Just A Fool To Believe

by Jim on 2020/04/01

Jimbaux was just a fool to believe that a train would come to the rice mill today, April Fool's Day.

I am not like the wind, though.

Or Am I?

The last time that I photographed a train on the Louisiana & Delta Railroad branchline to Abbeville, Louisiana, was on Monday, March 9th, which was the first train to Abbeville that I photographed after I learned that the rice mill is probably closing.

Eleven days later, on the 20th, the next train to came to town. It brought no cars, and, as Terry documented, it pulled the three cars brought on the 9th and then, as Terry documented, left.

So, then, there were no cars at the mill, and I wondered if I had missed the last train from the mill, if I’d see another train at the rice mill in Abbeville, if this was the end.

Well, it wasn’t!


Shortly before 15:00 today, Wednesday 1 April 2020, I was at the homestead and heard horns to the south. Wow! I brushed the bags of just-bought corn chips that I was sterilizing, thanks to the coronavirus, off of the hood of my truck and hurried downtown.

I let Terry know, and I noticed that the horn sounded like that of the LDRR 1717.

I approached the track on South State Street, I was thinking that maybe this was just a tank car for Coastal Chemical that the railroad was coming into town to run around, I saw the train hitting the crossing, and I counted out loud “one . . . two . . . THREE . . . FOUR . . . FIVE . . . SIX . . . six cars!!”

Wow! I thought that this railroad line was dead, and it may soon be, but it ain’t dead yet!

There is CV on the ground.

There was a three-man crew for the train, all on the train.

It looked like there were almost no workers at the mill.

Aside from the hen-scratching on some of the cars, this is not a bad-looking train.

Hey, look, it’s Peartree and CV!

Peartree is bowing from the engineer’s seat!

Now, the locomotive and crew are running around the train.

Okay, so, I relocated to South Jefferson Street, where I first grabbed a cell-phone selfie.

Now, here is a view that I think that I have not done before, with the 1717 shoving some cars across South Main Street to the old packaging plant, and you can see CV hanging off of the end car.

I am surprised that that is happening, because, with only six cars, they could have put all of them at the main mill in the left foreground.

The absence of any cars at the main mill, unusual if cars are being spotted at or pulled from the old packaging plant in the background, makes for an interesting image that is useful for understanding the operation of railroad activity at the rice mill in Abbeville.

The lighting is not great, but the absence of any cars in the runaround tracks in the foreground also presents a new photo opportunity.

I like this.

Having just spotted at the former packaging plant three of the six empty hopper cars with which it just arrived in town, the 1717 is now coming back east with the other three cars.

I cross the track!

I like the 1717, with its angular cab.

Yeah, the mill looks dead now.

But, apparently, there is still reason to spot hopper cars for loading here, at least for now.

Man, I love those old Nissan pickup trucks!

The mill track in the foreground helps to make this shot, really.

Hey, look, it’s Terry!

Now, Jared is protecting the shove of the three cars, which may be the last cars to be spotted here at the rice mill before it shuts down.

The recent dismantling of the building that had, for decades, been in that lot at the right has made this shot possible.

A few months ago, a picture taken right there and pointed in that direction would not have shown the train.

It’s good to see clean SSW cars in 2020.

The way that the trains once were is the way that I wish that they still were.

I miss when those SSW hopper cars had big “COTTON BELT” lettering on the sides.

In the background of the below image is the old school building, today, an administrative building for the school system.

Well, the lighting isn’t great, but I feel like I must do this.

After spotting one car in the outer track, the crew will spot the other two cars in the inner track.

This works.

The lighting could be better, but it works.

Since there were no cars to take back to New Iberia, and since I have no interest and chasing and photograph this locomotive moving with no cars away from the sun, I ended the railroad photography for today here where I started it, at the Planters Rice Mill in Abbeville, Louisiana.

By South Main Street, I got these shots of the mill, took some self portraits in the truck, and talked to Terry for a while.

This old rice mill and the end of the railroad are neat.

Between those two tracks in the right foreground was once a track that went to a freight house, which survives a few blocks away as a museum and gift shop.

I hope that the rice mill, too, survives.

Below, you can see, at left, the remains of the hull loader, which was active in the early L&D days.

I wish that the railroad today looked and operated like it did in those days, with the older SP and SSW cars, the original L&D locomotives with silver-grey underbodies, and the line to Kaplan still active.

I should think about other things, but I think about this.

Okay, that’s enough. Let’s see some bell peppers at the homestead.

Yes, planting is for the future!

Okay, that’s enough on this foolish day.


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