve between the TASD yard and the AGR yard!

It is a rather sharp 180-degree curve.

I told you that I like bulkhead flatcars, didn’t I?

Back, again, at the TASD Interchange Yard, I see, this time from the other side of the track, more car kicking.

I wonder about that green locomotive. I do.

I like those old Conrail coil cars.

I miss Conrail, even though I never really ‘knew’ it.

The TASD 771 goes to grab another cut of cars.

Empty flat cars are boring; so, I may leave.

Let’s have another view to the south, toward downtown along the TASD Interchange Yard.

Okay, so, I am leaving again, and I am passing by the CSX yard again.

I am going back to the AGR yard, where the locomotive situation has changed.

For 2020, these are some cool cars.

I hate that graffiti on that boxcar, but it’s a logoless boxcar, and this is an otherwise neat view.

The old Frisco freight house is still standing! I wonder if it is used and, if so, for what.

Yeah, I again returned to the TASD yard; you can do that in a place like this.

As the lighting gets better, I will get more views along the length of the yard toward downtown.

I like that, though I imagine that this scene looks plenty better at around dusk near the summer solstice than it does at any other time of year.

I also like trying to include a parked locomotive.

Okay, again, I leave and pass the CSX yard!

Again, I check out the AGR yard!

This is cool, but I feel like it’s not really going to get cooler, and I was, at this point, debating whether I should stick around.

I was wondering if there was going to be some action at the TASD yard as the light got better before sunset.

Below is part of the NS yard.

I went and rode around the Canadian National Railway yard, and there was a train arriving from the north, I guess the daily manifest train from Jackson, but I could only get around to the back of it here.

Of course the boxcars are tagged, dammit.

Making one more trip back to the TASD yard, I pass the CSX yard, where this road train is starting to leave.

I would have found this to be so cool 20 years ago!

Hey, fresh paint is nice.

It’s getting late at the TASD yard, and that locomotive is still sitting there.

According to some humint that I received at about this time, there wouldn’t be anything moving for a while, as the current shift was sent home early while the next shift wouldn’t start for a while.

So, tired, and with a good two hours of driving ahead of me, I left.

I took old US Highway 90 via parts of southern Alabama, seeing places that I had never before seen, and I got to Gulfport at around dusk.

So, here is some KCS stuff for you.

Wait, what is this? There is a job heading south from the KCS yard?

And it’s crossing the CSX and about to cross US Highway 90 and go to the port? Well, I have never seen this before in all of my times here, and I have to see this!

With the sun essentially set already, these views are not going to be great, but I really want to see this.

Wow, there is a little yard there?

Hey, look, boxcars!

This is the Port Of Gulfport.

I would love to know more about what happens here.

What is this?

And what happened to it?

There are so many layers!

Well, I found a way to “get high” by the port, and, wow, what is this?

I definitely did not expect this!

The lighting is really weird here, and I hate the graffiti, but this is interesting!

The sun is just on the horizon.

Most if not all of the boxcars carry rolled paper for export, I am told.

There were some firefighters training here.

I felt like a little wimp.

This is neat, but I wish that the boxcars of 25 years ago were here.

The job is pulling over US Highway 90 again.

That we are at the coast makes this neat.

Okay, this about does it.

He just pulled 40 boxcars back to the KCS yard!

That was a nice Mississippi desert to top off our Alabama entree.

I then returned to Whataburger, yes, the same place from which I ate breakfast. I got the Monterey Melt meal. Probably more than half of the people in the lobby, all white, are Trump voters. I thought about eating at the Zaxby’s across the highway. I will have some fun this month and then set into a frugal, healthy lifestyle, once saying goodbye to New Orleans and everything that I can do from here is behind me. 

I reentered Louisiana at 19:04, and I arrived back at the crib at 19:50.

After experiencing the blinding light all day, I feel parched and in need of a shower. The older that I get, the more problems that I have with cold sunny days. The weird mix of the hot and the cold is difficult to handle. I have come to prefer cloudy cold days, because at least there is consistency there.

I think that this is an autism symptom.

Everything about my life makes sense now, now that I have discovered this about me.

What is happening tonight?

Wait, so we are about to have a war?

Oh, well, that was fun. Good night!

Jim

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